08 Oct Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation
The first implants were placed in 1962. Throughout my training, I was taught to instruct patients after breast augmentation surgery to keep their arms down by their side, keep cold compresses on the breasts and bind the breasts with ACE wraps or tape to help control swelling and help hold the implants in the proper place. We kept patients down and relatively inactive, and on strong narcotic pain killers for 5 – 7 days. My patients usually took narcotic pain medications for 5 – 7 days, and many of them went to weaker medications to taper off after that.
In 2002, a plastic surgeon in Texas reported on a new technique of breast augmentation that dramatically decreased the recovery time and need for pain medications. This technique included ways to shorten the time in the operating room, minimize the dissection to minimize trauma to the tissues, early motion of the muscles, and giving Ibuprofen afterward, which was NOT recommended during my training due to the risk of bleeding.
I went out of town and trained with one of this plastic surgeon’s students in 2010, and have been offering this approach ever since. Other doctors in the area have since been advertising “Rapid Recovery” breast augmentation, without actually doing this technique. Some doctors are simply speeding up their surgical time. Some have been placing “pain pumps” or long-lasting local anesthetic in an attempt to better control pain, without getting the appropriate training.
I now offer “True Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation”, to include the technique of surgery, minimizing trauma to the tissues, and actually avoiding touching some tissues entirely because they cause more pain. My patients can raise their arms over their head in the recovery room, and continue to do this for the entire recovery. Most of my patients take nothing other than Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants, and most don’t even fill their pain pill prescription.
Most are capable of returning to light duty within 2 – 3 days, but I discourage any significant activity until day 5, to minimize swelling. I did breast implants on a family member, and they were at the mall shopping for 6 hours the next day. I had a patient recently that I did breast implants one morning and saw them at a restaurant eating lunch with their family at noon that day.
Breast Augmentation surgery has improved substantially and is no longer the “very painful” surgery that many past patients remember.