Sagging breasts can be caused by a number of factors, including breastfeeding, weight loss, and the mere passage of time. But you can restore more youthful contours with a breast lift, a procedure that benefits thousands of women every year. And at Georgia Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Marietta, GA, we’re here to guide you every step of the way, including helping you fully prepare for the easiest surgery possible.
How Do I Prepare for a Breast Lift?
It sounds deceptively easy, but one of the first places you can start on the path to preparation is with healthy living. Eat nourishing, wholesome foods and exercise often to give your body the boost it needs to recover from surgery. And look at it this way: if you haven’t yet embarked on a healthy living regimen, now is the perfect time to start.
When planning your exercise regimen, focus slightly more attention on strengthening your abs; a strong core will help you heal more quickly. For a few suggestions, consider purchasing a large, inflatable exercise ball – they’re great for building stomach muscles. The plank is another challenging exercise that engages your entire body for true fitness.
As soon as you saw this heading, the thought, “I’m already hydrated” probably flashed through your mind. But studies show 75% of Americans suffer chronic dehydration. To add injury to insult, this condition has far more health complications than you probably realize. This statement becomes even more true if you go into surgery dehydrated.
To fully understand how one becomes dehydrated, it’s important to know it’s more than simply feeling thirsty. It occurs when more fluids leave the body than enter, and symptoms include a lack of energy, irritability, sleepiness, rapid heart rate, and the inability to think clearly.
The Implications Before Surgery
Even being slightly dehydrated before surgery can have a negative impact on your body. Consider that dehydration reduces blood flow and can make an IV difficult to insert. You’re also at greater risk for nausea and vomiting. Last but not least, you can expect a longer recovery as your body works double-time to mend tissues and compensate for a lack of fluids. You should therefore go into surgery well-hydrated.
Take a Shopping Trip
You can only drink plenty of fluids – which includes tasty choices like infused water, coconut water, and herbal tea – if you have them in the house. The same is true of nourishing foods; you need a stocked pantry and refrigerator packed with the right choices. You should therefore grocery shop now for beneficial meals and again right before the date of your breast lift.
For several days after surgery, you’ll be unable to get to the store. Taking care of this important task ahead of time will make your life much simpler. Nix salty or processed foods from your list and instead choose those that make easy snacks and can be incorporated into healthy, delicious meals. A few choices to add to your cart include yogurt, eggs, and lettuce – they’re all rich in vitamin K that helps wounds heal.
Prep Your Meals
In this same vein, prepare some home-cooked meals a day or two before surgery and slide them into the freezer. You may not feel like cooking as you recover, and even if you do, your efforts are probably better focused on healing. Casseroles, stews, and soups can be made with healthful ingredients like meats and veggies, and they reheat nicely.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
As you look over your lifestyle and identify ways to make it healthier, we recommend you stop using tobacco products. It’s not only good for your body as a whole, but it can also help you recover more quickly from surgery. If you choose not to stop, know that cigarettes contain chemicals – a lot of chemicals – that restrict blood flow and can delay the healing process.
You’ll likewise want to remove alcohol from your diet about one week before your surgery date. Alcohol thins the blood and can cause bruising and swelling. We’ll let you know when it’s safe to resume, but in the meantime, it’s best to replace your nightly wine with water.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Here’s a little-known fact: a relaxed atmosphere promotes healing. It sounds unlikely, but the mind and body are connected; when you feel good, your body is more likely to be in an optimal state. You should therefore pick a room or corner before surgery that will make for a cozy healing space. If you already have a preferred place you can use, great. Natural light and a view of the outdoors are even better.
If you don’t have such a space yet singled out, feel free to create one. Choose calming music, comfortable pillows, and a plush blanket. Also thoroughly clean your house so you don’t have to worry about it during your recovery; this will likewise promote a relaxing environment. Finally, set a positive intention for the space so you feel good while in it.
Help can mean a lot of different things to different people, but in this instance, it refers to help around the house. You won’t be allowed to lift anything heavy, including children, move heavy objects, or bend for about a week after your procedure. Garnering help from a friend, partner, or family member to care for toddlers and pets means nothing and no one goes untended – and you still get the rest you need to regain your strength.
Try Sleeping on Your Back
The use of the word try here might seem odd, but most people dislike or are unable to fall asleep on their backs. This is, however, the ideal position for post-surgery healing. We recommend you spend a few nights lying on your back before surgery to prevent restlessness after.
Suspend Your Gym Membership
Because physical activities are temporarily off-limits, you should suspend your gym membership. You’ll save money and, in most cases, can restart the membership once we give you clearance.
Although strenuous activity is off the table, you will be encouraged to start walking a day or two after surgery. This promotes blood flow and is a great way to keep muscles limber.
The Night Before
You’ll want to shower and thoroughly wash your chest and breasts the night before your surgery. It sounds simple, but arriving at your appointment clean will help you feel more comfortable and decrease your risk of infection. And while you’re at it, remember not to wear makeup or jewelry to the procedure.
Get Plenty of Rest
While rest is important at all times, it becomes especially so the night before surgery. The more well-rested you are, the better equipped your body will be to handle the recovery process.
Dress in Comfortable Clothing
Your clothing choice is more important than you probably think. Keep in mind you’ll come out of surgery feeling groggy, so loose and breathable garments will be the easiest to get back into. A button-up shirt, for instance, will be more comfortable for the ride home than a form-fitting top. It will also be easier to remove once you’re home.
As you choose the outfit you’ll wear to surgery, you should also pull out a few extra shirts and pants for easy dressing during your recovery. Choose tops that don’t require lifting your arms over your head – again, button-ups are the best.
Tips for Optimal Recovery
Breast lift recovery is usually relatively short because the soft tissue and skin are reshaped without involving the muscle. Your final results will be visible in about three to six months, but you’ll see improvements well before then. And following our instructions will help you make a much faster recovery.
What are the instructions you’ll receive? These will be tailored to your individual needs, but one tip we provide to everyone is to manage your stress. This culprit can interfere with healing if you allow it to. If you feel antsy or worried at any point throughout your recovery, take a few minutes to breathe deeply or turn your attention to a book, movie, or other satisfying (low-key) experience that helps you relax.
Get Plenty of Rest
It’s important to listen to your body in the days following surgery. When you feel tired, rest. Let the person helping you reach for things, do the lifting, and even cook for you. And above all else, don’t strain your upper body.
While you’re resting, remember to watch your salt intake and stay hydrated. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day will keep your energy levels high and encourage healthy body processes.
What to Expect Post-Op
In the first week, most patients find it easier to take sponge baths than showers. You’ll likely need help washing your hair, so keep that in mind as you arrange help around the house. Most of your day will be devoted to rest, a fact you shouldn’t feel guilty about.
You can expect to be cleared for work after a week, although you may need to stay home longer if you have a physically strenuous job. You should also:
- Wear your surgical bras or compression garments as directed
- Avoid touching or removing your bandages
- Continue wearing loose-fitting clothing for the most comfort possible
Great Things Are Coming
Two to three weeks after surgery is often a favored milestone. This is when you’ll start feeling like yourself and the results of your breast lift will become more visible. You’ll likely be able to resume daily activities (with the exception of vigorous exercise). In addition, most women can transition from a surgical bra into a sports bra to provide a more natural look and feel.
Beyond Three Weeks
At this point, patients can usually return to physical activity. This will depend on how you feel and how quickly your breast tissue is healing, but it’s another milestone to look forward to.
At six weeks, you can likely return to wearing underwire bras – meaning a shopping trip for new undergarments may be in order. And at 12 weeks, unless otherwise noted by our staff, the recovery process is considered complete. You can now look forward to additional improvements in your new, svelte silhouette.
Have the Shape You Want
A breast lift can be a life-changing experience, and contrary to what women often believe, the recovery can be both quick and simple. This is especially true if you follow the pre-op steps we recommend. Tips include stocking your home with nutritious foods, creating a special healing space, and enlisting help from friends or family. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Georgia Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Marietta, GA.