Answers to Common Postsurgical Questions by Stacey Lewis, RN
After surgery is it very common to have lots of questions! In order to help ease your mind, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that will be of great benefit to you. If you can't find the information that you are looking for please feel free to give me a call (480) 309-1095 on the nurse line.
(Please be advised that the nurse phone hours are Monday – Friday 9am- 4:30pm. If you leave a voicemail or text outside of the listed hours I will not receive your message until the next business day)
PLEASE READ ALL OF YOUR INSTRUCTIONS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED!!!
Being prepared and well educated will greatly reduce anxiety, uncertainty and will help ensure you have the best outcome possible!
Breast surgery patients
- If you have a small white band around your chest you only need to wear it for 4 days total-including the day of surgery.
- You do NOT have to specifically wear the white bra that we give to you. If it is uncomfortable for you after surgery then you may wear a different bra that is soft and comfortable (no underwire bra unless you have been specifically told to wear one). If you have only had breast augmentation then you do not have to wear it if you are uncomfortable wearing it
- Your breasts will likely take 4-6 weeks to settle (be in the proper position) so no bra shopping until then!
- If you have had a breast lift please wear some kind of bra for support (again soft and comfortable is what you will want)
- Sleep elevated for 4-5 days or as long as you need to do to swelling. You may sleep on your side when you can do so comfortably (a soft pillow between you and the mattress will help until the soreness subsides)
- Your breasts always look abnormal at first! Don't worry this will change as your implants settle and your muscles and skin relax.
- It is common to hear a sloshing sound for a week or so after surgery. Dr. Corey will irrigate the pocket for the implant with fluid and that takes time to absorb.
- It is common to be able to feel the bottom of your implant- that part is not covered by the chest muscle.\Your breasts may go through a phase of hypersensitivity during healing- this is normal.
- If you have some numbness after surgery this will most likely resolve with time- the amount of time varies with each individual.
- Physical restrictions after surgery: no bouncing of any kind for 2 weeks (no running, treadmill etc. and no chest muscle exercises (flys, bench pressing, push-ups etc.) for 3 months.
- You may ride a recumbent bike when you feel like it as well as walking outside. Bicep and triceps exercises may be resumed when comfortable. Be gentle here! Think light weight and progress as tolerated. You will be sore for a few weeks so take it slow! You can do leg exercises when you are ready- seated leg press, walking lunges, leg extensions, seated hamstring curls etc. Yoga when you are ready but avoid plank type positions.
- If your incisions are under your arms, you may use deodorant (provided its not spray deodorant) about a week after surgery. You may then shave up to and down to your steri-strips. Please do not shave directly over your incision for at least 2-3 weeks to allow time for healing.
- One breast may settle before the other
- You do not need to massage before your post-op appointment. I will discuss this with you then.
- You may not sleep on your stomach for 6 weeks.
- It is VERY common to feel that your abdomen is bloated for the first week or so after surgery!
Notes for everyone:
- The antibiotics are the only medication that isn't optional! Please start these the day of surgery. If your surgery is before 12noon then you will take your first antibiotic dose the night of your surgery. If your surgery is after 12 noon you may take your first dose the morning after your surgery.
- Get your prescriptions filled at least a week prior to surgery! Sometimes pain pills have to be ordered and we don't want you to be without your pain meds after surgery!
- Do NOT drink alcohol while taking pain meds or the Valium!
- You may drive when you are off of the medications and are physically able to do so safely (please be advised driving with Valium or Demerol in your system would be classified as a DUI)
- Do not ice any area for more than 20 mins at a time.
- If you are taking Arnica and you run out you may purchase more at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Amazon ). Take as directed on the bottle/tube. Arnica tablets are for before and after surgery; arnica gel is for after (don't get in your incisions)
- Everyone can shower after 48 hours. You can remove all dressings except steri-strips.
- No scar gel of any kind until your incisions are completely closed. You may use the scar gel until your incisions turn white.
- HEALING TAKES TIME! IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR ONE SIDE TO BE MORE SWOLLEN, BRUISED OR SORE THAN THE OTHER-EVEN SEVERAL WEEKS OUT. If there is a significant difference please call!!
- Sleep may be difficult for you for several reasons. You may take the Valium and this should help you get rest.
- Yes you may take the Demerol (or other pain med) and Valium throughout the day. Stagger the dosage times to avoid over sedation.
- Please remember taking ibuprofen after surgery can be quite helpful with pain and inflammation.
- You need someone to stay with you for 48 hours after surgery! No one is allowed to drive themselves home from surgery and you may not take a cab or Uber.
- Constipation is VERY common after surgery. Please take some kind of over the counter stool softener. If what you are taking is not working please take something else. You will feel much better once your GI tract is working normally. You will need to take this as long as you are on the pain meds and maybe even a few days after you have stopped taking them.
- You may resume sexual activity when you feel that you can do so without pain- remember no bouncing for 2 weeks after breast work ;)
Other important information:
- If you have a drain please try to chart the output at the same times daily! This is important! I need measurements for 24 hour totals and this is difficult if its not drained at approximately the same time daily. Please gently clean around your drain insertion site a couple of times a day with a q-tip and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. You should then put a small amount of antibiotic ointment on the insertion site. The color of the drainage will not always turn to a yellowish color.
- Nutrition is VERY important while you are healing from any surgery. You will likely have a decreased appetite after surgery so it is important to remember to eat! Foods like quality protein, good carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables will give your body the nutrition it needs to heal. If you have had a bigger surgery such as a tummy tuck you will need extra calories the first few weeks after surgery! Smaller frequent meals make it easier for you to get the nutrition that you need and it will help decrease feelings of dizziness and nausea.
- Do not over exert yourself. Gradually increase activity as your restrictions allow. If you feel very low of energy and need a nap- take one! Listen to your body.
- Narcotics have their place but please remember that you will feel much better once they are out of your system. Use them when needed but try to get off of them when you can! They have negative side effects such as depression, constipation and dizziness
- Pain pill prescriptions can NOT be called into a pharmacy! If you need a refill you will have to come to the office or have someone come for you to pick up a physical prescription. Our office closes at 5PM.
- All scars change over time- esp the first 6 months.
- No submerging in a bathtub, hot tub, swimming pool etc. until all incisions have completely closed. This is to reduce risk of possible infection.
- If we have recommended that you go for lymphatic massage, you may go for lymphatic massage after your first post-op appointment. This will be of great benefit to you. It can reduce pain and the time you need to get back to work, exercise and normal activities. Almost all of our patients enjoy the massage and feel much better after they have gone!
- If you are wearing a compression garment, you may switch to a Spanx type garment after a couple of weeks. It should provide support but not be so tight that its creasing your body.
- If you have had a tummy tuck please remember this takes a while to heal! No twisting motions / abdominal exercises for a minimum of 6 weeks! Dr. Corey and I will advise you more specifically on this as you are healing.