Breast augmentation is one of the most common cosmetic procedure but is it a fit for summer? An expert in aesthetic breast surgery and Haute Beauty member, Dr. Kamakshi R. Zeidler expounds on the treatment and what it takes to undergo it during the time of the year, when bikini is the garment of choice.
Is breast augmentation a good idea during the summer months?
Breast augmentation is a procedure that certainly gives immediate gratification. It’s a great procedure to do when you have done your research, found the right doctor and have a clear understanding of all the breast implant options to determine which option will get you the desired end result. That said, I meet with some patients who want an emergency breast augmentation so they will look great in a bikini over the summer, and that is just not practical. The important thing to realize is that it takes the body time to heal. I am pretty strict and ask my patients not to go in hot tubs, swimming pools or the ocean for at least six weeks after surgery to allow the incisions to fully heal. This can put a damper on summer plans. Depending on the technique and the implant that is used, it may even take a couple months for the implants to properly settle so the final look is not what a patient will see just a month after surgery.
What tips would you give to women considering the procedure during this time?
Plan ahead! It’s important to know your summer vacation plans in advance. Whether it’s a tropical vacation where you will be spending a lot of time in the water, or a vacation that will be filled with other outdoor physical activities, you really want to be able to enjoy yourself. I meet with a lot of women at the very beginning of summer who know what they want and are considering jumping right into surgery. I don’t necessarily consider it impulsive because many patients know what they want, but sometimes, it’s good to spend that summer in Hawaii with your husband and kids, rather than spending the vacation going through recovery. The surgery should enhance your life, not get in the way of it, so make sure to plan ahead and give yourself the time you need to heal so you can enjoy not only your new look, but also the life you want to live that made you decide to do the surgery in the first place.
What are the dos and don’ts during recovery? How long can it take?
DO follow all of your doctor’s instructions!
The purpose of restrictions that surgeons place on their patients is to prevent complications. We do not want patients getting infections, hence why we say “no hot tubs or soaking in baths right away.” We also don’t want patients doing any heavy lifting as this can cause hematomas, or internal bleeding.
Definitely take it easy for at least a week. If implants are placed under the muscle then the first few days can be pretty uncomfortable. Ice helps a great deal in reducing swelling. Let other people drive you places and take care of you. This is your chance to live it up! No laundry , no dishes, no cleaning, no carrying kids, and no high impact exercising. Three weeks after surgery, it’s usually OK to sweat and do lower body activities such as the stationary bike, or hiking. After six weeks, things have pretty much healed and unrestricted activity, such as pilates, yoga, kick boxing, and carrying your kids, can begin again.
It is important for women to have some patience while the body heals. When it comes to anatomically shaped implants or tear drop shaped implants, which have been gaining popularity in the United States since becoming available a few years ago, the restrictions I’ve mentioned are really important because we don’t want the implant shifting during the early healing phase – nobody wants the implant to get turned upside-down!
How can patients reduce swelling and scaring during recovery?
The natural healing process includes three days of inflammation where swelling increases, so icing with frozen peas (or corn!) or soft ice packs can decrease pain and limit swelling, which reduces the risk of getting stretch marks. When doing this, it is important to use a towel or some type of barrier between the cooling item and the skin because the skin can be very sensitive to the cold. In the same sense, it is equally important to stay out of the sun. This helps reduce the chance of permanent scars. I apply a type of skin glue that stays on for the first three weeks post-surgery, and then I start my patients with a silicon scar therapy. Silicone provides a barrier that acts like skin which helps in healing a scar. This hydrates the scar and helps it heal down to a very fine line. There is no other topical agent that is as effective on scars as silicone. Period! The scientific evidence is overwhelming. After that – keep the scars out the sun’s damaging UV rays.
What is implant settling? How long does it take and what are some of the common complication that may arise?
“Settling” is a way of saying that it takes time to get the final desired look. Think of your hair right after you curl it, and then Iet it settle the perfect way, or your makeup that is a little too harsh when you walk out the door, but then settles into a more natural look. Even a pair of jeans fresh out of the dryer doesn’t fit perfectly until it stretches in just the right places to hug your body perfectly. The body similarly adjusts to something new, and the healing process includes the changes that occur over time with mechanical forces. Breast implants stretch the tissue. It’s that stretching and rounding out that takes time. This is especially true when breast implants are placed under the muscle in the chest, because the muscle swells so much that it can become very tight. The area needs time to stretch and allow the implant to settle into a good position in the breast. Most of this settling is complete in three months, but sometimes this can take six months to a year to fully stabilize.
What summer activities should patients avoid post the procedure?
Water activities! Don’t get those fresh incisions in dirty water or chlorine. Any summer sport that requires rigorous upper body activity should also be avoided for about three weeks. Definitely no sun bathing in the nude since we need to keep those scars out of the sun! Also, no pushup bras for the first six weeks since we want those implant to “settle” naturally.
Dr. Zeidler practices in Silicon Valley, Northern California, and specializes in all types of breast surgery. She is known for blending traditional cosmetic and reconstructive techniques together to achieve beautiful natural results.