Post-Care Instructions


1. ACTIVITY: REST and RELAX for the first couple days. DO NOT LIFT, PULL OR STRAIN. Do not lift over 10lbs for one week. You cannot legally drive for 24 hours after surgery, nor while taking the prescription pain medication. Someone should stay with you for at least 24 hours after your surgery. Most patients return to work in 4-7 days following surgery.

2. DIET: You may resume a regular diet with light food intake the evening of surgery (most patients report slight to moderate nausea from the anesthetic for the first day or two after surgery). Start with liquids and soups; avoid fried foods for the first couple days. Drink lots of water and stay active without over-exerting yourself. You may consider taking Metamucil or Citracil twice daily during the healing phase as pain medications can be constipating.

3. PAIN CONTROL: You will feel some discomfort and pressure and may have muscle spasms. Take all medications as prescribed. Try ice packs, ambulation, or repositioning (try sleeping with your upper body elevated to relieve some of the pressure off of your chest). If your prescription pain medication isn’t working, makes you nauseous or itchy, or if you develop a rash, call Dr. Howard to see if you need to try a different medication. You can take Benadryl if you develop slight itching. If it worsens or you develop a rash, you will need a different medication. Some patients choose to take over-the-counter Ibuprofen instead of their prescription pain medication (you should follow the package directions, ie, no more that 800 mg in a 6-hr period or no more than 3200 mg in a 24-hr period!) Do not take any other over the counter medications without consulting the physician.

4. WOUND CARE/HYGIENE: Two days after surgery, you may remove your outer dressings and take a shower. Leave the steri-strips in place until your first postop visit; they are designed to stay in place while bathing. You may raise your arms to wash hair. Do not use alcohol, peroxide, Neosporin or other topical ointments unless otherwise directed by Dr. Howard. Wearing soft gauze pads or panti-liners in your bra helps to contain fluid drainage and bleeding, which are normal parts of healing. Keep the area clean and change pads frequently. You should wear the surgical bra at all times for the first week; however, you may take it off after the first 48 hours long enough to launder it as necessary and shower. If it is too uncomfortable, you can wear a wireless sports bra that provides equal compression. It is not recommended that you try to purchase any other bras for several weeks after surgery as your final size may not be evident until after the swelling completely subsides.

5. APPEARANCE OF INCISION: It is important to examine the incision site daily. You may notice slight redness and swelling or a small amount of pink or clear drainage from the incision. These are normal. If you have increased redness, swelling, drainage, or bleeding from your incision, or if you develop a fever greater than 101º, call Dr. Howard’s office, as these may be signs of an infection. Your scar will look red for a while, but it will gradually fade in color over the next 6-12 months. Numbness typically occurs around the incision and sometimes in the nipple. Normal sensation will usually return in a couple of months.

6. BREAST APPEARANCE: You and your partner may be somewhat surprised with the look of your breasts immediately after surgery (size, uneven appearance or height of implants on chest), but in a few months your new look will take shape as your implants settle into their final position. Bruising may appear around the breasts, armpits, and ribcage area, which is normal and will fade in about 2 weeks.

7. APPOINTMENT: You are scheduled to be seen in our office in a few days for your first followup visit. Someone should accompany you if you are still taking pain medication. Your spouse or significant other may want to attend to be included in the demonstration of proper implant massaging techniques to help your implants settle in the proper position.


  • You may experience pain and tenderness (often described as burning sensations or sharp shooting pains) over the next few months. Many patients report symptoms on only one side or the other, which is completely normal. Also you may experience periodic episodes of tingling or loss of sensation, of which most should resolve with time. Permanent loss of sensation in the incision areas or nipples is a possibility, though rare.
  • Your implants have been placed purposely high so they will be in the correct position once they settle. It takes months for your implants to settle into their final position, especially if placed submuscularly. If your nipples were low on your breasts originally or if your breasts were uneven, they will likely still have that appearance after surgery. Your new shape is you, only larger.
  • At first your breasts will feel hard and firm. They will soften and feel more natural over time. The larger your implants are in proportion to your original breast size, the less natural they will look and feel. If your original breasts were very small and your tissue very thin, you may be able to see and feel more rippling with larger-sized implants.
  • Most patients have their incisions placed in the creases underneath the breasts. This is the most inconspicuous placement with the least amount of risk. Most patients’ scars fade almost completely after about a year. During the maturation phase at 3-6 months post-op is when the scars are likely to look the worst. After your incisions are healed (2-3 weeks), you can begin to use topical scar treatments as desired to help improve the aesthetic outcome. Do not tan your scars for at least a year.

If you have any questions please call our office at (573) 635-9668 or email

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