In general, looking after your incisions after a breast augmentation is fairly easy.
Your plastic surgeon will have stitched and dressed your wounds and as long as you follow their post-op care instructions it should be smooth sailing to go from incision to scar in the coming weeks after your breast augmentation.
That being said, let me share with you some general pieces of wound care advice to follow and a few top tips of what to do if you experience any concerns...
Plastic surgeons use different techniques to close incisions after breast augmentation depending on where your incision is (and what their preference is).
There will be some kind of stitches (also called sutures) and some plastic surgeons also use a medical glue over incisions.
What kind of stitches (dissolvable or removable) will be your surgeon's choice.
Most stitches used in breast surgery these days are dissolvable so there’s no need to have them removed. The removable type will require a trip back to your plastic surgeon (typically between 6-14 days after your surgery).
If you have a areolar (nipple) incision your plastic surgeon may also use medical tape (steri strips) to hold your wounds together. These typically need to stay on for at least 2 weeks.
Sometimes stitches can be a bit pesky and they may try and work their way out of your body... in which case you may need to visit your PS and have some stitches removed (even the dissolvable kind can do this).
Top tip: whatever you do, don’t try and do home surgery and remove any loose stitches yourself! You could do more harm than good.
If you have a dressing over the top of your incisions it's to:
- absorb any fluid leaking from your wound
- reduce your risk of infection
- protect the area until your wound has healed
- prevent your stitches or clips from catching on clothing
How your wound will be dressed depends again on your plastic surgeon’s approach. Some will give you waterproof dressings so you’re cleared to shower straight away and others will ask you to avoid water (you can still sponge bath!) getting on your dressings until your plastic surgeon removes them at a follow-up appointment.
Try to avoid getting your incision sites wet. They need to stay dry to heal. Submerging your incisions in water will not be advised they have fully healed at about 3 weeks, so you'll need to hold off on a relaxing bubble bath until then.
Check with your plastic surgeon before you leave the hospital if you can take home some spare dressings. Then, if you do get your dressings wet (and you're allowed to change them yourself) you can dry the area with a cool hairdryer and apply new dressings.
Top tip: if you experience any itching around the area where your dressing is you may want to give your surgeon's office a call... some people are allergic to the glue that is on dressings... it's easily taken care of.
Where There's A Wound There'll Be A Scar
Skin edges usually form a seal within a day or two of breast surgery. Don't be surprised if the first time you see your scars it's a bit... scary. Nipple scars and breast lift scars especially can look quite overwhelming in the early days.
Your scars might look scary now, but when taken care of they will eventually look almost invisible.
Once the incision area is sealed (i.e. no open wounds) your plastic surgeon will likely advise massaging the scar with some kind of cream or lotion...
I can not recommend my Scar Salve enough! Seriously ladies, it took me years of experimenting to get the recipe just right and I am so proud of it!
Massaging your scars will help promote collagen by applying pressure to the scar and the scar salve will provide moisture and flexibility to the scar for better healing.
As scars heal they go through a few stages... they'll go from puffy and raised (when blood flow to the area increases to start the healing process) to red and flatter (as new tissue starts to develop) and then finally to flatter and fainter as new cells fully repair the area.
Keep in mind that your scars will take up to (and sometimes over) a year from your breast surgery date to be fully healed and faded, so be patient!
Thankfully, caring for your wounds should be an easy part of this journey.
Your plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to advice regarding your wounds... so follow their advice carefully... and happy healing :)