Being prepared for breast implant removal surgery is one of the best things you can do to ensure that your recovery is as smooth and comfortable as possible. There are things that are done on a daily basis that aren’t given a second thought such as opening a childproof pill bottle. After surgery, this can be difficult, if not impossible. Preparing for these things that you would not normally think about prior to your surgery will help you more than you can imagine.

Pre-Operative List 

(Follow your Mechanic’s Instructions) 

  • Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or drugs containing these things for at least ten days prior to surgery. These medications thin the blood, which is not conducive to healing.
  • Unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon, discontinue Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and all other herbal and/or homeopathic remedies for 30 days prior to surgery.
  • Do not wear contact lenses to surgery.
  • Do not wear makeup on the day of surgery.
  • Do not wear nail polish on surgery day.
  • Do not wear jewellery, including any body piercings, on surgery day.
  • Do not wear any hair accessories containing metal (such as barrettes or clips with metal springs, etc.)
  • Do wear comfortable clothing and shoes on the day of surgery. It is preferable to wear pants or shorts that can be pulled on easily. Your top should button or zip in the front. It should not have to go on over your head, as lifting your arms above your head will be very uncomfortable immediately following surgery.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before surgery.
  • No alcohol for 24 hours prior to surgery.
  • Most surgeons will allow you to take blood pressure and heart medications the morning of surgery with a small sip of water.
  • If you smoke, do your best to stop for at least four weeks prior to surgery. If you cannot quit, cutback as much as possible. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, which can interfere with healing. Even nicotine patches can constrict the blood vessels.
  • If you are a diabetic, discuss this with your surgeon at your consult as well as the morning of surgery.

 

General 

 

Clean the House: This should be obvious. Who wants to recover while looking at a mess that’s just begging to be cleaned up? Have your entire house in order. Clean everything, wash all dishes, and takeout the trash. It’s so much nicer to rest and relax in a nice, clean space. Additionally, you won’t be able to scrub bathrooms, vacuum, etc., during the early stages of recovery.

 

Take Care of All Laundry: As with cleaning, you don’t want a pile of dirty laundry staring at you while you’re recovering. Take care of it before you have surgery so that you can come home to empty laundry hampers and plenty of fresh, clean clothes.

 

Pay all Bills: If any bills are due shortly after your surgery, you should try to go ahead and take care of them before surgery. This is especially important if you live by yourself. Narcotics and lack of sleep can result in forgetfulness, which isn’t particularly desirable when it comes to paying bills.

 

Food: For anyone that doesn’t have a significant other, friend, or family member to take care of the matter surgery, it is important to consider meals ahead of time. Many different types of meals can be cooked and then frozen. You may want to prepare a few meals so that you won’t have to worry about cooking for a few days.

 

Prescriptions: Get your prescriptions filled ahead of time. Do not wait until you leave the hospital or surgery center to go by the pharmacy. You will not feel like dealing with that. You’re going to be tired, sore, maybe nauseous, and all you are going to care about is going home and climbing onto the sofa or into the bed.

 

Pets: If you have pets, you will want to make sure that they have plenty of food, kitty litter, and treats. If you have dogs that need to be walked, you may need to get someone to help you with that, particularly if your dogs are large.

 

Moisturize: Make sure you use a good organic moisturizer on your breasts for a few weeks prior to surgery. While nothing can completely prevent stretch marks, it certainly does not hurt to try.

 

Explant surgery Recovery 

 

Ginger Ale: You may feel nauseous from anaesthesia and/or pain medication. It’s good to have something like Ginger Ale handy since it can help soothe nausea. If you don’t like Ginger Ale, and prefer something else like Lemonade, Sprite or 7-Up, make sure to have some on hand. Hard peppermint candy or ginger is also said to curtail nausea.

 

Drinks, Water, Tea: Whatever you like to drink, make sure it’s easily accessible. If you like Diet Pepsi, for example, you may want to buy them in cans instead of two-litre bottles. Opening twist-off caps can be very difficult in the first few days after explant surgery. Cans are much easier to open. If you prefer water, tea, etc., you may want to purchase a beverage dispenser so that you can fill your glass without needing to lift a heavy bottle.

 

Bland Foods: In case nausea is a problem, you will want to have bland foods on hand. Some examples of bland foods include oatmeal, mashed potatoes, bananas, jelly, rice, crackers, bread, dry toast. Try to avoid heavy, greasy foods until your stomach has settled. You do not want to make yourself sick. The chest muscles contract each time you vomit or dry heave, and it doesn’t feel good.

 

Pillows: You need to have lots of pillows to help support your back since you will likely be sleeping in a reclining position. It’s important to support your lower back to prevent your lower back from hurting.

 

Heating Pad: A heating pad is handy if your back aches. It is not to be used on your breasts.

 

Moisturizer: Make sure that you have a good moisturizer. The stretching of the skin from the years of having implants can result in dry flaking skin post explant.

 

Stool Softeners: Since constipation is common after any surgery, particularly when narcotics are taken, it is wise to have stool softeners on hand. Drinking lots of water, apple juice, or prune juice can help get things moving, but if these things do not work, the stool softeners will come in handy.

 

Backscratcher: In case your back itches, this will come in handy. It may be difficult to use at first, but you will have much more luck with a backscratcher than without one. This is due to your mobility be limited.

 

Icepacks: Icepacks are great for reducing swelling. You can purchase cold packs at your local pharmacy or you can make your own ice packs. If you do get permission to ice, make sure that you put a hand towel or wash cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Be sure to never go to sleep with the ice pack on. If the area gets too cold, circulation will stop, which can cause major problems. Consult with your surgeon prior to icing. Be sure to follow his or her instructions. Some surgeons recommend no icing, while others leave it up to the patient. It is common to ice for 10 minutes, then no ice for 20.

 

Post-surgery 

 

Clothing: You will want to have clothing on hand that either zips or buttons up the front. You will not feel like putting shirts on over your head. It may be extremely difficult (or impossible) to put your arms over your head for a few days.

 

Hair Bands :If you have long hair, you may find it helpful to pull it up into a ponytail. It’s quick, easy, and lets you not have to worry about your hair.

 

Pants: If you love to relax in your favourite track pants you may find that you don’t like having to pull them up and down when going to the bathroom. If this is the case, try wearing a long t-shirt, or a robe (whichever works best for your situation), and forgo the pants.

 

Toilet Lid: Leave the toilet LID up. Bending over can feel very uncomfortable after explant surgery.

 

Remote Controls: Make sure the remote controls to your TV, DVD player, etc., have fresh batteries. Even on the best days, no one wants to get up to turn the channel, push play on the DVD player, etc.

 

Medicine Caps: If your medication bottles have childproof caps, and they most likely will, make sure that the caps are loosened so that you won’t have to worry about having any difficulty opening the bottles. If you have children, particularly small children, this may not be a good idea. In all cases, a pill organizer is your best option (see below).Keep your medications close to you at all times so that they are easily accessible.

 

Pill Organizer: Because you will be so groggy, tired, and likely “loopy” (due to pain medication), it is important that you keep up with your medication schedule. Pill organizers can be purchased at any discount store or pharmacy. This is a cheap and effective way to make sure that you take your medication as prescribed, which is especially important where antibiotics are concerned. Pain medications, when taken other than as prescribed, can be very dangerous. A pill organizer can help you to remember when you are due to for the next dosage of medication. Keep your medications close to you at all times so that they are easily accessible.

 

Phone & Charger: Whether you’ve decided to camp out in your bed, or on your sofa, make sure that your phone (cordless, non-cordless, and/or cell phone) is with you at all times, along with the charger (if applicable). In the event that you need help, for any reason, it is helpful to have all of this close by.

 

Recliners: Recliners can work wonderfully. Many women feel that they are much more comfortable than a bed or sofa, particularly since you won’t be sleeping on your back in the beginning. However, it can be extremely difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to get out of a recliner by yourself. It depends on the amount of discomfort you have, as well as the chair. If you have trouble getting out of the chair, you should not sit in it while you are alone.

 

Books and DVDs: Since you will not be doing a lot during the first few days, you may find that you are bored. If you like to read, make sure you have your favourite magazines, books, etc. You may want to stay away from comedies since they may make you laugh, which you will feel in your chest (particularly if you had enbloc removal).

 

Underwear: If you wear underwear, you may want to just go without them for the first few days. For some women, pulling them up and down during bathroom visits is just more than they feel like they want to do. Other women don’t have a problem with it. Do what you feel comfortable doing.

 

Showering: Before you leave for surgery, turn your shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles upside down so that you won’t have to “shake” the bottles after surgery.

 

After surgery you will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze, compression garment, bandages or a surgical bra.

Your surgeon should describe the usual after surgery (postoperative) recovery process, the possible complications that may occur, and the recovery period. Following the operation, as with any surgery, you can expect some pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness. These effects may last for a month or longer, but should disappear with time. Scarring is a natural result of surgery. Prior to surgery, ask your surgeon to describe the location, size and appearance of any expected scars. For most women, scars will fade over time into thin lines.

Your surgeon may prescribe medications for pain and/or nausea. If you experience bleeding, fever, warmth, redness of the breast, or other symptoms of infection, you should immediately report these symptoms to your surgeon. Your surgeon should tell you about wound healing and how to care for your wound.

You may need a postoperative bra, compression bandage or jogging bra for extra support as you heal. At your surgeon’s recommendation you will most likely be able to return to work within a few days, but you should avoid any strenuous activities that could raise your pulse and blood pressure for at least two weeks.

Ask your surgeon about a schedule for follow-up visits, limits on your activities, precautions you should take, and when you can return to your normal activities, including exercising.

Help at home
Depending on the complexity of your explant surgery, you may need help with household chores, dressings, transportation etc. If you have concerns in any of these areas, please talk with your surgeon or family doctor before your explant surgery.

Don’t forget to download your free copy of  ‘Getting Ready for your Explant Surgery’ here

I have put together the following tips for making life easier both before and after your explant surgery.

 

Things you will need to purchase in advance:

 

  • Triangle pillow for sleeping
  • Sports bras or compression bras
  • Mulu Organics Scar Serum  or organic coconut oil or organic sesame oil for massage (once cleared by your surgeon)
  • Tissues
  • Wet ones/wet wipes/baby wipes
  • Phone credit (if you’re on Pre-paid)
  • Stool softener, as you may be constipated from the pain meds
  • Purchase probiotics
  • Fill prescriptions, eg contraceptive pill, pain meds
  • Buy gauze for dressing changes, vitamins and anything approved or requested by plastic surgeon.
  • Bottled water
  • Sanitary napkins (handy for placing over incisions in your bra to stop the bra rubbing)

 

Organise the following in advance:

 

  • Pre cook meals and shop in advance
  • Arrange someone to look after your children, school run etc
  • Make sure any prescription medications have been filled and are in a convenient location
  • Bedside table/tray to hold all the stuff you’ll need/want through the night including emergency phone numbers
  • Clothes that are easy to get on and off like comfy shorts, soft open front tops, singlets/tank tops that you can step into
  • Consider waxing legs/underarms before Surgery
  • Have eyelashes tinted (so you don’t need to apply mascara
  • Braid hair, or at least have bands to pull it back
  • Make your bed with fresh sheets and pillow cases
  • Do the laundry.
  • Clean the house
  • Do the dishes
  • Position food in pantry and fridge at lower levels to avoid above head reaching
  • Keep a plastic bucket nearby (anaesthesia and medications can make you nauseous)
  • Wash your hair

 

* Things for your bedside table –

  • Chap stick for dry lips
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Tissues
  • Medications
  • Bottled water
  • Vix vapour rub or similar product for relief from stuffy nose
  • Mouthwash
  • Bucket beside the bed
  • Glasses
  • Hair brush
  • Lemonade or ginger ale
  • Slippers beside the bed
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes

 

Remember all of are different and there are no hard and fast rules in what you will need. The items and hints listed here are suggestions I have made over the years and other women have found them useful or wished they had known these things in advance.

 

Let your body do its job in healing itself, your job is to be loving and  kind to yourself and keep hydrated while the healing takes place ♥