Wilmington Plastic Surgery News & Events

Sleeping After Breast Surgery

Wilmington Plastic Surgery
Any time you have surgery, it’s critical to get good sleep afterward. Sleep is a huge component of the healing process. It allows your body to do things like providing extra nutrients and oxygen to your cells and muscle tissue.

Sleeping can be especially tricky after breast surgery, not just because you may experience discomfort, but because you must learn to sleep in a way that won’t damage your implants or surgical wounds. If you are planning on having breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, or a breast lift, you need to learn the right way to sleep post-surgery.

Sleep Position After Breast Surgery

While it is possible to sleep on your side after breast surgery, it comes with some medical concerns that aren’t worth the risk.

Instead, most plastic surgeons recommend that patients who have had breast surgery sleep exclusively on their backs until they are fully healed. Sleeping on your back means that gravity cannot affect your chest muscles and reduces the risk of painful stretching and pulling that can damage your new breasts.

Additionally, it is highly recommended to elevate your upper body when sleeping on your back. This can be accomplished simply by using some pillows to prop yourself up at a 30-40 degree angle. Elevating your upper body after breast surgery can greatly reduce the swelling and bruising you may experience, improve circulation, and cut down on fluid buildup. It also helps patients get out of bed easier, further cutting down on potential stress for your healing breast tissue.

The board-certified plastic surgeons at Wilmington Plastic Surgery will consider your specific situation before deciding exactly how long you have to sleep on your back after breast surgery. Generally speaking though, sleeping on your back is prescribed for at least 4-6 weeks. 

How to Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Back

How to Sleep on Your BackFor those who are side sleepers or stomach sleepers, learning to sleep flat on your back can be pretty difficult. That’s why you should work on training yourself to sleep on your back for several weeks leading up to your breast surgery.

Most of learning how to sleep on your back is achieved simply practicing every night, but you can get some help by repositioning your body with pillows. For instance, a pillow with extra neck support can help discourage you from rolling over in the night. You can also place pillows under your knees and under both arms to keep you from tossing and turning.

If you keep rolling over, don’t give up. Roll back onto your back and keep trying until you get it down. It may be difficult to sleep this way, but it truly is essential to healing after any kind of breast procedure.

Tips for Sleeping After Breast Surgery

Aside from lying on your back, sleeping can still be tricky after surgery. You may experience some pain or swelling that makes it difficult to get comfortable or fall asleep. The following tips can help make sleeping on your back after breast surgery even easier:
  • Get some extra sheets washed and ready before your procedure since you probably won’t feel like doing any more laundry than you have to afterward.
  • Stay away from anything that can make it harder to sleep like sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Avoid using your phone or watching TV immediately before bed. Instead, try reading or meditating.
  • Find a comfortable bra to sleep in. Most surgeons will recommend seamless sports bras because they provide the support required to facilitate healing.
  • Invest in a couple of body pillows to place on either side of you and keep you from rolling over in your sleep.
  • Make sure to adjust the temperature in your room before you go to bed. There’s nothing worse than getting comfortable and having to get up again to adjust the thermostat!
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping in bed, try a recliner or zero gravity chair.
  • Cut down on ambient light that could disrupt your sleep.
  • Once you’re allowed to, consider taking a hot shower right before bed to help you relax and unwind.
  • If you experience any abnormal pain, begin bleeding, or notice any kind of issue with your wounds, contact your doctor ASAP.

Whether you’re ready to finally get the breasts you’ve always dreamed of or need help with reconstruction after breast cancer, we can help. Contact us at 910-509-SKIN to schedule a free consultation.

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