Patient Resources

Postoperative Instructions - Breast Augmentation

Recovery from a breast augmentation is relatively easy. You may experience pain in the breast area during first 48 hours, but after that period, you will feel minimal pain, and usually only when you move arms. After surgery, you may move and walk as tolerated, but you will need to avoid any movement involving the upper arms and shoulders, such pushing a heavy door and lifting a heavy objects (> 5 pounds). You may drive after a week or so, but you will feel minor pain the breast area when you turn the wheel. You may take shower normally 48 hours after surgery. Just remove gauze over the incision and leave Steri-Strip tape on the skin intact. You may wet the breast, and the Steri-Strip tapes would not come off easily. These tapes should stay on the incision for 2 weeks.

After surgery, you will wear a sports bra to support the breast. You will need to wear 24/7 except when you shower. You may continue to wear the support bra we provide at the time of surgery, but you also can get any good sports bra a few days after surgery.

Massaging - Massaging is an important part of postoperative instruction after breast augmentation. Dr Kim usually asks you to start massaging about a week after surgery, and continue for 3-6 months. Generally, you may do massaging 3-5 times a day, 5-10 minutes each. As pain subsides in 2 weeks after surgery, you can do more aggressive massaging without discomfort. Massaging instructions are found here. Not everyone gets the same massaging instruction. Please make sure to follow Dr Kim’s specific instructions.

You will notice that the breasts will be getting softer 1-2 weeks after surgery, and this will continue. Early after surgery, breast implants may be high, but they will drop as breast gets softer. This process usually takes as little as 4 weeks, or as long as 2-3 months, depending upon the quality of your skin. But at about 1 month after surgery, you may resume normal habits, such as sleeping without a bra, and also you may purchase new sets of bra that fit your new beautiful breast. Dr Kim recommends underwire bra.

Exercise - You may resume minor exercises as soon as you feel well about 3 weeks after surgery, such walking, jogging, and some cardio and bicycling. You need to avoid exercises that involve the upper arms. Contraction of the pectoralis muscle in the chest should be avoided, particularly in a strenuous way. This includes lifting, pushing and weight training, pushups, and some yoga poses. You may resume these activities at about 6 weeks after surgery.

Postoperative Instructions - Drain Care

Drain care is required 2 times per day immediately following surgery. Follow these instructions explicitly and record drainage as required. You must do this 2 times per day, and at any time the drainage bag is more than 1/3 full. You will be required to submit the drain log to Dr Kim for your patient record. Click here to download the instruction sheet and log sheet.

Wash your hands well with anti-bacterial soap.

Open cap on the drain bulb. Pour out drainage into a clean measuring cup. Record the amount of drainage and time of day as indicated. Dispose of drainage in the toilet and flush.

Squeeze bulbs tight. Replace cap.

Once you have measured your fluid drainage, you must “milk” or strip the drain tube. This is done to prevent small clots from blocking fluid flow.

To do this, hold the tube securely at the skin site with one hand. With the other hand, pinch the tube between your thumb and index finger and apply firm pressure as you strip the tube towards the bulb. If the tube and bulb come apart, wipe the ends with alcohol and reconnect. Squeeze the bulb again and replace cap.

Cleansing the Drain Site

Once a day or as instructed, change gauze around drain sites. Change the gauze more often if it becomes saturated.

Check the skin around the drains for leakage or redness (a slight redness immediately around the tube is not unusual). If there is leakage, begin milking the tubes downward towards the bulb and continue milking every hour until leakage slows down. Apply Neosporin or antibiotic ointment around the drain insertion site. Attach the drainage bag to your clothes so that there is no tension on the insertion site.

Additional Instructions

Always secure the drain to your clothing so that there is no tension on the drain at the incision site.
Do not cut the drains.
Keep tubes connected to the bulbs.
Check that the bulb is always compressed (or flat).

Notify Alex Kim M.D. at 310-860-9502 if any of the following occur:

A large amount of leakage around the drain.
A marked increase in drainage output (double your usual flow).
Increased heat, redness, or tenderness around the insertion site.
The bulb will not stay compressed or filled with air.
The drain comes out.

Postoperative Instructions - Abdominoplasty

Following the procedure, you may get up and walk as tolerated. Do not lay flat. Keep your back up, hips bent and knees up over the pillows. You should sleep face up, at least during the first several days. You may experience oozing from the incision sites. It is usually brief and will subside within 24 hours.

Keep the compression garment all times after surgery except when you wash the garment, or brief period to take care your personal hygiene. Dr Kim recommends to wear the compression garment for a total of 3 months (first 6 weeks day and night, second 6 weeks day time only). Watch for the excessive tightness, since any excessive tightness may cause healing problems.

Drain tubes are placed under the skin of abdomen. The bulbs of the drain need to be kept collapsed all times to maintain adequate vacuum suction. Empty the bulbs twice daily, and as necessary, by removing the plug. Squeeze the bulb while placing the plug back. Measure the amount of drainage and record them daily. Report the amount of drainage to the doctor on the follow-up visit.

You may shower 72 hours after surgery. Remove garment and gauze dressing. Make sure you have someone nearby just in case you feel dizzy during the process. Since you have drains, be very careful, and the shower should be brief. Getting wet on the drain sites is not harmful. Do not sit in a bath tub until all drains are removed and drain sites close completely. Keep Steri-Strip tapes on until they start falling off. After the shower, no dressing is needed over the Steri-Strip tapes, but you may place some gauze over the drain sites, and put the compression garment on.

Physical Activities - As you recover, increase your level of activity gradually. It usually takes 3 weeks to resume daily activities, such as driving, shopping, cooking and cleaning. Most patients will resume light exercise at about 6 weeks after surgery. Usually you will feel completely normal at about 3 months.

Brooks Surgery Center

Surgery is performed at Brooks Surgery Center - our in-office surgery suite. This facility is approved by AAAASF as a Class C facility. This means that we can administer all types of anesthesia to safely perform all cosmetic procedures. Anesthesia is performed by the certified anesthesiologist, and skilled and caring nursing staff will take care of the patients. We are proud that we have been approved for 17 years.

Out of Town Patients

Coming from out of town for surgical procedures? Rest assured. We have a great plan for you, even you are coming alone. The recovery retreat, PEARL, at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, provides excellent postoperative nursing care. Their nursing staff provides transportation from the surgery center to the hotel, and follow up visits. Nurses are on duty 24/7 and Dr Kim can be reached if any assistance is needed. Also, Dr Kim makes outcall visits to PEARL to make sure your recovery is uneventful.

If you are coming with your family members, you may stay in one of luxury hotels in Beverly Hills, including SLS Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hilton Hotel, and L’ermitage Hotel. We can also arrange a nurse to visit your hotel room to assist you during the recovery.