How Do I Sleep After Explant Surgery?

explant surgery

If you’re wondering what to expect during your recovery process after explant surgery at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL, you’re not alone. Luckily, there’s no need to worry. During your initial consultation and after your procedure, Dr. Nir will walk you through every step of the post-op recovery process. Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know.

Tips for Sleeping Better

Which Position to Sleep In

After your explant surgery, you should sleep on your back for eight to 12 weeks post-op. Sleeping in this position eliminates the risk of excessive pressure damaging your incisions while they should be healing. It also puts your breasts in the best possible position for healing quickly and effectively.

The only exception to this rule is if you sleep on your side without tossing and turning. The compression garment you must wear when you sleep will support your healing breasts and protect your incisions from being rubbed accidentally. To keep yourself from tossing and turning at night, sleep in a recliner or build a “fort” of pillows or towels around you.

What to Wear to Bed

Depending on the size of the implants removed, you may be given a compression bandage or compression bra to wear for the one to two weeks following your procedure. A compression bra is required if you had small implants removed and small incisions. A compression bandage is required if you had large implants removed and large incisions need to heal.

It is absolutely crucial that you wear your compression bandage or compression bra to bed for the first week or two post-op. The compression limits your range of motion so you don’t accidentally injure the incision points as they are trying to heal. The only time your compression garment should not be worn is when you are bathing.

How Much Sleep to Get

Depending on the type of job you have, you may need to take between one and two weeks off from work. During this time, sleep as much as you need to. Your entire focus should be on resting and recovering, so feel free to take cat-naps throughout the day if you are feeling drowsy. If you feel alert and well-rested during the day, there’s no need to nap.

Getting enough uninterrupted sleep during your recovery period is crucial because your body does most of its healing during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of your sleep cycle. Unfortunately, the cycles start over when you wake up, so if you wake up right before your REM phase, your brain will start you from the first phase when you fall back asleep.

How to Sleep Soundly Through the Night

If you have trouble sleeping through the night, we highly recommend that you develop a regular sleep routine in the weeks leading up to your procedure. Having a routine that is conducive to good sleep hygiene will make resting far easier when your body is stressed after your procedure.

Good habits to build for good sleep hygiene include eliminating blue light an hour before bed, only using your bed for sleep or sex, going to bed at the same time each night, turning off all lights, and keeping your cell phone in a different room. It’s okay if not all of these habits work for you. As long as the routine you’re building doesn’t impede sleep quality, you’ll be glad you took the time to develop a few healthy habits.

Other Tips for a Quick Recovery From Explant Surgery

What to Eat

During the first week or two post-op, you may choose to take prescription analgesics to ensure your comfort during your recovery period. Among the potential side effects of such analgesics is constipation, so you should make a concerted effort to eat foods high in fiber, such as nuts and legumes. Getting plenty of soluble fiber will ensure that you feel no ill side effects of narcotics, like cramping, bloating, or discomfort caused by constipation.

You should also make an effort to eat lots of vibrant fruits and dark vegetables to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your skin needs to heal quickly. If you’re having trouble eating enough fruits and vegetables to get your RDA of all essential micronutrients, it’s okay to take a nutritional supplement. While nutritional supplements aren’t as bioavailable as natural foods, they will help.

How Much Protein to Eat

During your explant surgery recovery process, you should be eating between 0.5 and 0.9 grams of protein per pound of your bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should eat between 60 and 108 grams (or 240 to 432 calories worth) of protein per day.

If eating enough protein for your body weight makes you feel too full, it’s okay to drink protein shakes or eat protein bars. The important thing is that you’re getting enough bioavailable protein in your post-op diet to support collagen health and speed your recovery.

What to Avoid

During the first two weeks after your procedure, it’s important to avoid anything that can elevate your blood pressure. During your initial consultation and after your procedure, Dr. Nir will review all of these with you. The most notable things you should avoid are alcohol, tobacco products, excessive sodium, excessive caffeine, and excessive heat.


While you may think that alcohol is the perfect way to relax after your procedure, you should avoid imbibing for the first 14 days following your procedure. Hard liquor, including whiskey and vodka, are particularly bad and should be consumed under no circumstances. Even if you are adequately hydrated before you consume such drinks, your blood pressure will rise, and it may rise to an unhealthy level.

The only exception to the rule of not drinking alcohol is wine. Red wine is scientifically proven to be healthy for your heart when consumed in moderation and can even help to lower your blood pressure. If you choose to drink, make sure you drink no more than one serving of wine daily and drink at least eight ounces of water before and after imbibing. Furthermore, you must be certain that you have hit at least your RDA of micronutrients.

Tobacco Products

You must not consume any tobacco products within the first two weeks following your procedure. Any product that contains nicotine, including dip, cigars, cigarettes, cigarillos, and e-cigarettes, will slow your recovery process drastically. You must also avoid smoking cessation devices that contain nicotine, including gum and patches. Nicotine damages your collagen severely, impeding your skin’s healing process.

You must also refrain from consuming nicotine during the two weeks leading up to your procedure to ensure that your blood pressure is within a healthy range. We recommend quitting a few months before your procedure. While physical withdrawal only lasts 72 hours, there are still psychological cravings. If you’ve tried and failed to quit in the past, try consuming CBD oil to kick your cravings, manage your emotions, curb your appetite, and help you sleep.

Excessive Sodium

Some sodium is an important part of a healthy diet. When consumed in reasonable amounts, it helps to regulate urine output. This is important because excessive urination leads to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies as unused micronutrients are flushed out along with the urine. However, too much of anything can be bad.

The appropriate amount of sodium for you depends on the level of blood pressure that is normal for you. If you have naturally low blood pressure, do not consume over three grams of sodium daily. If your blood pressure is naturally normal, consume no more than two grams of sodium daily. Finally, if you have naturally high blood pressure, make sure you don’t eat over 1,000 milligrams of sodium per day.

Excessive Caffeine

Like sodium, a moderate amount of caffeine is perfectly safe and even has health benefits. However, too much caffeine can cause nasty side effects, including high blood pressure. If your blood pressure naturally falls within the normal range, you can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily. If you have high blood pressure, do not consume over 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.

It’s important to note that you must count caffeine from all sources, not just your coffee and energy drinks. For example, dark chocolate contains a significant amount of caffeine in it, and many painkillers contain 65 milligrams of caffeine per dose.

Excessive Heat

The last thing you should be very careful to avoid to keep your blood pressure within a normal range is excessive heat. It’s safe to walk from your car to your home. However, you don’t want to be sunbathing, riding your bike, taking a steaming hot shower, or eating a steaming hot bowl of soup. If you feel like you’re about to start sweating, your blood pressure may be too high already. Make a point to cool off.

How Long to Avoid Exercise

You must avoid strenuous exercise for the first six weeks after your procedure. Strenuous exercise is defined as exercise that is so vigorous you cannot hold a conversation or sing while performing the activity. Examples of such exercises include sprinting, high-intensity interval training, cycling up hills, swimming, and indoor rowing. You must also avoid lifting anything over 11 pounds.

If you can’t imagine several weeks without exercise, Dr. Nir will discuss with you how you can engage in mild-to-moderate physical activity to keep you from boredom without impeding your recovery process. In fact, walking is encouraged as it supports a strong, healthy circulatory system that is crucial for a rapid recovery.

How Far to Walk During Your Recovery Process

During the first 24 hours after your procedure, unless you received twilight anesthesia and remained awake but calm, you will probably feel drowsy. You don’t need to worry about walking for exercise within those first 24 hours. However, after the first 24 hours post-op, you should walk as much as you comfortably can.

For example, if you can only walk from your bedroom to your living room, that’s fine. Do that, rest for a few minutes, and walk back to your bedroom. Do this several times throughout the day and make sure you’re getting in 30 minutes of walking to support your circulatory system. Everyone recovers at a different rate, but you should be back to walking miles with no trouble within three to five days post-op. Just remember to not exert yourself too much.

Learn More About a Successful Recovery Today

Recovery from explant surgery isn’t daunting if you follow all post-op care instructions. If you have any questions about how to prepare for your explant surgery recovery process, or if you have any questions during your explant surgery recovery process, feel free to contact us right away at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL to schedule an appointment.


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