Cosmetic Surgery Tips

1 day post op breast augmentation pain

It’s normal to feel some pain after breast augmentation surgery, but it should be minimal and short-lived. If you’re experiencing more pain than expected, or if your pain lasts longer than a few days, here are some things to keep in mind:

-It’s important to note that the amount of pain you experience will depend on what type of surgery you have. For example, if you have implants placed through an incision under your breast tissue, you may experience more discomfort than someone who has implants placed through an incision around the areola (nipple).

-Breast augmentation can cause swelling in the area around your nipple and areola. The swelling may make it more difficult for the surgeon to get an accurate measurement of how much skin needs to be removed from your chest wall so that he can place implants under your muscle. The amount of swelling can vary from person to person.

-Breast augmentation is major surgery, so there are always going to be some risks involved with anesthesia and other medications used during recovery. Your doctor will explain these risks before surgery begins so that you know what to expect afterward as well as beforehand – including possible side effects such as nausea or headaches which could lead up

1 day post op breast augmentation pain

The breast implants recovery stages involve some pain, although it is generally “manageable” with the right pain management treatment. The first 2-3 days require the vast majority of medications, particularly those used to control post-op discomfort.

Instead of relying solely on narcotics to control pain during the first few days of recovery, some surgeons recommend pain pumps or pain injections for additional comfort.

Pain pumps resemble a small balloon that carries numbing medications, which slowly “drip” through a catheter and into the breast area for 2-3 days when pain management system is the most needed.

However, some plastic surgery experts prefer pain injections (e.g., Exparel) at the very end of surgery. Pain medications whose effects can last up to 14 hours are directly injected into the implant pocket without the “inconvenience” of carrying pain pumps.

About 3-7 days after surgery most patients are off their strong pain medications, particularly narcotics. Ideally these drugs should be discontinued once postop discomfort becomes more “manageable” or more tolerable since their prolonged use is linked to constipation, lethargy, and even longer recovery.

Should the patients wish to continue their pain medications after 5-7 days, most are advised to shift to non-narcotics such as Tylenol.

Instead of actual pain, some patients have more “issue” about the tightness and cramping that may not just affect the breast area, but the shoulders, neck, and back as well. These symptoms are generally controlled by muscle relaxants such as Valium, although these should not be taken together with painkillers—at least taken one hour apart—to avoid lethargy and drowsiness.

Most patients can return to their desk-job work 5-7 days after surgery, although it remains in their best interest to avoid rigorous workout, particularly if it involves the upper extremity, for at least three weeks. Nevertheless, light exercise such as 3-5 short walks throughout the day is highly ideal to improve healing.

While pain in the breast area generally dissipates just after a few days, it is not uncommon to experience some level of pain in the back and shoulders. Doctors attribute this to the sudden change in the body mass, and possibly the patient’s tendency to hunch forward her shoulders to “protect” her breasts. However, light stretching and postural awareness are usually enough to address these issues.

The breast implants recovery stages may differ from patient to patient, thus it is critical to stick to one’s doctor’s specific recommendations.

Pain and discomfort are common after breast augmentation surgery. Recovery from breast augmentation typically takes a little over a month. During that time, you may feel tired and sore and experience bruising. However, these symptoms will fade over time.

Sharp, shooting pains, and other discomforts in the breast are also common following surgery.1 The good news is that you can control most of your discomfort with the medication your doctor prescribes for you.

Doctor examining bandaged woman
B2M Productions / Photodisc / Getty Images

This article explains what you need to know about the pain you experience after breast augmentation surgery and what you can do about it.

First Week

Immediately after surgery, the nurse will bring you to a recovery room, where you will rest until anesthesia wears off. You will probably feel significant pain when you wake. Your doctor will help you manage any pain you experience with medication.

In the first week, you can expect to experience the following:

  • Lots of soreness
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

These symptoms will fade over time. Be sure to have a trusted friend or family member with you during recovery. This support is vital in the hospital and in the first few days at home.

After the first few days, your pain will likely decrease significantly. After about a week, your surgeon may clear you to return to everyday activities.

Avoid Strenuous Activities

In the first week, it is essential to avoid doing anything strenuous. In addition, refrain from lifting your hands over your head since this can cause pain and bleeding. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on limitations and pain management.

First Month

After a few weeks, you may not notice any pain or discomfort. In addition, swelling and bruising usually diminish.

That said, everybody is different and recovers at different speeds. So, you may still see some bruising, especially if you had complications.

Full recovery typically takes four to six weeks. That means some people will fully recover at the one-month mark, while others may still need a couple of weeks to feel back to themselves.

Some things may impact your recovery:

  • The size of your implants: The larger your implants, the more pain you will have after your surgery. Lighter-weight implants are generally associated with less pain.1
  • The position of your implants: Implants placed underneath the pectoral (chest) muscles tend to hurt more post-surgery. This increased pain is because the tissue is experiencing more trauma. The less the tissues are traumatized, and the less bleeding there is the better your post-op pain level.
  • You’ve previously given birth: Some surgeons report that people who have given birth tend to have less pain.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Breast Implant Reconstruction?

Second Month

After about a month, most people will experience a full recovery. At this time, with your doctor’s approval, you will likely be able to resume your everyday activities without restrictions.

Your breasts will also have a more natural appearance and feel. You will likely have an appointment with your surgeon to assess your recovery.

Medical experts note that people who have been through childbirth compare post-augmentation to the breast engorgement that new parents experience after having a baby.Getting Bigger Breasts Without Implants With Autologous Augmentation


As with any surgery, breast augmentation may result in complications. These may include:

  • Excessive scarring
  • Hard breasts
  • Ruptured or folded implant
  • Nerve damage
  • Inability to breastfeed

When To Call the Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you notice any signs of a blood clot, excessive bleeding, or infection. These warning signs may include:

  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

For Patients: Understanding the Risks of Having Surgery

Recovery Tips

Most likely, your surgeon will prescribe medication to help you manage your pain. If you are not getting adequate relief from the prescribed medication, it may indicate that you need to see your surgeon. They may offer a device that automatically delivers numbing medication to the area for two to three days when you need it most.2

Here are some post-surgery tips for staying comfortable:

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Avoid lifting or straining for two to three weeks.
  • If your stomach is upset, eat bland foods.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take all prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medications according to your doctor’s instructions.
  • Ask your doctor if mild exercise, like walking, is OK.
  • Ask your doctor before doing stretching exercises (they may suggest some for you to do).
  • Ice your breasts for 10-20 minutes every couple of hours for the first few days.
  • Support your breasts with a surgical bra or bandage.

According to a scientific review, people who had their implants placed underneath the chest wall and then received Botox injections during or after the surgery experienced less pain.3 However, the review only looked at seven studies, and the authors state that the assessment of outcomes for this practice is inconsistent and needs more study.


Most people manage pain after breast augmentation surgery with medication, rest, and activity restriction. Usually, people fully recover after about a month, but it could take a little longer.

As with any surgery, breast augmentation holds certain risks. Complications may include nerve damage, scarring, infection, and blood clots. You should contact your doctor right away if you notice any warning signs of infection or bleeding. You can stay comfortable by taking your medication as prescribed, getting adequate rest, staying hydrated, icing, and supporting your breasts.

what to expect after breast augmentation day by day

Small or large, round or narrow, side set, teardrop or asymmetrical, breasts come in any number of shapes and sizes. But for those who aren’t happy with the breasts they were naturally dealt, breast augmentation has long offered an opportunity to change them.

As one of the most consistently popular cosmetic procedures of recent decades, breast augmentation has come a long way since the experimental surgeries of the early 20th century and since the advent of breast implants in 1961. The operation is among the most recognizable examples of plastic surgery and has come to play a pivotal role in shaping the cultural understanding of the space for many years. Yet, even as roughly 200,000 Americans underwent breast augmentation in 2020 alone, confusion persists around its recovery process, and many patients remain unsure of what to expect after the procedure.

How long does recovery take following breast augmentation?

While recovery time can greatly differ depending on the specifics of your procedure, your health, and after-care, there is a general timeline that often rings true for breast augmentation.

“Depending on the technique used, recovery can be three weeks (with subglandular augmentation, my preference) or three months (with submuscular technique, which is much more painful and involves cutting your pectoralis major muscles and stretching them over an implant),” explains Karen Horton, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco and ASPS member.

Is there anything you should avoid before surgery to minimize recovery time?

Contrary to popular belief, recovery actually starts before you even have your breast augmentation. Although patients aren’t at all limited in their physical activity in the days and weeks leading up to the surgery, there are certain medications and supplements that should be avoided.

“The main offenders for increasing bleeding and bruising with surgery are anti-inflammatories,” Dr. Horton says, referring to aspirin, ibuprofen, and the like. There are also a number of vitamins and supplements, like vitamin E, fish oil, ginkgo biloba, and garlic, that you should avoid for two weeks before (and after) surgery. “In concentrated forms, they can increase bleeding in some studies.”

What is the first week of recovery like?

As with any surgery, breast augmentation carries different points of recovery in the days, weeks, and months that follow. Immediately following the operation, rest and icing will be top priority.

“Ice is your best friend in terms of keeping swelling down and helping to control the pain, and that’s the process I do with my patients now,” says Anureet Bajaj, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and an ASPS member.

Drains can significantly speed up recovery time, as they remove wound fluid rather than forcing the body to absorb it, but in most breast augmentation surgeries, they are not needed.

“After a breast augmentation, most women don’t have any drains, and the incisions are all healed,” says Dr. Bajaj. “So, theoretically, there shouldn’t be a whole lot to deal with.” The one thing that may come up, however, is itchiness around the incisions during the first 24 to 48

And although it’s natural to think of bedrest as necessary in the first few days following surgery, Dr. Bajaj says this is not actually the best course of action after breast augmentation.

“I think the conception of being bed-ridden or on bed rest can be misleading because you really want to be up and about and walking,” she notes. “It makes you feel better because it keeps the blood moving. The more sedentary and stiffer you are, the more you almost freeze up, and the more painful it is.”

It may sound ambitious, but according to Dr. Bajaj, it should only take between three to five days to get past this first stage of recovery.

“Typically, with breast augmentation, most people should be able to glide within three to five days. And if you have a desk job, you should be able to go back to work within three to five days,” she says. “So, if things are done appropriately, it’s very reasonable to be able to do that.”

To be on the safe side, though, it may be wise to plan for up to a week.

“I recommend one week off of work for subglandular augmentation and longer if the muscles were operated on (i.e. revision surgery) or if the patient has a physically demanding job (firefighter, police officer, nurse, surgeon),” Dr. Horton advises.

How much pain can you expect?

The pain experienced after breast augmentation is subjective and will depend on a variety of factors, but it can be helpful to have a rough idea of what to expect.

“From what I remember, the pain and discomfort wasn’t like a sharp pain,” Dr. Bajaj recalls of her own breast augmentation. “I remember feeling like I had done 150 pushups and that my chest was just really sore. To me, it felt like muscle soreness after the biggest workout of your life, and that’s how I describe it to my patients.” She warns her patients that they will feel especially sore the morning after the operation and that when they first wake up, they aren’t going to want to move.

Many women who’ve undergone breast augmentation also report feeling some muscle soreness whenever they move or raise their arms in the days after surgery. “Your pectoralis is connected to your humorous, so any time you move your arm, you may feel some soreness in your chest,” says Dr. Bajaj. You also may experience a burning sensation around incisions in the immediate aftermath, but this should subside fairly quickly.

When can you return to normal activity?

It takes only about a week to heal enough from surgery to return to work (if an office job) and most activity, but there are certain things, namely exercise, that require waiting a bit longer.

“I usually tell patients they can start working out at about three weeks post-op, and that means legs and arms but no chest,” Dr. Bajaj explains. “I remember the first time I went running again, it was about two weeks after surgery, and I felt like my breasts were going to fall off my chest. So, I tell my patients that when they first start doing any type of cardio that’s really bouncy, that’s what it will feel like, and they might want to wear two bras.”

And although you may be super excited to show off your new breasts in a cute bra, you will be somewhat limited on the type.

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