Hi, I’m [name], and I’m a certified nurse practitioner. In this blog, I’ll be discussing the benefits of breast augmentation surgery, as well as answering some commonly asked questions about the procedure.
- What is breast augmentation surgery?
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that uses breast implants to change the size and shape of your breasts. The implants can be made of either saline (saltwater) or silicone gel.
- How long does it take to recover from breast augmentation surgery?
The recovery process takes anywhere from three weeks to six months depending on your body’s reaction to the procedure and how well you follow your doctor’s instructions during recovery. You should expect soreness around your incision sites for several weeks after surgery, which may limit your ability to engage in certain activities like running or lifting weights until the pain subsides.
- What are the risks associated with breast augmentation?
There are many possible complications associated with breast augmentation surgery including bleeding, infection, implant rupture or leakage, loss of sensation in nipples or breasts (due to nerve damage), migration of
1 week post breast augmentation
At Cruise Plastic Surgery, we know how important it is to understand what to expect when recovering from breast augmentation surgery. It can be overwhelming to think about recovering from surgery and all the steps you’ll need to take. Conversely, it can be easy to simply focus on your results and gloss over the important recovery process.
For these reasons, it’s important to spend time learning about your recovery and the different phases that come in the weeks after breast augmentation. This not only allows you to properly plan your schedule, but also helps prevent surprises and unnecessary stress. Here’s what to know about your breast augmentation recovery timeline.
Breast Implant Recovery Timeline
It can be helpful to know what to expect after your procedure, but it can be difficult to find specific information about the weeks and months after breast augmentation. The more you know about your recovery schedule, the more you can plan accordingly.
Take a look at our healing progression timeline with breast augmentation recovery photos showing you a typical breast augmentation healing process.
Below you will find more information about what can typically be expected following breast augmentation surgery.
1 Day After Surgery
- Implants look high and compressed
- Breasts are very firm and tight
- Nipples will most likely appear very low and may point downward
- There will be very little side rounding or bottom breast rounding
- This is typically the phase where breasts look like pecs. This means they are squared at the top, don’t show much outward projection, and have little to no fullness at the bottom
- Breastbone is swollen
- Breasts have mild to moderate bruising
- Necessary to wear a non-support athletic bra 24/7, except while showering
- Dr. Cruise will prescribe pain medication to reduce discomfort during this time
1 week after breast augmentation
- Implants will still be high and compressed, but may have a little more projection
- Breast tissue will still be firm and tight
- Nipples will still appear low
- Breasts will have slightly more bottom rounding and still no side rounding
- Swelling on the breastbone should be mild or nonexistent
- Bruising will be mild or nonexistent
- Breasts will still resemble pecs more than natural breasts
- You can begin sleeping flat on your back but not on your sides yet
- You may start feeling an itching or burning sensation— this is normal
- You may begin walking (even brisk walks) as early as a couple of days after surgery. Be sure to monitor for increased pain and swelling. If this happens, give yourself more time to heal and try again in a few days or so.
2-3 weeks after breast augmentation
- Implants will still be high, but will start to become less compressed
- Breasts are still firm, but not quite as tight
- Natural scar tissue has almost fully formed around the capsule
- Nipples may still be low, but will start to elevate upwards
- Bottom rounding is becoming more pronounced, but the breasts are still much more rounded at the top
- Very little side rounding, if any yet
- Bruising is typically gone
- You may notice more shooting pains and itching
- You may notice one breast dropping faster than the other breast. Asymmetry issues may be obvious, but this is normal
- Your implants may begin dropping at this point, but this varies by patient
- You will start being evaluated for bra management
- You may begin additional physical activity. Biking, walking, and lower body workouts are acceptable, but without bouncing. Stop if your normal activities become painful or increase swelling in your breasts
6 weeks after breast augmentation
- Your enhanced breast size looks more natural and is taking on a more attractive appearance
- Breasts are starting to soften, but could still be firm on the sides
- Nipples are rising slowly to the center of the breasts. They may not be perfect at this stage, but should have good improvement.
- Side breast rounding is slowly beginning, but is not pronounced
- Shooting pains may still be present, but are less frequent
- Muscle aches may occur as you reengage chest and shoulder muscles
- One breast could still appear higher than the other. Asymmetry is normal.
- You will again be evaluated for bra management at each appointment with Dr. Cruise
- It’s okay to sleep on your side, but stomach sleeping is not recommended
- You will most likely be able to comfortably wear a bathing suit or strapless dress
- Incisions should be completely closed. If so, you can go into the water fully submerged. Make sure the incisions have been closed for a minimum of 1 week.
8-9 weeks after breast augmentation
- Breasts are looking much better, but will likely not be 100%
- Breasts are softer than before, but may still need more time to settle
- Nipples are in a good position, but may still be slightly low and uneven from side to side
- Side rounding becomes more pronounced at each visit
- Bottom rounding fills in and becomes more pronounced
- Bra management will be evaluated at each appointment
- One breast may still be slightly higher than the other, but should be slowly improving
- Depending on how you are healing, you may be cleared to increase your physical activity to include running, high impact activities, and upper body work outs. Ask Dr. Cruise for specific surgeon’s instructions.
12 weeks after breast augmentation
- Breasts will have a nice, attractive shape. You may be almost completely healed at this point. However, some patients may still need a month or two for further softening and implant dropping.
- Breasts continue to soften, and swelling is almost gone
- Nipples should be almost centered, if not already
- Side rounding is good, but may not be perfect depending on your muscles and tissues. Some patients round over a 6-month period.
- Bottom rounding is much more noticeable, but will continue to improve
- Surgical tape is no longer needed on incisions. You can begin Scarless scar gel treatment
- Upper body workouts and running are now okay. Heavy lifting may be acceptable as well. Be sure to wear a fitted sports bra with support.
- Bra management evaluation continues
6 months after breast augmentation
- Breasts will be in optimal position
- Breasts will be much softer to the touch
- Side and bottom rounding have good definition
- Continue to use Scarless scar gel on incisions, if needed
- Underwire bras are recommended for most patients at this point
- Fitted support athletic bra will still be recommended during high-impact activity
When Should I Schedule My Breast Augmentation?
This breast augmentation timeline can help you make an informed decision about when to have surgery. All of these factors should be taken into consideration when making plans, and it can be helpful to think about what works best for you, as well as for anyone who will be helping you during the healing process. This can help you plan the ideal time for your breast augmentation and recovery.
There are many important factors that go into choosing when to have breast augmentation. Timing is just one of them. Here is a brief list of things you’ll want to take into consideration when planning for breast augmentation:
- If you work, how much time can you take off? Is there a better time of year to take off than another?
- What type of work do you do (desk job or something more physical)? This will be a factor when determining when you will be ready to go back to work.
- Is there someone available to help you the first few days after surgery and do they need to take time off work?
- Are you trying to have breast augmentation in time for a big event (i.e. wedding, vacation, reunion, etc.)? If this is the case, give yourself more time rather than less time to recover. If you plan to wear a strapless dress or clothing that is revealing, 6 weeks is likely the earliest you will look acceptable, but 3-4 months is optimal.
- Do you want to have surgery before summer arrives? Most patients choose to have surgery at the beginning of summertime, but they don’t realize that they need to start planning months in advance. Winter or early spring is the best time to have breast augmentation if you want to be completely healed and bikini-ready by summer.
The Importance of Breast Augmentation Consultations
Dr. Cruise can discuss all the relevant factors at length during your initial consultation so you understand your timeline and plans for recovery. He can also answer important questions about how long until the swelling goes down after breast augmentation, when you can return to your normal schedule, and how long you can expect to take off work after breast augmentation.
It’s important to be honest about your lifestyle and the effects that surgery might have on it since you’ll need to make significant changes to your daily routine for an extended period of time.
one week post op breast augmentation pictures
Breast Augmentation Recovery Visualized
The recovery from breast augmentation surgery is multi-faceted. While most of the physical and emotional recovery occurs within 1-2 weeks after surgery, the recovery of the augmented breasts to their final appearance usually takes several months.
Swelling After Breast Augmentation
The first phase of recovery is the resolution of swelling. You can expect for your breasts to be very swollen for 4 weeks after surgery. Usually most the swelling is at the upper part of the breasts due to edema of the pectoralis major muscle. In addition to swelling, the breasts also usually look very full on top because the implants are typically in a high position on the chest immediately after surgery. It can take weeks, or sometimes even months, for the implants to settle, or “drop” into the desired position.
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Tissue Stretching After Breast Augmentation
For the breasts to look and feel soft and natural, the skin and soft tissue must stretch. This process of tissue expansion can last several months. Each woman’s recovery is different. In patients with tight and small breasts, the recovery will likely take several months before the desired results are realized.
In patients with looser and larger breasts (especially women that have had children), the breasts can be nearly recovered and look nice within 6-8 weeks after surgery.
Photo Series Following Breast Augmentation
Below, we provide a series of photos showing the recovery of the breasts after augmentation surgery. This is a patient with very tight breasts, so the post-operative swelling and high position of the implants are extreme. Most of our patients look much more natural early after surgery.