Welcome to our blog on post-operative breast augmentation. We know that you’re probably here because you’re thinking about getting breast augmentation, or maybe you’re already a patient of ours! Either way, we wanted to take some time to talk about what happens after surgery, how long it takes to heal, and how long it will be before you can get back to your normal activities.
We’ve seen it all, from patients who are so excited they can’t wait for the swelling to go down and others who are so worried they won’t be able to enjoy their new look. The truth is that there’s no one right answer for everyone—everyone heals at a different rate and has different needs. Our goal is always to help each individual patient find the best fit for her situation so that she feels empowered in her body and ready for anything life throws at her.
3 day post op breast augmentation
With all the research and planning leading to your decision to get “new breasts,” you may not have thought about what comes after breast augmentation surgery – other than your fabulous new breasts (and possibly a new wardrobe).
But surgery, no matter how safe or simple, requires recovery. So what should you expect in the days and weeks following your breast augmentation surgery?
After Breast Augmentation: The First Day
Breast augmentation surgery is an outpatient surgery, most frequently performed under general anesthesia. The surgery typically lasts between one and two hours. After surgery, you will spend another one to two hours in recovery to insure you are comfortable, any nausea is under control, and you are adequately awake and alert before you are discharged. You won’t be allowed to drive so be sure you’ve arranged for someone to take you home.
Your incisions will be covered by a small amount of gauze, and a post-operative bra will have been put on you after surgery. Dr. Slack will provide instructions on how to care for your incisions that day and in the coming weeks. Follow these instructions precisely for the best healing and minimal scarring. Most patients will be given a prescription for narcotic pain medications to get you through the first few days.
Your task this first day is simply to rest. It may seem like surgery was “done to you,” but the minute an incision was made for your breast augmentation, your body became an active participant. It immediately got to work to help you heal from the process. So rest and let it do its thing.
After Breast Augmentation: The First Week
Again, your body is hard at work healing your surgical incisions. You should use this week to rest and eat well so your body can recover. Plan on taking at least a few days off from work to relax at home. Avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting. If you educate yourself on what to expect after surgery and prepare a little ahead of time, you won’t be caught off guard or be tempted to overdo it.
During breast augmentation surgery, the surgeon makes incisions in skin and muscle. This will cause discomfort, especially in the first few days. You may find that certain movements, particularly pushing and pulling with your arms, make the pain worse. You will be given an adequate supply of pain medication for the first three to five days. Don’t be afraid to use this medication as your surgeon has prescribed it to stay ahead of your pain rather than letting it build up. During this first week let your body heal by using your pain medication and avoiding lifting, pushing, or pulling.
In addition, your breasts will look swollen and feel tight. This typically worsens over the first 2-3 days, stabilizes and then starts to go down between the 1st and 2nd week after surgery. Most of the swelling will be gone by 2 months. You may also feel a squishing sensation or hear a squeaking sound coming from your breasts during that first week. This is completely normal. It’s due to a small amount of fluid around the implant that is typically absorbed by the body during the first week.
Once you start feeling less discomfort, your doctor will likely have you switch to an over-the-counter pain medication like Motrin.
After Breast Augmentation: The First Month
Toward the end of that first week, you should start to feel more like yourself again. Your surgeon will probably clear you to drive and get back to work soon
However, if your job is physical or requires much lifting, you may need a longer period of time before returning to your full workload. You may be tempted to push this, but remember that it is better to be cautious so you can avoid complications and your body can heal beautifully.
During this time, don’t use any bra with underwire. Use the soft undergarments recommended by your surgeon. You don’t want to do anything that will interfere with healing. Tight, ill-fitting, and underwire bras can do just that.
Toward the end of the month, your surgeon will let you know when it is okay to begin low impact exercise. You should be able to build up to your normal routine slowly in the weeks that follow.
After Breast Augmentation: The First Year
By the end of the first month, the swelling becomes less noticeable and the incisions should be healed. However, a small amount of swelling will remain for several months. For this reason, it’s a good idea to hold off on spending a lot of money on new bras or swimsuits until 2 months after surgery. Bras can be expensive and you don’t want to invest in something that won’t fit the same way in a matter of months.
In addition, scars will continue to change throughout the next year and a half. In fact, you may find that your scars look worse before they look better. Know that it can take 12 to 18 months for scars to take on their final appearance. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s regimen for caring for your incisions and scars to minimize their appearance and get the best results.
It’s also important to note that it may take a good part of this first year before your new breasts feel like your breasts. At first they may feel unfamiliar and foreign, but over the coming months they will gradually become part of your body image.
The year following your surgery is a year of healing and change for your new breasts. Preparing yourself ahead of time for what to expect during this “transition” year is important. Equally important is a plastic surgeon you feel comfortable calling if things aren’t going as you expect.
breast augmentation recovery tips
Recovery after Breast Augmentation Surgery
Posted on February 24, 2021 Dr Craig Rubinstein – MBBS, FRACS (Plast) – MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
Normal Recovery after Breast Surgery – What to expect and watch out for
What is normal and what is not after Breast Surgery
So what’s it like during recovery after breast augmentation? That’s a good question to ask during your research into Breast Augmentation surgery.
Knowing what to expect after breast surgery, as well as, understanding that your surgery and recovery experiences will vary from other patients helps you better prepare for the experience of getting implants. The key thing to remember is to check with your Surgeon and Patient Care Team if you have any questions or concerns during your recovery period. Plus, be sure you read all the materials given to you prior to having your procedure.
Download the Breast Augmentation Surgery Guide
Top 6 Do’s and Dont’s that will help recovery following Breast Augmentation surgery
This may also apply to other breast procedures, but this general information only. It is not meant to replace advice from your Surgeon or Medical Care Coordinators.
1. DO TAKE IT EASY AFTER YOUR SURGICAL OPERATION
Relax and let your body heal.
- The more you rest in the first 2 weeks, the quicker you will tend to recover and heal.
- Avoid strenuous exercise, for at least a few weeks after your breast augmentation surgery. Make sure you get your Surgeons all clear before you resume exercise.
- Listen to your body – don’t overdo it or you could compromise your results!
- Gradually increase your level of activity. Be sure to ask your Surgeon when they believe you’re ready to resume your workouts or daily activities.
- If it hurts or causes pain, STOP and consult your Surgeon.
- Please speak to our medical coordinators about what level of gentle exercise you can start with.
2. DON’T IGNORE FEELINGS OF PAIN AND NAUSEA AFTER SURGERY.
Nausea and pain are closely linked post-breast augmentation surgery, and your recovery will be smoother if you manage both well. Always speak to your Surgeon about this to see what is specifically recommended for you. Of course, extreme pain and nausea can be a warning sign. So, always keep your medical team in the loop and seek immediate medical attention if you or your care team is concerned.
3. DO FOLLOW OUR GUIDELINES FOR CARING FOR YOUR WOUNDS.
- Depending on the surgery you have had, you will have an incision that will need to be cared for.
- For the first week, all dressings remain intact.
- We will then take them off and check your wounds at the one-week postoperative appointment.
- Then we will guide you on how to manage and care for these wounds.
- Following instructions is important in order to get the best healing outcome and scar result.
4. DON’T WEAR YOUR REGULAR BRAS AFTER YOU GET IMPLANTS OR A BREAST LIFT. WEAR A SPORTS BRA ALL THE TIME!
Your new chest needs different support as you recover from your surgical procedure, and from the point of surgery forward to best maintain your breast enlargement results over time.
- Our surgeons will recommend special medical garments for you to wear that will; speed recovery time, reduce swelling and help make you more comfortable as you heal.
- It is important you wear the garments we provide. DO NOT wear underwire bras for the first 12 weeks.
- Wear a sports bra all the time to keep your breasts supported for the best long-term breast augmentation surgery results.
- For special occasions, you can wear a fancier bra or lingerie – but think SUPPORT, SUPPORT, SUPPORT!
- Follow your Surgeon’s instructions for caring for your ‘new’ breasts after breast augmentation surgery.
5. DO EAT A BALANCED DIET AND DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS.
- Nutrition is crucial to good healing and a quick recovery.
- A balanced diet with plenty of fluids is the key.
- Zinc may also be important during your healing.
- Be sure to get your Zinc levels tested if you think you’re low on this important trace element.
- There are also some special mineral and vitamin supplements that have proven benefits to recover from surgery and other experiences which impact the body.
6. DO EXPECT PREGNANCY, BREASTFEEDING OR WEIGHT CHANGES TO IMPACT YOUR BREAST SURGERY RESULTS
Also, be sure you ask about factors that often have significant impacts on the longevity of your results. If you; get pregnant, breastfeed, lose or gain a lot of weight, don’t wear the right support bras or go through other significant events your results are very likely to change over time.
We can give you advice on how to best maintain your new breasts after surgery, but only you have control over the day-to-day and year-to-year choices. Your choices can significantly impact the longevity of your results and your satisfaction with your results over time.
Our reminder: Be sure you wear a great support bra at all times after your breast enhancement surgery – especially if you’re doing any high-impact activities.
Don’t get back on the horse too soon after your breast augmentation surgery. Be sure to ask your Surgeon when it’s appropriate for you to get back into your favourite exercises, fitness classes and sporting competitions. Furthermore, follow your Surgeon’s post-op care instructions. By following instructions exactly through your recovery period you have the best chance for a great outcome and minimal complications.
Tips for Recovery After Breast Augmentation
Reading and asking questions help you know what’s likely to be a normal recovery response and what’s not.
- Remember, identifying a potential concern or surgery complication EARLY is crucial to successful treatment.
- Ask questions BEFORE and AFTER Surgery and follow your Surgeon’s post-op instructions precisely.
- Don’t delay in seeking medical attention if you feel you need assistance.
- As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry” so DO contact your Surgeon immediately if you have any concerns.
- Choose your Surgeon carefully
- Breast augmentation surgery remains one of the most frequently requested cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.
- It is considered to be a well-tolerated surgical procedure in healthy patients with no contraindications. But, the skill and expertise of your Surgeon and what you do in the post-op period ALL count towards having a positive experience and a pleasing result.
- However, all surgery has risks and it’s important to know what’s normal or not normal.
- You need to have an understanding of what symptoms or healing responses might need additional treatment. You need to understand what to look out for in case of; wound infection/wound breakdown, or a hematoma (bleeding under the skin) after surgery.
Finding out about recovery after breast augmentation surgery may help you better prepare for your surgery experience and your post-op period.
- Remember, however, that everyone is unique when it comes to recovery after breast augmentation surgery.
- Your surgery and recovery experience can vary tremendously from another patient’s experiences or results.
- DO expect a degree of variability. You’re an individual and will have a UNIQUE experience.
- Be sure you DO your reading/homework.
- Feel free to ask your Surgeon and Surgery team any and all questions you have about your procedure, healing time and recovery. It’s important you ask these questions before surgery, as well as after surgery so you know what to expect.
Normal Pain after Breast Augmentation Surgery
- There’s a lot your Surgeon can do to minimise any post-surgical pain. However, having manageable discomfort and disrupted sleep for a few days or weeks after your breast surgery is usually common/normal. Read our blog on How to Sleep Better After Breast Surgery.
- Recognise that SOME patients feel a lot of discomfort whilst others will hardly feel any. This partially depends on your genetics and your individual responses to discomfort, and partially on pain management strategies.
- Severe pain, redness/heat and extreme swelling or bruising will need immediate investigation; as will any other symptom that has you feeling concerned.
- Some patients may have unexpected complications which can delay healing and recovery or lead to re-operation.
- Be sure you choose your Surgeon carefully so that you know you’re in good hands throughout the surgery AND during your early recovery process.
BREAST SURGERY RECOVERY: PATIENT SAFETY IS OUR FIRST PRIORITY – IT SHOULD BE YOURS AS WELL.
- Breast surgery is considered to be safely performed for suitable candidates, but that does not mean it has no risks.
- Like all surgeries, elective or otherwise, breast surgery carries both minor risks, such as treatable skin infections (not uncommon), as well as major risks, which are fortunately rarer.
- Yet breast augmentation surgery is still a major surgical procedure and should never be taken lightly.
- Find out WHAT type of Surgeon is going to be operating on you and WHICH location/facility you’ll be in.
Timeline for Recovery after Breast Augmentation
RECOVERY AFTER BREAST SURGERY – ARE THERE ANY NORMAL TIME FRAMES TO KEEP IN MIND?
- It varies from patient to patient, so these are just general guidelines only.
- But most healthy patients who don’t have a complication can go back to work about 2 weeks (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) after surgery.
- It often depends on the physical demands of your job as well as how you heal.
- Ask your Surgeon for details.
- Whatever you do, don’t increase your risks by smoking.
- Allow adequate time to heal.
Many breast surgery patients take at least a week off work. But for some, two weeks might be better, it depends on your job and the type of procedure you’re having.
- Different occupations have different return dates. Read the Best time to have for Cosmetic Surgery – Planning your surgery date.
- Surgery involves between two weeks to several months’ recovery time, depending on the type of procedure you have.
- For breast augmentation as a primary procedure, allow 1-2 weeks away from normal duties (average) but DO ask your Surgeon – you may need more.
- It’s important to realise that adjusting your lifestyle for optimal recovery can take some advanced planning.
- It’s also important to realise that surgery recovery can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times. Read the Common Emotions & Feelings After Cosmetic Surgery.
As part of your planning for surgery, it’s good to recognise that you may not be cleared to exercise again. This can take several weeks (or months).
OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER
It’s also helpful to know that you’ll need to wear special post-op garments and support bras at all times; this includes at night whilst sleeping – which can improve your chances for best long-term breast augmentation results.
- The GUIDE links above can help you know what to expect – be sure you download them and read them.
- They do not constitute medical advice, however. Every patient is different.
- It’s CRUCIAL that you speak directly with your SURGEON to find out what’s best for YOUR specific operation and recovery.
- Make sure you get your Surgeon’s full clearance BEFORE returning to normal activities, particularly; strenuous exercise, high impact sports or very warm environments such as steam rooms.
Additionally, residual discomfort after having breast surgery – along with breast incision scars – may take many months before they become minimised. Speak to your Surgeon to find out what to expect.
Breast Surgeries have different recovery times and every woman is unique, so your recovery guidelines are simply that – estimated time frames (not guarantees) which can vary tremendously between patients.
Different Breast Operations have different recovery times or time frames.
For example, a Breast Lift without Implants (Mastopexy) will have a shorter recovery time than Breast Implants with a Breast Lift (Augmentation-Mastopexy), or a Breast Reduction Surgery, which are even more complex procedures.
Recovery time frames for breast augmentation and other breast surgeries depend on numerous factors, including unexpected complications and your adherence to post-op protocols.
Follow your unique post-op patient care plan and your Surgeon’s instructions
- Your nutritional intake, your lifestyle, your medical history, your genetics and your healing responses will ALL interact and CAN significantly impact your recovery time.
- Be sure you eat well, rest properly and DO NOT EVER SMOKE.
- How well you adhere to your Surgeon’s post-op requirements including; resting, not exercising too soon, wearing the right SUPPORT BRAS/SUPPORT GARMENTS.
- Taking care of yourself nutritionally not only impacts your healing and recovery but also your long term results!
Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons will give you a tailored post-operative care plan depending on the type of procedure you have. Be sure to ask if you have any questions and let us know immediately (or contact your GP or available Medical Service Providers) if you have any post-op healing concerns.
Breast Augmentation and Recovery: Is this normal?
That noted you might benefit from general tips about what to do, look out for and avoid after getting implants or other breast enhancement surgery.
This information is general in nature and should not be considered medical advice. This information should not replace your Surgeon’s specific post-op healing instructions.
SOME COMMON CONCERNS TO BREAST SURGERY PATIENTS ARE:
- How much pain is normal after breast surgery?
- Is it normal for my breasts and nipples to have different sensitivity after surgery?
- Do I need to massage the breasts after having implants?
- What can be done to minimize scarring?
- Do I need to change the type of bra I wear?
Some pain, nausea and discomfort are all a normal part of recovery, but anything that seems alarming to you (or of concern to you, your friend, family or support circle) should immediately be reported to your Surgeon or available medical care professionals.
If you’re concerned at all, contact us immediately for assistance and advice. Or contact emergency medical services or your local GP.
BREAST SURGERY IS A COLLABORATION AND TEAMWORK WORKS BEST – EACH OF US HAS A RESPONSIBILITY IN GETTING AN OPTIMAL RECOVERY AND SURGERY RESULT
As discussed in your consultation, Surgery is a collaborative effort between the Surgeon and Patient.
You AND your Surgical team each have unique, individual responsibilities to help provide for optimal surgical outcomes. That responsibility includes your timely reporting of any symptoms or post-op concerns in a timely manner and following the exact advice of your Surgeon for all aspects of your post-operative care – including wearing the right garments, caring for your incision wounds, and not returning to exercise or other strenuous activities until you’ve healed adequately and have been cleared by your Surgeon to do so.
Different Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery
Breast implant surgery RECOVERY time frames can VARY from patient to patient. Because NO TWO PEOPLE – not even identical twins – will have the exact same surgery recovery experiences.
In general, however, you’ll need to allow 1 to 2 weeks to fully rest and recover after having a breast augmentation/breast implant surgery procedure.
Breast Augmentation Recovery: TOP TIPS for Breast Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery
- RECOGNISE that everyone heals differently
- READ the instructions your Surgeon gives you for post-surgery aftercare (Post-Surgery Recovery Guides and related materials)
- DO follow your Plastic Surgeon’s instructions carefully
- DON’T do anything foolish like smoking or trying to exercise or drive too soon
- ALERT your Plastic Surgeon immediately if you suspect a complication or infection
- BE PATIENT – recognise that if you experience a complication or infection, this can slow down the recovery time; allow for flexibility to reduce your post-op stress
- REMIND yourself WHY you wanted larger breasts (post your BEFORE photo where you can see it)
- KNOW that your healing and recovery time shall pass in just a few weeks’ time* (*most patients)
Is it painful to recover from having Breast Implant surgery?
- Some patients experience short-term discomfort and/or longer-term discomfort
- Most discomfort or pain is managed by over-the-counter pain medications and/or local anaesthetic
- Consult your Surgeon if you need more assistance during your initial recovery
- Remember, wearing a support bra 24/7 is imperative for getting a good result AND for enhancing your recovery comfort as you heal
POST-SURGERY HOME CARE AND HOME ASSISTANCE
- Having a good SUPPORT system at HOME can aid your recovery
- CHOOSE very supportive friend(s) and/or family to be close by to assist you for 1 to 2 weeks
- Don’t drive, lift small children or perform other strenuous activities until your Surgeon gives you the ‘all clear’
EMOTIONS AND SLEEPING AFTER BREAST SURGERY
- Recognise that you might feel emotional after having surgery – keep your BEFORE photo handy as you heal
- EXPECT initial difficulty sleeping
- ASK your Surgeon which resting POSITIONS are required. You may need to rest/sleep elevated or propped up for a few days and avoid sleeping in face-down positions
- BE sure you have a COMFORTABLE room and BED to rest in
- TIP: create a pampering healing space before your operation
GOOD DISTRACTIONS CAN BE HELPFUL AS YOU HEAL
- You may initially experience discomfort or potential sensation changes after surgery. But discomfort tends to abate over a period of several weeks
- TIP: It can help to have BOOKS, VIDEOS/FILMS, NETFLIX and/or RELAXATION and MEDIATION RECORDINGS on hand to help keep you occupied or distracted during your recovery