Cosmetic Surgery Tips

3 week post op breast augmentation

Hi there! I’m [name], and I’m here to tell you about my recent breast augmentation experience. I’ve been thinking about getting implants for a few years now, but I was nervous about what it would feel like and how it would change my life. After talking with my friend [friend’s name] who had the same surgery a few months ago, she convinced me to book an appointment with my surgeon.

At first, I was really nervous about the whole thing—I don’t know why! It’s not like they had to cut open my chest or anything like that; all they did was make two little incisions in each side of my breasts, put some implants in place, and sew everything up again. But still: The idea of having someone cut into your body is terrifying! And then when you think about what could go wrong…

But after talking with Dr. [doctor’s name] and hearing his explanation of what he would be doing during the procedure and what his plan was for aftercare, I felt much better about everything. And when it came time for surgery, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be! My doctor gave me some pain medicine before we started so that by the time we

3 week post op breast augmentation

Your Recovery

In breast enlargement surgery, the doctor makes the breasts larger by putting an implant under the breast tissue or under the chest muscle. An implant is a soft silicone shell filled with a saltwater solution or a gel. After the surgery you will probably feel weak. You may feel sore for 2 to 3 weeks, and you’ll likely have a lot of swelling. You may have a pulling or stretching feeling in your breast area. You can expect to feel better and stronger each day, although you may need pain medicine for a week or two. You may get tired easily or have less energy than usual. This may last for several weeks after surgery.

Most stitches are removed in 5 to 10 days.

Your new breasts may feel firmer and look rounder. The skin on your breasts may be numb. It should get better with time. You may have some permanent loss of feeling in the nipple area.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?


  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • For about 2 to 3 weeks, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, a vacuum cleaner, or a child. Do not lift anything over your head for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.
  • You can take your first shower the day after surgery if you do not have a drain near your incision. If you have a drain, you can shower the day after it is removed. This is usually in a few days. Do not take a bath or soak in a hot tub for about 4 weeks.
  • You will probably be able to go back to work or your normal routine in 1 to 2 weeks. This depends on the type of work you do and any further treatment.


  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. Take a fibre supplement. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, take a mild laxative.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If you were given medicine for nausea, take it as directed.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • If your doctor gave you specific instructions on how to care for your incision, follow those instructions.
  • You may be wearing a special bra that holds your bandages in place after the surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you can stop wearing the bra. Your doctor may want you to wear the bra at night as well as during the day for several weeks.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to wear an underwire bra. Consider buying a larger bra. Your old bra will be too small and can put too much pressure on the healing incision.
  • If you have strips of tape on your incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off. Or follow your doctor’s instructions for removing the tape.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.


  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Your doctor will tell you when to begin stretching exercises and normal activities.


  • Put ice or a cold pack over your breast for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

Prior to Surgery

At Jones Plastic Surgery in Oklahoma City, OK, we feel the recovery process from breast augmentation begins prior to surgery. This process begins with proper nutrition at this time and stopping medications or supplements that can be harmful.  Our common recommendations to help prepare you for surgery include:

  • taking Vitamin A, C, and Zinc supplements to aid in future healing
  • stopping smoking and all nicotine products that can interfere with healing
  • stopping weight loss medications as they can interfere with anesthesia and healing
  • eating a nutritious diet with adequate calories and protein to enhance healing
  • stopping blood thinners such as aspirin and ibuprofen (as possible) to limit bleeding
  • stopping birth control or estrogen supplementation to limit the risk of blood clots
  • discussing all medical conditions with Dr. Jones and staff so they can be managed appropriately prior to surgery or the surgical plan adjusted as needed
  • stopping any muscle building of the pectoralis muscles (if planning on a submuscular technique)
  • stopping many herbals and supplements as many of their effects on healing and anesthesia are unknown (discuss with staff)

Immediately After Surgery

At Jones Plastic Surgery, you will undergo your breast augmentation procedure in a fully accredited surgical facility.  Dr. Jones will employ advanced techniques with optimal results, limited risk, and rapid recovery a focus.  Immediately afterwards, you will be transported to our recovery room where your recovery process will begin.  Here you will remain for an average of one hour while you are monitored by a Registered Nurse.  When you have passed protocol for discharge, you will be allowed to go home or to where you have chosen to recover for the night of surgery (within 30 minutes of our facility).  You must be with a responsible adult at all times.

Common experiences for the night of surgery:

  • Many patients have the feeling of a ‘tight’ chest/breasts
  • the breasts commonly look high and small
  • Pain varies, but is usually very manageable and more of a soreness/tightness for most
  • It is common to hear or feel fluid and/or air around the implants
  • You will be wearing a post-surgical compression bra and will have gauze covering your incisions
  • You will commonly take an oral antibiotic and oral pain pills
  • Most patients will begin icing their breasts (20 minutes every couple hours)
  • Most patients will begin anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen)
  • Most patients will begin gentle upper breast massage
  • You are encouraged to be up and around as you feel able, but DO NOT OVER DO IT.  

Many patients feel perfectly fine and normal almost immediately other than some tightness or soreness.  Some go out to dinner, etc.  (of course this varies)


Early Recovery from Breast Augmentation

At Jones Plastic Surgery, Dr. Jones sees all breast augmentation patients the day after surgery.  During this visit, he will answer any questions you have, as well as examine you.  He will also review your instructions for care, as well as limitations of activity.

On this visit:

  • you will view your breasts without a bra and the tape (steri strips) covering your incisions. Dr. Jones will answer any questions about your breasts and recovery.
  • Dr. Jones will review with you the care of your dressings and incisions
  • you may shower 48 hrs after surgery and then pat the strips dry and take a blow dryer to them on the cool setting to assure dryness.  Then place clean gauze between the bra and tape.
  • Dr. Jones will also teach you the massages for your breasts usually 3 massages performed 3 times a day, 10 reps each, to begin on postoperative day 3 (see video)
  • Dr. Jones will also review your limitations at this point:
  • do not work up a sweat or get your heart rate or blood pressure up for the next 2-3 weeks (until further notified)
  • limit any activity or motion that will stress your chest muscles or incisions (ex. reaching high above your head or behind you)
  • do not lift greater than 10 lbs (Dr. Jones will teach you how to lift/hold your ‘little ones’.
  • do not operate machinery (including a vehicle) until you have finished taking narcotics and you feel you can operate the machinery safely and appropriately
  • wear a soft, stretchy bra similar to your postop bra that does not irritate your incisions

Common experience at this point:

  • many patients are able to stop narcotic pain pills in the next day or two and take only Ibuprofen and Tylenol (not ALL patients, which is normal and ok)
  • breasts are commonly tight and high (can take 2-3 months to soften and settle-varies)
  • very common to have tingling pain and numbness at this point (usually resolves)
  • many patients resume normal leisurely activity
  • minor differences in breast swelling and shape are very normal at this time
  • patients are commonly concerned that breasts look small
  • a small amount of blood on the dressings happens on occasion and is ok
  • bruising does not usually occur, but does in some patients and is usually ok
  • some patients will experience shooting pain from nerves stretching
  • dry skin can be very normal from the stretching and surgical solutions

2-3 Weeks after Surgery

By this time, most patients are feeling back to normal and are ‘itching’ to do more. At this visit, Dr. Jones will again examine you and answer any questions you may have.  He will also review your massages and check to see how your implants are beginning to move.  As before, you will also review you instructions for care and limitations of activity.

On this visit:

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will remove dressings and examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • may commonly be able to begin using scar creams at this time
  • will review breast massages
  • will again review activity restrictions
  • you may commonly resume low impact exercise at this time.  This includes a stationary bicycle, walking, low impact leg exercises, an elliptical without using the arms, etc.  You may work up a sweat and get your heart rate and blood pressure up, but no jogging, running, pectoralis exercises or any exercises that will stress your incisions.  Still be careful lifting greater than 10 lbs.
  • will review the type of bra you can wear (commonly still a soft, stretchy bra, but with more options like a bralette or spaghetti strap cami, etc. as directed by Dr. Jones)
  • answer any questions

Common experience at 2-3 weeks after breast augmentation:

  • Many patients will be pain free at this time and will have a hard time limiting their activity (but it is very important to still be careful)
  • Some patients can still feel that their breasts are small and tight and high (or boxy)
  • pain or soreness can still be common – especially shooting pains on occasion or point tenderness
  • feeling or hearing fluid can still be very normal
  • numbness can still be very normal
  • some patient’s dressings fall off on their own at this time.  Please notify Dr. Jones if this occurs.  This is very normal, but we want to know so we can asses your incision asap
  • noticeable swelling has usually mostly resolved

6 Weeks after Surgery

By 6 weeks after surgery, most patients are more than ready to do whatever they are allowed.  Many patients have settled and softened as much as they would like and are just wondering if they have any more restrictions and what bras they can wear to maintain their result.  Some still need to settle and soften more, which is very normal.  As with your other visits, Dr. Jones will examine you closely and answer all questions and review your restrictions.

On this visit:

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will again examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • will review breast massages (commonly reduce massages at this visit)
  • will again review activity restrictions
  • you may usually resume all activity at this time, but pectoralis muscle exercises are discouraged for patients with submuscular silicone breast implants
  • will review the type of bra you can wear (may be able to wear more supportive bras at this time depending upon implant position)
  • answer any questions

3 Months after Surgery

By 3 months after surgery most patients feel completely normal and ‘recovered’. Most patients implants have settled completely (or almost completely) and are in a good position.  There are usually no activity restrictions and many patients have been exercising for over a month.  This visit is commonly a review of how things have gone and education for the future.

On this visit:

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will again examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • will review breast massages (commonly reduce massages again at this visit and educate for lifetime implant care)
  • will again review activity recommendations
  • some patients are discouraged from pectoralis building exercises depending upon their body type and implant position
  • will review the type of bra you should wear and if you should sleep in a bra
  • answer any questions
  • will commonly take postop photos, which are emailed upon request
  • will schedule one year postop visit, or others as necessary

One Year Postop

For most patients, one year after surgery is very similar to three months postop.  The breasts are commonly soft and most patients are very comfortable with them by now.  Many women state that their breasts now feel ‘like their own’ and they have settled into what bras they like, etc.  By now most incisions have faded nicely and any swelling that may have been present still at three months is gone.  This visit is a good time to review the care of implants going forward and to answer any questions.  It is possible to still have numbness and tingling at this time and this may still improve. 

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

2-3 Weeks After Surgery

  • examine breasts for softness, implant position, mobility, etc.
  • will again examine incisions and review incision care-if any
  • will review breast massages (commonly reduce massages at this visit)
  • will again review activity restrictions
  • you may usually resume all activity at this time, but pectoralis muscle exercises
  • are discouraged for patients with submuscular silicone breast implants
  • will review the type of bra you can wear (may be able to wear more supportive bras at this time depending upon implant position)
  • answer any questions
  • Many patients will be pain free at this time and will have a hard time limiting their activity (but it is very important to still be careful)
  • Some patients can still feel that their breasts are small and tight and high (or boxy)
  • pain or soreness can still be common – especially shooting pains on occasion or point tenderness
  • feeling or hearing fluid can still be very normal
  • numbness can still be very normal
  • some patient’s dressings fall off on their own at this time.  Please notify Dr. Jones if this occurs.  This is very normal, but we want to know so we can asses your incision asap
  • noticeable swelling has usually mostly resolved

Stages of Recovery

Photo of patient immediately after breast augmentation

‘postop day 4. The tape (steri strips) remains on the breasts at the lower fold and the breasts are high and tight.’ This is a common appearance at this stage.

Three weeks after breast augmentation photo

‘3 weeks postop. Implants have softened some, but remain high and tight. This is common’

After breast augmentation photo

‘2.5 months postop and the patient has settled nicely into appropriate position and the breasts have ‘fluffed’. Some women may take a little longer. As you can see, the incisions are already imperceptible’

3 weeks post breast augmentation exercise

Exercises After Breast Surgery: A Week-By-Week Guide

The key to knowing the proper exercises after breast surgery is all in the timing. This is one of the most popular questions we get at our Raleigh plastic surgery office. We created this guide of what you can do at each time point after your breast implant surgery. When recovering in North Carolina, whether it is after plastic surgery in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill or on the coast like Greenville, Wilmington and Cedar Point — everyone wants to know when they can go back to walking and working out in our great outdoors. Read on for details about going back to your regular activities after plastic surgery.

Whether you had breast implants above the muscle or breast implants under the muscle, this guide is helpful at planning your exercises after breast surgery. Be sure to check with your board-certified plastic surgeon before making any major moves in working out after breast implants.

Exercises after Breast Surgery: WEEK 1

From the first day to the end of the first week after breast surgery, the best exercise you can do is pretty much limited to walking around the house. You want to avoid any cardio (that means anything that gets your heart rate up) and avoid all strength training. This means no walks in the neighborhood, and definitely no reps on the staircase, treadmill, peloton or elliptical.

Definitely do not do any weight training, zumba or anything like that. Take it easy – you could impede the healing by overdoing it, or worse, you could hurt yourself. We don’t want you to have any bleeding around your implant. Focus on recovery this week. Remember, if it hurts, don’t do it just yet.Breast Augmentation Before and After - Tannan Plastic Surgery

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Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 2

For this second week after breast surgery, you will still have some swelling working its way out of your system. So for that reason, you have to skip cardio during week 2. Read that again – cardio is not a part of exercises after breast surgery in week 2!

So what can you do? Light walking on your street, at the mall, nothing over a mile. In our NC heat, perhaps limit your summer walks to short and sweet loops where you don’t start sweating. This means no power-walking. As far as weights and strength training – those are still on the no-go list for week 2. See the details for next week if you are itching to start!

Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 3

Exercises after breast surgery in your third week is liberating! At this point we typically release you to start lower body strength training only. This includes gluts, lower abs, and of course your quads, hamstrings and calves. Still no pec, lat, trapezius, biceps or triceps. Avoid upper body and arms. Lunges, leg presses, calf raises and squats are ok. Make sure you are not clenching your pecs when do these.

Oh, and still no cardio! I know you can give yourself a cardio-type workout while doing your reps with weights — so don’t do that. Just do weights without raising your heart rate and blood pressure. That’s because when you start pumping more blood, that means more swelling in the breasts, and we will go backwards before going forwards in your healing process. Get some energy out with a light walk in your neighborhood after your plastic surgery in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, and the Greater Triangle Area. The usually temperate climate is perfect unless you are in peak summer.

Keep your eye on the prize, just a bit more and then you will be released to full exercises!

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Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 4

Week 4 is a major turning point. Guess what? Now you may finally start light cardio! You may also slowly and lightly introduce upper body and arms into your strength routine. Do not go back to cross-fit or your normal full-on workout regimen. Instead, start slow and easy, and plan to work toward achieving your peak fitness over the next 2-3 weeks.

You can begin biceps, triceps, and upper abs now. Those of you with implants under the muscle may want to hold off on pecs, lat and trap work for one more week. Four weeks after surgery you are cleared to do things like get in the pool or hot tub. So if swimming laps is your thing, wait until after four weeks have gone by to begin this exercise after breast surgery.

Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 5-6

This is when you may start to introduce all the things you used to do, and at about week 6 or 7 after surgery I expect you will be back at the same weights and cardio you were doing before surgery. Pec work? Ok to start low, go slow. Lat, trap, biceps and triceps? Yes – you betcha!

Again don’t reach for the weights you used to do, start low and build that strength back up. Pace yourself and have some self-compassion and patience! Your body has been hard at work healing and recovering from major surgery.Large Breasts Back Pain - Tannan Plastic Surgery

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Questions about Exercises after Breast Surgery?

If you’re not sure about something, be sure to ask your board-certified plastic surgeon. At Tannan Plastic Surgery, our all-female team is here to help! We are all moms who take time to make sure we pick the right implant and pocket fit for you, your active lifestyle today, and your potential plans for a growing family in the future. Call today to schedule a consultation with female plastic surgeon, Dr. Tannan, and learn firsthand what is best for you after breast implant surgery.

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