How Long to Recover After Breast Implant Surgery?

October 23, 2022
woman wearing a compressing bra

Breast implant surgery, or augmentation mammoplasty, is considered to be a major surgery. If you are considering this surgery or have recently undergone the procedure, you may be curious about how long it takes to recover from breast augmentation surgery. Here is what you can expect.

Recovery From Breast Augmentation Surgery

young woman wrapped in elastic bandage after breast augmentation

The time to recover completely will vary, as every woman is different. As well, other factors like surgeon skill level and implant placement, size, and type will also affect recovery time.

Generally speaking, six to eight weeks is typical for full recovery from breast implant surgery. As well, during recovery it’s important to avoid unnecessary strain like lifting heavy items or engaging in certain kinds of physical activity.

What to Expect Following the Breast Implant Procedure

The recovery for the breast augmentation procedure occurs in several stages. What follows is the typical post-operative healing time for breast implants with procedures having no complications.

Right After Surgery

attractive lovely girl in beige bra perfect shape form line curves chest

Once you wake up, you’ll begin to feel muscle pain if the implants were inserted under the chest muscles or around your breasts if the implants were inserted over the chest muscles. You can also expect to feel groggy.

A Few Hours

Once a few hours have passed, you’ll begin to feel less groggy than before. You’re also likely to feel less pain, and you will be released after several hours. However, someone will have to bring you home.

Before release, your breasts will be wrapped in elastic banding or with a bra to support them, and you will be advised about incision care. You may also be prescribed pain medications and given breast tissue massages to do when you are further along in your recovery.

24 Hours

The day after your surgery, you may experience several different symptoms, including:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Loss of sensitivity or oversensitivity in the breasts
  • Chest tightness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Soreness

The pain and discomfort you feel during this stage may reach extreme levels, which is why your doctor will have either prescribed pain medication or suggested acetaminophen or other over-the-counter products. However, your pain and discomfort should decrease over time.

5 to 7 Days

In the week after surgery, you may still be experiencing pain and discomfort, but only mildly and with much less intensity. Your surgeon may okay a return to normal activities if your recovery continues to progress.

However, activities that are particularly strenuous on the breasts can cause bleeding or irritation. That being said, refrain from heavy lifting, as well as lifting your arms beyond your head or engaging in other activities that can cause similar strain.

During this time, it’s important to massage your breast tissue because your implants are settling during this stage. Massage will also help bring down your swelling and help your muscles to relax.

3 to 4 Weeks

Around one month after surgery, your discomfort and pain should be very little if there is any at all. Any bruising or swelling should have faded or reduced. However, if there were any complications during your surgery or the type of surgery was particularly invasive, you can expect to still have bruising.

At this point, your doctor may still advise you to refrain from strenuous activity, but may offer encouragement to begin light exercise. You will still benefit from the healing support that a front-closure or post-surgical bra provides.

4 to 6 Weeks

It’s around the 4- to 6-week mark that you’ll achieve full recovery and can return to your normal activities. You can expect your breasts to have a more natural look and feel. Also, you will want to consider making a follow-up appointment for an evaluation of your implants with your surgeon.

What to Expect at Your Follow-up Appointment

plastic surgeon and woman discussing procedure of breast augmentation

During your follow-up appointment, you can expect your doctor to assess how well your healing has progressed. You can also expect to be declared fully recovered and, therefore, approved to return to all of your normal activities.

However, you will still want to follow the advice of your doctor and do what’s needed to ensure no complications and the proper healing of your implants.

Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips

There are many things you can do at every stage of the healing process to ensure a smooth recovery from breast augmentation surgery.

Avoid Infection

woman breast and bra

To avoid infection, you will be advised to refrain from soaking in a hot tub or taking a bath for the first four weeks after your surgery. However, you will be able to take a shower 24 hours after your procedure. If a drain was placed at your incision site, you will have to wait a few days until it is removed.

Make Preparations Before Surgery

If possible, it’s a good idea to have all housework, grocery shopping, and meal preparation done prior to undergoing surgery. Planning in this way will allow you the time you need to rest and recover.

Other things to plan for include child care and assistance for any strenuous tasks that may need to be completed in the early stages of your recovery.

Consuming a healthy diet will have a direct effect on your ability to heal. Ensure that your pantry is well-stocked with nourishing foods, water, or other drinks that provide hydration. You may also want to fill your prescription for pain medication your surgeon gave you so it’s there if you need it.

Invest in One or More Recovery Bras

The recovery bra is a garment designed to help make you comfortable following surgery. However, these bras also help to stabilize your implants, ensure the proper drainage of lymph fluid, provide mild compression, and increase circulation.

Because you will be wearing a recovery bra all of the time until you’ve recovered, it’s important to select a design, fit, and fabric that suit you best.

Rejuvenate Your Look at Aesthetic Surgery Institute

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The look of your breasts has a direct impact on your self-confidence. Whether you are recovering from breast cancer, want to enhance breast shape or fullness, or are looking to restore the look of your breasts post-pregnancy, Aesthetic Surgery Institute is your solution.

Located in the financial heart of Houston, Aesthetic Surgery Institute’s board-certified and experienced cosmetic surgeon is ready to help you achieve the look you’ve always wanted.

Visit our website for more information about our available breast augmentation procedures and to book your free consultation with our cosmetic surgery specialist.