What Is the Breast Augmentation Recovery Process?
Breast augmentation surgery is the only way to enhance breast size or shape.
Many women desire breast augmentation surgery to achieve the breast size and fullness they have always wanted, particularly those who have wished for larger breasts since their teenage years or after having children. As women age, they may also seek a more shapely appearance.
However, the recovery process following breast augmentation surgery can be a significant concern for women of all ages. At our practice, we often receive inquiries about the recovery process, as women want to be prepared for what to expect after the surgery.
Women are naturally concerned about it, and at our practice, some of the most common questions regarding breast augmentation are:
- “How long will I be uncomfortable after surgery?”
- “What will the swelling day by day of breast augmentation be like?”
- “When can I exercise again?”
- “When can I sleep on my side again?”
- “When can I wear a regular bra again?”
And the list goes on. We understand there are many questions in regards to this topic, so we’d like to help our patients more fully understand recovery week by week and day by day.
Below, we’ve created a guide to breast implants recovery that breaks down the recuperation process into stages. First, let’s take a look at breast implants recovery week by week.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY WEEK BY WEEK
WEEK 1 OF RECOVERY FROM BREAST AUGMENTATION
Directly after you have your breast implants placed, you’ll be taken to a post breast implant surgery recovery room to rest and recuperate for a few hours. You’ll feel groggy, tired, and a bit sore. The plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication. There will likely be tightness in your chest, and patients may feel nauseous, but this should dissipate rather quickly.
Light bruising and swelling may have started to develop as well a around the incision site. The maximum amount of swelling will usually take place during the first three to five days after surgery. This will change over time, and ultimately, the swelling day by day of breast implants recovery will begin to go back down.
The first three to five days post-surgery tend to be the most challenging overall. During this time, you’ll likely experience some discomfort, not only from the procedure, but also from having to remain relatively sedentary and sleeping flat on your back. This will improve with time and the use of pain medication.
WEEKS 2 THROUGH 4 OF RECOVERY PERIOD
After the first week, you’ll be able to resume normal activities and probably won’t need pain medication anymore. In fact, at the start of the second week of recovery, most patients feel fairly good. For example, most patients will be able to return to work, some heavy lifting, or school at this point.
Swelling around your breast implants will still be present at this point in your recovery, and it’s important to encourage it to diminish so as to maximize your results. Keep in mind that you will need to continue wearing your compression garment (compression bra) until at least the two-week mark.
At this time, you may be able to transition to wearing a typical sports bra. Most patients need to avoid underwire bras for several weeks more.
In regards to sleeping, patients will need to start sleeping on their backs directly after surgery. This will continue throughout weeks two to four. Side sleeping and sleeping on your stomach can negatively impact the placement of your breast implants.
Many patients are anxious to get back to strenuous physical activity routine after surgery. At this point in your recovery, Dr. Ramanadham may allow you to return to some light exercise such as walking longer distances or using a treadmill. Strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects should still be avoided for a smooth recovery.
WEEKS 4 THROUGH 6 OF BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY TIMELINE
The majority of your breast augmentation recovery will take place during the first six weeks after your procedure. Slowly, all of the symptoms you experienced at the beginning of your recovery will continue to diminish.
You will meet with Dr. Ramanadham for several follow-up appointments, and she will assess your breast implants positioning and overall healing. She will also allow you to return to more physical activity as time goes on. Although, it’s still important to be cognizant of your chest and not do anything too strenuous. Continue sleeping on your back or as recommended by Dr. Ramanadham.
WEEK 6 THROUGH MONTH 6 OF BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY TIMELINE
You’ll be glad to hear that after six weeks, much of the soreness, swelling, and sensitivity around your breast implants will have dissipated. And it will only get better from here. Six months after your breast augmentation, the majority of patients will have fully recovered.
As time progresses and you reach month two, month three, and month four … you’ll notice that you have more energy and flexibility. Your breast implants will look more natural and normal. Dr. Ramanadham may allow you to start sleeping on your side again. During this time, you’ll also be able to go back to at least moderate exercise.
At around months four and five, there may be some residual swelling left around your breast implants. But largely, you should begin to start seeing how your final results will look. Finally, six months after breast augmentation, your new breast implants should be fully settled into place, and your normal life and activities can be fully resumed.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY TIPS
Here are some breast augmentation recovery tips to ease the discomfort of this period and help you achieve optimal results.
ARRANGE TIME OFF FROM WORK AS SOON AS YOU HAVE A SURGERY DATE.
After scheduling a date for surgery, one of the first things on your to-do list should be to arrange for time off from work, if necessary. Doing this sooner rather than later usually allows for the most flexibility with your employer.
Some patients will want to take between one and two weeks off for recovery from breast augmentation. Still, always speak directly with Dr. Ramanadham to hear her recommendations. Some patients should anticipate more or less downtime, depending on the specifics of their surgery.
ENLIST A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER TO HELP OUT AT HOME.
You will need someone to take you home from surgery on the day of your procedure. Furthermore, most breast augmentation patients will need help at home, especially during the first week.
If you have small children, at-home assistance is particularly necessary as you will be unable to lift anything over a specified number of pounds for several weeks. You’ll also be resting during this period, so you’ll need someone to care for not only you, but for your children as well.
PRACTICE SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK BEFORE SURGERY.
Dr. Ramanadham will give you additional postoperative instructions regarding sleep when you meet, but generally speaking, patients should plan to sleep on their backs for several weeks after surgery. This is because side sleeping and sleeping on your stomach can change the way your breast tissue heals and may negatively affect your results.
Because it can be hard for patients who are used to sleeping on their sides or stomachs to switch to back sleeping, it may be a good idea to try sleeping on your back at home before your actual surgery.
Additionally, most breast augmentation patients will also need to sleep at an incline, with their upper body slightly higher than their lower body. Patients find that using a wedge pillow for this position is easiest. Wedge pillows can be purchased online or at some medical supply stores. Get yours before your procedure so that it can be ready for you when you get home. You may also want to use an additional pillow on either side of you during sleep to keep your arms in a comfortable position.
PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS BEFOREHAND.
In most situations, patients will be able to fill their pain medication prescriptions before their actual surgery. This can cut down time directly after surgery so that you can go home immediately.
CREATE A COMFORTABLE SPACE FOR YOUR RECOVERY.
As you’ll know the date of your surgery beforehand, you will have adequate time to create a comfortable, cozy space for your recovery at home. This is something you’ll appreciate after the procedure.
Dr. Ramanadham will have you do some light walking around the house at regular intervals after surgery to keep your circulation going and reduce the possibility of blood clots. However, for the most part, you’ll be resting and taking it easy for at least a few weeks.
Therefore, set up a space — for example, in your living room — where you’ll have a comfortable chair and where you can put everything you need for your recovery. This will include things like your medications, a water bottle, a phone charger, books and magazines, your computer or tablet device, and healthy snacks.
Many patients find that recovering in a different room from their bedroom is more comfortable so that they are not spending both day and night in bed (this can make sleeping a challenge).
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
During recovery from any surgery, it is crucial to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Water will not only help to flush the anesthesia out of your system directly after surgery, but it will also promote better healing of your incisions and keep dehydration at bay.
FAQ: BREAST Implant RECOVERY
HOW LONG WILL I WEAR A COMPRESSION GARMENT AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION?
Patients will need to wear their compression garments or a form of post surgical bra for at least one to two weeks after surgery. After that, patients can often switch to a regular sports bra that will keep the breasts in place. Underwire bras should not be worn for several more weeks, however.
WHAT WILL THE SWELLING DAY BY DAY OF BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY BE LIKE?
Most of the swelling after breast augmentation will take place in the first three to five days. After this point, swelling should go down progressively. Much of the swelling should dissipate in the first few weeks. After six months, it should be gone.
WHAT BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY TIPS CAN HELP REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF SCARS?
The recommended recovery tips to reduce breast augmentation scarring involves regularly applying antibacterial ointments or petroleum jelly to maintain skin moisture, changing bandages on a daily basis for cleanliness, refraining from picking scabs, and limiting sun exposure to the affected area.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU EXERCISE TOO SOON AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION?
For the most part, risks associated with exercising too soon after breast augmentation surgery are related to inadvertently shifting your breast implant or increasing side effects like bruising and swelling. You may also increase pain by exercising too soon.
Likewise, there is a risk of prolonging the healing process or changing the way your incisions heal. In some cases, exercising too soon can compromise your recovery and your results.
WHEN CAN I SLEEP ON MY SIDE AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION SURGERY?
This depends. For some patients, side sleeping may be possible around three weeks after major surgery, but other patients will need to wait longer — up to six or eight weeks. The exact specifics regarding how you should be sleeping after this surgery should be discussed with your breast augmentation surgeon.
BOOK A Breast Augmentation CONSULTATION Today
Dr. Smita Ramanadham is a double board-certified plastic surgeon in New Jersey. As one of the only female plastic surgeons in her field and location, she is uniquely qualified to help women realize their aesthetic goals with cosmetic surgery, especially in regards to breast surgery (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, and other breast surgery options).
Dr. Ramanadham would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your breast augmentation procedure goals. Whether you’re hoping for a big change in your breast size and shape or a slighter, more natural-looking augmentation, Dr. Ramanadham plastic surgeon can help you achieve what you’re looking for.
To schedule a breast surgery consultation appointment with Dr. Ramanadham today, please contact our New Jersey office.