Knowing what to expect on you breast augmentation surgery recovery journey can help reduce your anxiety as well as improve your adherence to post-operative instructions.
Is Your Breast Augmentation Surgery Recovery Normal?
Undergoing breast augmentation surgery is an extremely personal decision. While it may take you some time to come up with a decision, the results of the procedure can have a significant impact on your self-esteem. But before you finally achieve your desired aesthetic goals, several factors need to be considered in the postoperative phase and the lack of understanding of what to expect during the recovery period can make you anxious. Let’s take a look at the different phases of breast augmentation recovery for you to get a glimpse of what to expect post-operatively.
What are the Types of Breast Augmentation Surgery?
There are two main types of breast augmentation:
- Cosmetic breast implant surgery: This surgical procedure alters the size and shape of the breasts by using a silicone or saline implant that is inserted behind the breast tissue or below the pectoralis muscle (chest muscle).
- Breast reconstruction surgery: This surgical procedure reconstructs or rebuilds one or both breasts using breast implants or fat tissue from another part of the body of the patient. Breast reconstruction surgery is usually performed in patients who had surgical removal of the breasts to prevent the spread of breast cancer.
For best results, breast augmentation can be combined with a breast lift (mastopexy).
How Long is the Recovery Time After Breast Augmentation?
It’s important to keep in mind that every patient is unique; therefore, the recovery time may vary from person to person. In general, surgeons report that a full recovery can be achieved after 6 weeks. After your surgery, your surgeon will assess your overall health status and provide you with a more definitive breast augmentation recovery timeline.
What Should You Expect During the Recovery Period?
Immediately after breast surgery, you will likely feel groggy due to the effects of the general anaesthesia. If the breast implants were inserted under the pectoralis muscle, you may feel a tight sensation or muscle ache in your chest. As your chest muscle stretches and relaxes, these discomforts will gradually decrease.
After a few hours, you may experience a reduction in sleepiness and breast soreness. Your surgeon or nurse will wrap your operated breasts with a special bra or an elastic bandage to support the healing breasts and prevent trauma to the incision line. Once the health care team has evaluated your health condition and there were no untoward signs and symptoms, you will be then discharged from the hospital. However, it is required that you request someone to drive you home because you may still experience confusion and weakness.
In the first 3 to 5 days, you’ll probably experience the most discomfort. To alleviate the pain and swelling, your surgeon will advise you to take the prescribed medication. You may also notice minor bleeding at the surgical site, which is normal. However, if uncontrolled bleeding is present, consult your primary care provider immediately.
After 1 week, the pain at the surgical site may become tolerable and you will less likely depend on your pain medication. With your surgeon’s approval, you may gradually resume your activities of daily living. It is recommended to avoid strenuous activities and religiously wear your support bra for better cosmetic results.
In the next few weeks, minimum breast soreness and swelling may still be present but these will not cause significant discomforts. While you may feel that you almost recovered, caution is still needed with regards to heavy lifting and vigorous activities like running and performing high-intensity exercises. If you have a physically-demanding job, you need to take a few days more off work to allow your breasts to heal.
After 2 months, the surgical incisions should fully heal with no signs of bruising, bleeding, soreness, or redness. You may still need to wear a support bra during this time but you can get back to work and resume your normal activities. Your surgeon will let you know what activities will work best for you to prevent complications.
What are the Possible Complications of Breast Augmentation?
Just like all types of surgery, breast augmentation poses potential complications, such as:
- Asymmetrical breasts
- Breast cellulitis
- Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
- Breast numbness
- Breast or nipple sensation changes
- Breast pain
- Breastfeeding problems
- Breasts appear to merge (symmastia)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Implant is seen or felt through the skin
- Incorrect position of implant
- Leakage of breast implants
- Scarring around the breast implant (capsular contracture)
- Scarring that changes the breast shape
What are the Self-Help Strategies to Improve Recovery Time After Breast Augmentation?
The success of breast augmentation will depend on how well you heal. To improve recovery time after breast augmentation, adhere to the following self-help strategies:
- Wear support bras to reduce breast pain and swelling.
- Apply prescribed ointment for your surgical incisions to prevent infection.
- Take your pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to manage discomfort.
- Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes to promote comfort and prevent injury to the incision site.
- Avoid strenuous activities to prevent tension on the healing wound.
- Increase the intake of protein-rich foods to accelerate the wound healing process.
Can You Still Breastfeed After Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation does not affect your ability to breastfeed. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that women who gave birth after primary breast augmentation with silicone or saline implants were able to breastfeed their infants without complications. 
Is Breast Augmentation Safe?
The safety of the procedure depends on the material used in the breast implant. For instance, the use of implants with higher or more cohesive gel is associated with a lower risk of rupture or break.  Your surgeon will decide which breast implants will best suit your body anatomy and desired cosmetic results.
Want to know more about breast augmentation and the types of breast implants that will work best for you? Send in an enquiry form below or call us today.
About Our Plastic Surgeon – Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast)
Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is vastly experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. With world-wide expertise Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.
Book your Initial Surgery Consultation
- Email us or Call on 08 9381 9300 to arrange your initial consultation appointment with Dr Patrick Briggs.
- A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral.
- Book a consultation with Dr Patrick Briggs by paying a $100 deposit over the phone and the remainder of the consultation fee of $150 at your appointment.
What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation
- Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
- Take notes and read the literature provided on the procedures thoroughly
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Please contact us using our contact form to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our reception staff who will be able to provide you with further information.
- Jewell ML, Edwards MC, Murphy DK, Schumacher A. Lactation Outcomes in More Than 3500 Women Following Primary Augmentation: 5-Year Data From the Breast Implant Follow-Up Study. Aesthet Surg J. 2019;39(8):875-883. doi:10.1093/asj/sjy221.
- Fardo D, Pensler JM. Breast, Augmentation. [Updated 2019 Dec 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.