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. However, before you finally achieve your desired aesthetic goals, several factors need to be considered in the postoperative phase. Furthermore, not understanding what to expect during the recovery period can make you anxious.
Below we take a look at the different phases of breast augmentation recovery so you can 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 not only the size but also the shape of the breasts. This is done by using either 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 either 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. Generally, 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.
During the first 3 to 5 days, is when you are most likely to experience 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.
Recovery After week 1
After 1 week, the pain at the surgical site tends to become tolerable and your reliance on pain medication will lessen. In addition, and with your surgeon’s approval, you may gradually resume some of your daily activities.
However, it is recommended that you avoid strenuous activities and religiously wear your support bra for a better cosmetic result.
In the weeks following, minimum breast soreness and swelling may still be present but these will not cause significant discomforts. While you may feel that you are almost recovered, caution is still needed with regards to heavy lifting and vigorous activities like running and performing high-intensity exercises. In addition, if you have a physically-demanding job, you will need to take extra time 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. Although, you may still need to wear a support bra during this time., 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, for example;
- Asymmetrical breasts
- Breast cellulitis
- BIA-ALCL – Also known as Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- Breast numbness
- Changes to breast or nipple sensation
- Breast pain
- Problems with breastfeeding
- 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:
- Firstly, wear support bras to reduce breast pain and swelling.
- Secondly, apply prescribed ointment to your surgical incisions, this helps prevent infection.
- Thirdly, ensure you take your pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to manage discomfort.
- Wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothes is also recommended as it promotes comfort and prevents injury to the incision site.
- Another self help stratagy is to avoid strenuous activities to prevent tension on the healing wound.
- And, final 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.
- 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-.