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Breast augmentation recovery differs from patient to patient based on a variety of factors such as the surgical techniques used, placement, and the implant type and size. Recovery ultimately depends on how well the patient chooses to follow post-operative instructions. In this article, we will cover what to expect during breast augmentation recovery along with a few helpful tips that will make the process easier and somewhat faster.

What to expect after breast augmentation surgery

Immediately following surgery, many patients have reported feeling tightness, pressure, and weight in the chest. This is normal as the breast tissue and pectoral muscle are adjusting to the new breast implant.

Some patients may also experience a bit of the post-op blues following surgery, due in part to the medications and the experience of undergoing major surgery. This is also completely normal and it usually lasts a week or less. In the days after surgery, patients are generally able to walk around freely, though the range of motion in the arms and torso may be limited.

Recovery Timetable

2-3 Days Following Surgery

  • Light to moderate pain managed with pain medication
  • Swelling and bruising completely normal
  • Compression bandages and surgical bra alleviate discomfort and protect the wounds
  • Some patients may experience nausea from the anesthesia
  • It’s ok to take a shower by the 2nd day of recovery

1 Week Following Surgery

  • May go back to work and do light activity
  • Avoid lifting, bending, and strenuous activities
  • You will return for a post-op appointment for an inspection of the breasts and incisions

2 Weeks Following Surgery

  • May feel normal and ready to perform routine
  • Avoid vigorous exercise
  • Taking baths is generally possible

4 Weeks Following Surgery

  • May resume normal exercise
  • Chest exercises should be avoided

6 Weeks Following Surgery

  • Recovery completed
  • You may exercise without restraint, sleep on sides and abdomen, and wear an underwire bra
  • Final results are seen as implants are fully settled

It’s important you take some time to discuss the recovery plan your surgeon has created for you. Swelling, tenderness, extra sensitivity, and tightness of the breast area can be expected during the first month of recovery. Treating your new breasts gently while you’re healing is vital for your body to heal and recover properly, and may help minimize discomfort.

Arrange for someone to assist you at home after your breast augmentation since limited mobility will make simple tasks complicated. If you notice any breast abnormalities or experience symptoms such as fever and excessive irritation, do not hesitate to contact your doctor immediately.

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Pain Management

During the first few days of recovery, most patients experience mild to moderate pain based upon your tolerance for pain. Some patients may feel little to no pain while others may need to take painkillers. Women who choose implant placement below the muscle generally have more pain and a lengthier recovery than those who opt for placement above the muscle

Implant Settling

It’s normal for the implants to feel hard and sit in a high position at first, but they will soften and settle over time to a more natural position. While the breast implants have found their “home” in your chest at this point, remember that they will continue to change especially in the event of pregnancy, fluctuation in body weight, and menopause. By week six your implants should be fully settled.


While scarring after breast augmentation is permanent, a skilled surgeon can place the incision in low visibility areas such as the armpit, around the areola, under the breast, and the belly button for Trans Umbilical Breast Augmentation (TUBA).

There are clinically proven ways to minimize scarring such as silicone treatments, anti-bacterial creams and softening creams. Gentle massaging is recommended for most patients to help move the implants into position, to keep them soft and flat, lower the risk of capsular contracture, and increase blood flow, which helps the area heal faster. Avoid direct sunlight exposure as UV rays can make the scar look darker.

Types of breast massages

Patients may be instructed to perform different types of massages during the first three to six months following surgery.

How long does it take to recover from breast augmentation?

Every patient experiences recovery differently. Your surgeon will go over details about what you can and can’t do following breast augmentation surgery. If you don’t experience any post-operative complications and your job isn’t physically demanding, you may return to work within 20 days after surgery and engage in moderate exercises, such as walking and aerobics. If all goes well, breast augmentation patients can expect to be fully healed by week sixth of recovery. However, the implants don’t find their final nesting place until about a year after surgery.

Recovery Tips

After the surgery is completed, you will be excited about your new body, yet some worries may also run through your head. This is a completely understandable situation that will bring up some important questions you can ask your doctor. Some helpful tips you can keep in mind to speed up the recovery process include:

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