A key concern of most women seeking breast implants is the process of breast augmentation recovery.

After all, you naturally want to resume your normal life as soon as you can following surgery. Each woman will recover at a slightly different pace, but there are general stages that you can expect. As you’re healing keep in mind: most women, looking back upon their recovery period from breast augmentation, say the entire experience was well worth it for the end result.

Understanding the Breast Augmentation Recovery Process

Your breast augmentation recovery will partly be determined by factors including; age, breast size, skin elasticity, physical condition and hormone levels.

Your choice of plastic surgeon will also have a big effect on your recovery experience and how long healing will take. Choose a surgeon you trust so that you can go into surgery confidently.

The confident outlook and lower stress level that comes from having a breast surgeon that you trust can shorten your healing time.

Good Surgical Technique Speeds Recovery: Choose Your Surgeon Wisely

Choosing an experienced surgeon, a true breast augmentation specialist, is not only key to a comfortable and quick recovery—it also gives you the likelihood of a stellar surgical outcome. This is because precise surgical technique and good judgment allow your surgeon to place incisions properly and suture well to limit scarring.

A skilled surgeon will also choose the best placement of your breast implants and handle your body tissues gently so that complications are unlikely. Your research and advance preparation for your breast augmentation surgery is also helpful to ensure that you’ll recover quickly and get the outcome you desire. It pays to be prepared!

Breast Augmentation Recovery: Immediately After Surgery (Day One)

  • Breast augmentation surgery generally takes from 2 to 3 hours and is performed as an outpatient procedure at an accredited surgery center.
  • After surgery, you are placed in a recovery room, supervised by medical staff as you awake from general anesthesia.
  • Your friend or family member will be at your side when you awaken and will drive you home the day of surgery.
  • You will feel fatigued and want to sleep – and you should do so!
  • Sleep in an inclined position: Sleep on your back (at about a 30-degree angle) after surgery, while significant swelling remains. Purchase a specially designed wedge pillow, prop yourself up with a few bed pillows or sleep in a recliner chair.

Breast Augmentation: Recovery: Day Two

  • Ask someone to stay with you after surgery through the first night after breast augmentation surgery when you will be disoriented and groggy from your anesthesia. Your helper will be on hand to bring you water and make sure you take your pain medication on time, without the risk that you might fall if you were on your own.
  • You will be wearing a medical compression bra to support your breasts over the bandages covering your breast augmentation incisions. The garment will help to minimize swelling and avoid placing stress on your stitches by limiting breast movement.
  • Small, thin tubes will be in place under your skin to drain excess body fluids or blood for the first day up to 48 hours.
  • Your chest may feel tight due to swelling, which is normal and will gradually improve.
  • Pain medicine: Following your breast augmentation surgery, you will have some discomfort and you may take prescription pain medication the first week after your surgery.
  • Bandages and drains will be removed on your first follow-up visit.
  • Taking a shower: Once your sutures are removed (and your surgeon gives permission) you can shower. This is usually after a day or two.

Breast Augmentation Recovery: The First Week

Your specific post-surgery instructions will be individualized just for you, but you can generally expect the following:

  • You will continue wearing a compression bra, 24 hours a day during your breast augmentation recovery period.
  • Be sure to carefully avoid any impact to your chest throughout the healing and recovery process.
  • Your breasts may feel hard and you’ll experience occasional painful twinges, which may persist for a few weeks.
  • Driving: Don’t drive until after you have stopped taking prescription pain medication. Postpone driving for as long you can to avoid putting a strain on your incisions.
  • Communication: Call your surgeon if you develop a fever, experience excess swelling or pain or if you have any concerns. Do not hesitate to call anytime during recovery and your surgeon will be available to you.
  • Working: Most women are able to return to work in a week in an office environment after breast augmentation.

Breast Augmentation Recovery: Weeks Two through Six

  • Removal of stitches: Your stitches will be removed in 2 to 3 weeks or may be absorbable.
  • Exercising: You may perform light exercise after about three weeks.
  • Strenuous exercise: Do not lift anything over your head and avoid serious workouts for six weeks.
  • Wear a stretchy but supportive sports bra during exercise.
  • First menstrual period: The first period after breast implant surgery may cause pain and swelling in the breasts.

Speeding Your Recovery after Breast Augmentation

Following your surgeon’s post-surgical instructions exactly to ensure quick, proper and complete healing.

Although breast augmentation surgery has a relatively quick recovery period, don’t rush things. For the best recovery experience:

  • Be gentle and take care: make sure that your surgical incisions aren’t bumped or crushed and move slowly and carefully.
  • Warm showers are ideal: A hot shower or lots of steam can make swelling worse, so avoid them for a few weeks. Don’t direct a strong stream of water on your surgery incisions.
  • No smoking or alcohol, which interferes with healing, for at least 2-4 weeks before and after surgery.
  • Stick to a healthy diet and limit salt. Eat foods like lettuce, eggs and yogurt, which may help reduce swelling due to vitamin K content.
  • Keep incisions out of the sun. Once your surgeon gives permission for sun exposure, wear sunscreen at all times. If you leave your scars unprotected, the skin can darken and make scars more noticeable.
  • Breast augmentation scars should be invisible when clothed, even in your bikini.  Your scars will gradually fade and sometimes end up as just thin white lines.
  • Silicone gel or adhesive sheets may help in reducing and flattening scars.
  • Homeopathic medicines for bruising: Try arnica montana beginning a week before surgery and for a few days after, to limit bruising. You can use cream after stitches are removed. The pineapple enzyme, bromelain, may be taken several days before surgery and up to 2 weeks after. You may opt to drink pineapple juice to help reduce swelling.

Breast Implant Surgery: Avoiding Complications

Any surgery has risks, including infection, and breast augmentations are no exception. Be sure to call your surgeon if you experience unusual bleeding, excessive pain or swelling, incision discharge or fever.

There may be slight asymmetry of your breasts as you heal because swelling may not go down at the same rate on both sides.

Breast Augmentation Recovery: Success Tips

Make sure you are a good candidate for breast implants and that you understand risks as well as how your surgery will be performed – by consulting with an expert plastic surgeon(s). Choose your breast surgeon carefully and go into the procedure confidently. Remember, the care that you take during your breast augmentation recovery will ensure that you get the best possible results from your surgery.

Breast augmentation surgery has a very high satisfaction rate and a relatively straightforward recovery process, especially when patients go into it well informed. Don’t rush your recovery; limit your activities as instructed by your surgeon for the quickest recovery and best outcome. As the days pass, the appearance of your breasts will continue to improve and you will feel (and look) better and better.

Get expert advice about breast augmentation at Cohen/Winters Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery in Bergen County.

Surgery is our calling and we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your best body and best quality of life. Find out if you are a good candidate and discuss your breast augmentation goals with us at no charge. Just call for a consultation appointment.

breast surgeon NJ

Dr. Cohen

About Dr. Cohen

Dr. Cohen specializes in breast lifts, augmentations, revisions and reductions as well as breast cancer reconstructions. A long time dream of Dr. Cohen’s was to travel to developing countries and provide expert surgical care to those who have no other possible access to medical care. This became a reality in 2007 when she became a founding member and Vice President of ISMS Operation Kids.