Normal Recovery after Breast Surgery – What to expect and watch out for
What is normal and what is not after Breast Surgery
So what’s it like during recovery after breast augmentation? That’s a good question to ask during your research into Breast Augmentation surgery.
Knowing what to expect after breast surgery – as well as understanding that your surgery and recovery experiences will vary from other patients – helps you better prepare for the experience of getting implants. The key thing to remember is to check with your Surgeon and Patient Care Team if you have any questions or concerns during your recovery period. Plus, be sure you read all the materials given to you prior to having your procedure.
Download the Breast Augmentation Surgery Guide
Top 6 Do’s and Dont’s that will help recovery following Breast Augmentation surgery
This may also apply to other breast procedures but is general information only and not intended to replace advice from your Surgeon or Medical Care Coordinators.
1. DO take it easy after your surgical operation
Relax and let your body heal.
- The more you rest in the first 2 weeks, the quicker you will tend to recover and heal.
- No marathons, CrossFit or strenuous exercise for at least the first few weeks after your breast augmentation surgery (until your Surgeon says it’s okay)!
- Listen to your body – don’t overdo it or you could compromise your results!
- Gradually increase your level of activity, but – first – be sure to ask your Surgeon when he or she believes you’re ready for your more arduous workouts or daily activities.
- If it hurts or causes pain, STOP and consult your Surgeon.
Please speak to our medical coordinators about what level of gentle exercise you can start with to get you active again.
2. DON’T ignore feelings of pain and nausea after surgery.
Nausea and pain are closely linked post-breast augmentation surgery, and your recovery will be smoother if you manage both well. Always speak to your Surgeon about this to see what is specifically recommended for you. Of course, extreme pain and nausea can be a warning sign, so always keep your medical team in the loop and seek immediate medical attention if this is extreme or if you or your care team is concerned.
3. DO follow our guidelines for caring for your wounds.
- Depending on the surgery you have had done, you will have an incision that will need to be cared for.
- For the first week, all dressings remain intact.
- We will then take them down and check your wounds at the one-week postoperative appointment.
- We will then guide you on how to manage and care for these wounds to get the best healing outcome and the best scar result.
4. DON’T wear your regular bras after you get implants or a breast lift. Wear a sports bra all the time!
Your new chest needs different support as you recover from your surgical procedure, and from the point of surgery forward to best maintain your breast enlargement results over time.
- Our surgeons will recommend special medical garments for you to wear that will speed recovery time, reduce swelling and help make you more comfortable as you heal. It is important you wear the garments we provide. Definitely no underwire bras for the first 12 weeks.
- Wear a sports bra all the time to keep your breasts supported for best long-term breast augmentation surgery results.
- For special occasions, you can wear a fancier bra or lingerie – but think SUPPORT, SUPPORT, SUPPORT!
- Follow your Surgeon’s instructions for caring for your ‘new’ breasts after breast augmentation surgery.
5. DO eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids.
- Nutrition is crucial to good healing and a quick recovery.
- A balanced diet with plenty of fluids is the key.
- Zinc may also be important during your healing (be sure to get your Zinc levels tested if you think you’re low on this important trace element).
- There are also some special mineral and vitamin supplements that have proven benefits to recover from surgery and other experiences which impact the body.
6. DO expect pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight changes to impact your breast surgery results
Also, be sure you ask about factors that often have significant impacts on the longevity of your results. If you get pregnant, breastfeed, lose or gain a lot of weight, don’t wear the right support bras – or go through other significant events – your results are very likely to change over time.
We can give you advice on how to best maintain your new breasts after surgery, but only you have control over the day-to-day and year-to-year choices that can significantly impact the longevity of your results and your satisfaction with your results over time.
Our reminder: Be sure you wear a great support bra at all times after your breast enhancement surgery – especially if you’re going horseback riding or other high-impact sports.
Don’t get back on the horse too soon after your breast augmentation surgery. Be sure to ask your Surgeon when it’s appropriate for you to get back into your favourite exercises, fitness classes and sporting competitions. Plus, follow your Surgeon’s post-op care instructions exactly to help you get through your recovery period with the best chance for a great outcome and minimal complications.
Tips for Recovery After Breast Augmentation
Reading and asking questions helps you know what’s likely to be a normal recovery response – and what’s not.
- Remember, identifying a potential concern or surgery complication EARLY is crucial to successful treatment – so read all you can in advance.
- Ask questions BEFORE and AFTER Surgery and follow your Surgeon’s post-op instructions precisely.
- Don’t delay in seeking medical attention if you feel you need assistance.
- As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry” so DO contact your Surgeon immediately if you have any concerns.
- Choose your Surgeon carefully
- Breast augmentation surgery remains one of the most frequently requested cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.
- It is considered to be a well-tolerated surgical procedure in healthy patients with no contraindications, but the skill and expertise of your Surgeon – and what you do in the post-op period – ALL count towards having a positive experience and a pleasing result.
- All Surgery, however, has risks; and it’s important to know about what’s normal or not normal.
- You need to have an understanding of what symptoms or healing responses might need additional treatment, e.g, if you have a complication such as a wound infection/wound breakdown, or a hematoma (bleeding under the skin) after surgery.
So finding out what it may be like for your recovery after breast augmentation surgery may help you better prepare for your surgery experience and your post-op period.
- Remember, however, that everyone is unique when it comes to recovery after breast augmentation surgery.
- Your surgery and recovery experience may vary tremendously from another patient’s experiences or results.
- DO expect a degree of variability – you’re an individual and will have a UNIQUE experience.
- Be sure you DO your reading/homework, however. And feel free to ask your Surgeon and Surgery team any and all questions you have about your procedure, healing time and recovery – in advance as well as after surgery – so you know what to expect.
Normal Pain after Breast Augmentation Surgery
- There’s a lot your Surgeon can do to minimise any post-surgical pain, but having manageable discomfort and disrupted sleep for a few days or weeks after your breast surgery is usually common/normal. Read our blog on How to Sleep Better After Breast Surgery.
- Recognise that SOME patients feel a lot of discomforts and others hardly any discomfort (this partially depends on your genetics and your individual responses to discomfort, and partially to pain management strategies).
- Severe pain, redness/heat and extreme swelling or bruising will need immediate investigation; as will any other symptom that has you feeling concerned.
- Some patients may have unexpected complications – which can delay healing and recovery or lead to re-operation – so be sure you choose your Surgeon carefully so that you know you’re in good hands throughout the surgery AND during your early recovery process.
Breast Surgery Recovery: Patient-Safety is our first priority – it should be yours as well.
- Breast surgery is considered to be safely performed for suitable candidates, but that does not mean it has no risks.
- Like all surgeries, elective or otherwise, breast surgery carries both minor risks, such as treatable skin infections (not uncommon), as well as major risks, which are fortunately rarer.
- Yet breast augmentation surgery is still a major surgical procedure and should never be taken lightly.
- You’re best off to find out WHAT type of Surgeon is going to be operating on you and WHICH location/facility you’ll be in.
Timeline for Recovery after Breast Augmentation
Recovery after Breast Surgery – are there any normal time frames to keep in mind?
- It varies from patient to patient, so these are just general guidelines only.
- But most healthy patients who don’t have a complication can go back to work about 2 weeks (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) after surgery.
- It often depends on the physical demands of your job as well as how you heal.
- Ask your Surgeon for details and whatever you do, don’t increase your risks by smoking OR by doing too much, too soon! Allow adequate time to heal.
Many breast surgery patients take at least a week off work, but for some, two weeks might be better – it depends on your job and the type of procedure you’re having.
- Different occupations have different return dates. Read the Best time to have for Cosmetic Surgery – Planning your surgery date.
- Surgery involves between two weeks to several month’s recovery time, depending on the type of procedure you have.
- For breast augmentation as a primary procedure, allow 1-2 weeks away from normal duties (average) but DO ask your Surgeon – you may need more.
- It’s important to realise that adjusting your lifestyle for optimal recovery can take some advanced planning.
- It’s also important to realise that surgery recovery can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times. Read the Common Emotions & Feelings After Cosmetic Surgery.
As part of your planning for surgery, it’s good to recognise that you may not be cleared to exercise again for several weeks (or months).
It’s also helpful to know that you’ll need to wear special post-op garments and support bras at all times; this includes at night whilst sleeping – which can improve your chances for best long-term breast augmentation results.
- The GUIDE links above can help you know what to expect – be sure you download them and read them.
- They do not constitute medical advice, however. Every patient is different.
- It’s CRUCIAL and important that you speak directly with your SURGEON to find out what’s best for YOUR specific operation and recovery.
- Make sure you get your Surgeon’s full clearance BEFORE returning to normal activities, particularly strenuous exercise, high impact sports or very warm environments such as steam rooms.
Additionally, residual discomfort after having breast surgery – along with breast incision scars – may take many months before they become minimised. Speak to your Surgeon to find out what to expect.
Breast Surgeries have different recovery times and every woman is unique, so your recovery guidelines are simply that – estimated time frames (not guarantees) which can vary tremendously between patients.
Different Breast Operations have different recovery times or time frames.
For example, a Breast Lift without Implants (Mastopexy) will have a shorter recovery time than Breast Implants with a Breast Lift (Augmentation-Mastopexy), or a Breast Reduction Surgery, which are even more complex procedures.
Recovery time frames for breast augmentation and other breast surgeries depends on numerous factors, including unexpected complications and your adherence to post-op protocols.
Follow your unique post-op patient care plan and your Surgeon’s instructions
- Your nutritional intake, your lifestyle, your medical history, your genetics and your healing responses will ALL interact and CAN significantly impact your recovery time.
- Be sure you eat well, rest properly and DO NOT EVER SMOKE.
- How well you adhere to your Surgeon’s post-op requirements including resting, not exercising too soon, wearing the right SUPPORT BRAS/SUPPORT GARMENTS – and taking care of yourself nutritionally – also impacts your healing and recovery – and your long term results!
Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons will give you a post-operative care plan – just for you – according to the type of procedure you have had performed. Be sure to ask if you have any questions and let us know immediately (or contact your GP or available Medical Service Providers) if you have any post-op healing concerns.
Breast Augmentation and Recovery: Is this normal?
That noted you might benefit from general tips about what to do, look out for and avoid after getting implants or other breast enhancement surgery.
This information is general in nature and should not be considered medical advice. This information should not replace your Surgeon’s specific post-op healing instructions.
Some common concerns to breast surgery patients are:
- How much pain is normal after breast surgery?
- Is it normal for my breasts and nipples to have different sensitivity after surgery?
- Do I need to massage the breasts after having implants?
- What can be done to minimize scarring?
- Do I need to change the type of bra I wear?
Some pain, nausea and discomfort are all a normal part of recovery, but anything that seems alarming to you (or of concern to you, your friend, family or support circle) should immediately be reported to your Surgeon or available medical care professionals.
If you’re concerned at all, contact us immediately for assistance and advice (or contact emergency medical services or your local GP).
Breast Surgery is a Collaboration and Teamwork works best – each of us has a responsibility in getting an optimal recovery and surgery result
As discussed in your consultation, Surgery is a collaborative effort between the Surgeon and Patient.
You AND your Surgical team each have unique, individual responsibilities to help provide for optimal surgical outcomes. That responsibility includes your timely reporting of any symptoms or post-op concerns in a timely manner and following the exact advice of your Surgeon for all aspects of your post-operative care – including wearing the right garments, caring for your incision wounds, and not returning to exercise or other strenuous activities until you’ve healed adequately and have been cleared by your Surgeon to do so.
Different Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery
Breast implant surgery RECOVERY time frames can VARY from patient to patient. Because NO TWO PEOPLE – not even identical twins – will have the exact same surgery recovery experiences.
In general, however, you’ll need to allow 1 to 2 weeks to fully rest and recover after having a breast augmentation/breast implant surgery procedure.
Breast Augmentation Recovery: TOP TIPS for Breast Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery
- RECOGNISE that everyone heals differently
- READ the instructions your Surgeon gives you for post-surgery aftercare (Post-Surgery Recovery Guides and related materials)
- DO follow your Plastic Surgeon’s instructions carefully
- DON’T do anything foolish like smoking or trying to exercise or drive too soon
- ALERT your Plastic Surgeon immediately if you suspect a complication or infection
- BE PATIENT – recognise that if you experience a complication or infection, this can slow down the recovery time; allow for flexibility to reduce your post-op stress
- REMIND yourself WHY you wanted larger breasts (post your BEFORE photo where you can see it)
- KNOW that your healing and recovery time shall pass in just a few weeks’ time* (*most patients)
Is it painful to recover from having Breast Implant surgery?
- Some patients experience short-term discomfort and/or longer-term discomfort
- Most discomfort or pain is managed by over-the-counter pain medications and/or local anaesthetic
- Consult your Surgeon if you need more assistance during your initial recovery
- Remember, wearing a support bra 24/7 is imperative for getting a good result AND for enhancing your recovery comfort as you heal
Post-Surgery HOME CARE and HOME assistance
- Having a good SUPPORT system at HOME can aid your recovery
- CHOOSE very supportive friend(s) and/or family to be close by to assist you for 1 to 2 weeks
- Don’t drive, lift small children or perform other strenuous activities until your Surgeon gives you the ‘all clear’
Emotions and Sleeping after Breast Surgery
- Recognise that you might feel emotional after having surgery – keep your BEFORE photo handy as you heal
- EXPECT initial difficulty sleeping
- ASK your Surgeon which resting POSITIONS are required (you may need to rest/sleep elevated or propped up for a few days and avoid sleeping in face-down positions)
- BE sure you have a COMFORTABLE room and BED to rest in
- TIP: create a pampering healing space before your operation
Read How to Sleep Better after Breast Surgery for more information.
GOOD distractions can be helpful as you heal
- You may initially experience discomfort or potential sensation changes after surgery, but discomfort tends to abate over a period of several weeks
- TIP: It can help to have BOOKS, VIDEOS/FILMS, NETFLIX and/or RELAXATION and MEDIATION RECORDINGS on hand to help keep you occupied or distracted during your recovery
Attend Follow-Up and Post-Surgery Consults
- You’ll need to ATTEND follow up appointment(s)/post-op examinations; some patients may need external sutures removed
- TIP: Before attending the clinic, ASK us about our special post-surgery Healite II treatments (low-level light therapy) and facial treatments available at Coco Ruby – the Clinic is in the same location as your Melbourne follow-ups (*not in Berwick)
How LONG is the recovery after breast implant surgery?
- The length of your Recovery Period will depend on:
- your specific procedure
- your body’s unique responses to surgery
- other factors
- As above, Recovery time frames CAN VARY; but in general
- normal recovery after breast augmentation tends to require from 1-2 weeks away from work and other activities
- you may need 4 to 6 weeks or longer BEFORE resuming certain more strenuous activities
- Some activities MAY need to be postponed for a few more months after surgery (some Surgeons suggest waiting longer before resuming high impact sports such as boxing or horse riding) – ask your Surgeon!
- TIP: Scar maturation takes up to 12 months to ‘settle’ – until then, they are typically pinkish or darker in colour
ATHLETE’s TIP: If you’re a competitive athlete, television presenter or model who’s getting breast implants, DO ask your Plastic Surgeon about scheduling your surgery at the BEST time for your schedule to ALLOW for adequate healing and recovery time frames.
Plus – ask how having larger breasts after getting implants might impact your exercise routines.
Best blog to read next: Tips for Cosmetic Surgery Recovery: Emotions after having Cosmetic Surgery
Can you do anything to speed up your recovery after breast implant surgery?
Breast Augmentation Recovery: You will need to work with your Surgeon to allow for adequate and proper healing and recovery time after getting breast implants.
Rapid Recovery after a Breast Augmentation – the package that MAY help you recover more quickly
- We do all we can to help you heal faster and stay more comfortable as you recover after getting implants
- But you DO need to allow adequate recovery time no matter what
- DON’T risk your results by doing too much, too soon or by smoking
- That noted, find out about our RAPID RECOVERY PACKAGE and light-treatment protocols.
We’ve nicknamed it ‘the Science & Love’ surgery recovery pack.
- This package contains evidence-based products to facilitate your healing
- PLUS some pampering products to use whilst you rest and recover
- TIP: Read the Rapid Recovery Guide Book and ask your Surgeon’s team how to make the most of the items in the rapid surgery recovery pack.
It is important to work collaboratively with your Plastic Surgeon at all times – follow your Surgeon’s recommendations after having breast implants.
- TIP: To maximise the LONGEVITY of your Breast Surgery results and reduce complication risks, it is important to maintain a healthy, nutritious lifestyle and to wear the right support bra.
- Understand that CHANGES to your weight/body mass index (BMI), health and lifestyle may impact your results (pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain or weight loss).
After your recovery, be sure you SCHEDULE and ATTEND all follow-up appointments – including ANNUAL REVIEWS by your Melbourne Surgeon – and alert your operating Surgeon to any concerns about having breast implants.
Searching for a good Breast Augmentation surgeon in Melbourne? REVIEW the surgical experiences of some of Melbourne’s top Breast Augmentation Surgeons.
Learn More – Read the FREE Guides
To learn more about breast augmentation surgery, you can contact us confidentiality using the enquiry form below. Or you can give a Patient Care Coordinator a call on 1300 264 811
Download our free guides or phone 1300 264 811 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.
Read more about Recovery after Breast Reduction
Always choose a Plastic Surgeon
*Disclaimer: Each surgery result and experience is unique and can vary significantly. Surgery is serious and should never be taken lightly. Every patient is unique and surgical results, healing time frames and returning to exercises and other daily activities can vary a lot from patient to patient. You will get customised information about recovery time frames and returning to exercise during your pre-surgical consultations with your Plastic Surgeon and Nursing Team.