Breast Augmentation Recovery Overview

Breast Augmentation Recovery

Breast augmentation is the number one plastic surgery procedure in the United States. Any type of elective surgery is a big decision, and breast implants are no different. But a breast augmentation isn’t just a surgery.    

Once the surgery is over, the recovery process begins. Because there are so many options as far as implant types, placement and incisions, recovery time varies widely. All patients generally need at least 2 days of rest after the procedure, followed by a period of several days of reduced activity.

What to Expect Immediately After Breast Augmentation

Taking good care of yourself post-op is extremely important. You need to give your body an optimal amount of time to heal and look its best. Here’s what you can expect within the first few days after your surgery:  

  • Surgery is incredibly taxing on the body. You’ll likely feel extremely tired and sore in the days following the procedure. Get plenty of rest.
  • ۲۴ hours after surgery, you may remove the dressings, except for the skin tapes or steri-strips that cover the incisions. Steri-strips are applied with a skin adhesive, so they can be washed over without needing to be removed. Just blot dry with a clean towel. The steri-strips will eventually fall off on their own.
  • You may continue to cover incisions with gauze dressings, as needed, for a week.
  • The chest area may feel tight while the skin adjusts to the implants, which is normal.
  • You may have less feeling in your breasts and nipples in the days immediately following the surgery.
  • Swelling and mild bruising of the breasts is normal after surgery, and will gradually subside over the next several weeks.
  • Your plastic surgeon may start you on breast massage techniques to avoid capsular contracture, speed up recovery and diminish discomfort.
  • Your plastic surgeon may also tell you to wear a soft, yet supportive post-surgical bra, sports bra or wide, elastic bandage around your breasts for help with support and positioning during recovery. Do not wear an underwire bra. The wire can affect the position of the breast implant. Some plastic surgeons advise patients not to wear a bra at all. Follow your surgeon’s instructions.
  • If instructed to wear a bra or compression bandage, remove it to bathe, but put it back on immediately after.
  • Most plastic surgeons will allow patients to shower 24 hours after surgery, but they will request that still water be avoided for 2 weeks after surgery. This includes bath water, swimming pools, hot tubs, whirlpools, lakes, oceans, etc.
  • Many patients return back to work and their daily routine within days of the surgery.
  • If you are sent home with drains, empty the drainage bulb and record the amount of fluid three times per day. It is important to record the amount because this will tell your surgeon when the drains are ready to be removed.  

The next few weeks

After the first week, patients are encouraged to slowly ease back into light exercise and a normal daily routine. The discomfort should be minimal by this point, but doctors advise women to refrain from strenuous or jarring activity like running, horseback riding or rigorous workouts. Heavy lifting is also discouraged until they are fully recovered.

Patients with labor-intensive jobs are recommended to remain out of work for at least three weeks.  

Full recovery

During your follow-up appointment, your doctor will be able to assess how far along your healing has progressed.

Generally speaking, after two months, most patients are fully cleared to resume all normal activities.

It’s vital to follow your doctor’s care instructions closely so that your implants heal properly and there are no complications.


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