What Is It Like to Recover from a Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a type of cosmetic surgery that aims to improve the size, appearance, and shape of the breasts. It’s one of the most common forms of plastic surgery, and women opt for breast augmentation for a variety of reasons:

  • Their breasts may be smaller than they desire.
  • One breast may be a different size than the other.
  • They may have lost volume in their breasts after weight loss.
  • Their breasts may have changed after pregnancy.

If you feel that breast augmentation will boost your body confidence and self-esteem, it may be the right procedure for you. Before you make your decision, it’s important to be aware of all aspects of the procedure, including breast augmentation recovery. Since this is a surgical procedure, you will need to make some accommodations to get the best results and be as comfortable as possible throughout the recovery process.

Breast surgery recovery is different depending on the type of augmentation you choose: with implants or with fat transfer. We’ll examine those differences.

Breast Augmentation Recovery for Implants

Many women who want to improve the appearance of their breasts opt for augmentation with breast implants. This involves inserting artificial implants (silicone, saline, or gummy bear) into the breast area.

How Long Recovery Takes

There is no exact timeline for recovery, since every woman’s body is different. We can estimate a general recovery time based on many women’s experiences. Most plastic surgeons agree that full recovery takes around six weeks. It’s also common for many women to feel perfectly fine just a week after the procedure.

Immediately after the operation, when you awake from the anesthesia, you will most likely feel a bit groggy and sore. After a few hours, these effects should wear off. You will need someone to drive you home and to stay with you overnight. The first three to five days following surgery are usually the most uncomfortable. Over the next few weeks, pain, swelling, and soreness subside, allowing you to resume normal activities.

Your plastic surgeon may recommend you wear a recovery bra for the days and weeks following surgery. This helps to reduce pain and facilitate healing. During the first week after surgery, it’s important to get as much rest as possible.

Pain Medication

For the first few days when recovering from breast implant surgery, you can manage pain and discomfort with over-the-counter pain medicine. For the first 72 hours, your plastic surgeon may recommend a pain injection or pain pump to ease discomfort.

How Long Before You Can Resume Certain Activities

Most women can return to desk jobs a week after surgery. For more labor-intensive jobs, your cosmetic surgeon may suggest you stop working for at least three weeks. After a week, you can slowly ease yourself back into light exercise and your normal daily routine. You shouldn’t do any strenuous activity or heavy lifting until you are fully healed—around six weeks following your breast augmentation surgery.

woman reads under blankets on couch

Breast Augmentation Recovery for Fat Transfer

Some women want breast augmentation but choose to avoid implants because there is some risk of capsular contracture and other complications. They may choose breast augmentation with fat transfer, which involves removing fat from one area of the body via liposuction and transferring it to the breasts.

How Long Recovery Takes

On the day of surgery, you will need a few hours to recover from the anesthesia. Then you will be able to return home the same day. After the procedure, you will likely experience some soreness in your breasts, as well as in the areas that were treated with liposuction. You should spend the first day or two resting.

It’s normal to experience pain for a few days following treatment. Since the incisions made are smaller than those made during implant surgery, you’ll likely have less discomfort. Swelling and bruising from the liposuction tends to only last a few days, while the same feelings of discomfort in the breasts should go away within a couple of weeks.

At the three-month to six-month mark, you should be fully recovered. This means your breasts have achieved their final shape and size. They should also feel completely comfortable and normal.

Pain Medication

Over-the-counter painkillers can help with any mild pain you may notice for the few days and weeks following surgery. You should take any prescribed medication only as directed by your plastic surgeon.

How Long Before You Can Resume Certain Activities

You don’t need to stop doing all activities for the first few days following your fat transfer procedure. In fact, the day after, most women feel well enough to engage in a moderate level of activity. Like with breast augmentation with implants, you should avoid vigorous physical activity and heavy lifting for around six weeks. You can, however, safely resume aerobic training three weeks after treatment. Avoid sleeping on your stomach for four weeks after your fat transfer procedure, and limit sexual activity for the first two weeks. You should be able to return to your job after one week, unless it’s labor-intensive, in which case it’s best to wait a few weeks.

Follow-Up with Your Surgeon

During your breast augmentation recovery, you will have a follow-up visit with your surgeon one week after breast surgery and when you achieve your final results. It’s crucial to attend these follow-up appointments because they give both you and your plastic surgeon a chance to address any issues you’re having or discomfort you’re experiencing and to see how you are progressing.

Recovery is a natural result of any surgery. By understanding what’s involved, you can feel better prepared to make a decision about breast augmentation, and you will give yourself the best chances of a quick recovery with optimal results.



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