Often patients ask us what to expect after breast augmentation surgery. Our medical professionals aim to use innovative techniques that minimize your downtime and recovery, but as with any surgical procedure, breast augmentation has a recovery process you’ll want to understand. From how to sleep, to exercising and expectations about swelling, we want to make sure you are educated about the breast augmentation recovery process if you’re choosing to have breast augmentation. Here are some of the most frequent questions our patients ask us:
How long will I have pain during my breast augmentation recovery?
Since every patient is different, it isn’t possible to say exactly how long you’ll have pain after your operation. Immediately after surgery we’ll give you pain medication to help with the initial pain, which generally lasts 1 – 4 days. You’ll want to stop using this prescription pain medication as soon as you are able to. Over the next few weeks your pain level should continue to decrease until it is gone. You can aid in lowering the discomfort you feel by resting, avoiding heavy lifting, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever when you need to. If you continue to experience pain, or have more pain than you believe is normal for your stage of recovery, please contact us right away.
Will I have pain and extra sensitivity in my nipples?
It is expected that patients may have some nipple pain after surgery, but only a small number of those patients have sharper pain or a burning feeling caused by light touch. If you’re feeling shooting-type pains, or a ‘pins and needles’ sense of burning, this could be dysesthesia. Dysesthesia means that the implant may be putting pressure on a nerve. This is generally not something to worry about, and the hypersensitivity should dissipate within 2 – 6 weeks after surgery as swelling goes down. Massage and the natural healing process should get rid of this pain, but please speak to us if you have any concerns.
My breasts feel very firm after surgery. Will they get softer?
Yes. The reason your breasts feel firm after surgery is because of the swelling. Breast implants themselves are soft, and do not harden. However, during breast augmentation recovery, you can expect to have a moderate amount of swelling, which will subside over time. As the swelling reduces, you’ll notice your breasts start to feel softer. Another factor that can affect how firm your breasts feel is the tightness of your skin. Someone who had looser skin to begin with, can expect a softer breast-feel after surgery. Someone who had tight skin before the operation, may have firmer feeling breasts during the adjustment period.
Should I massage my breasts after augmentation surgery?
While each case is different, generally massage after surgery can be beneficial. For most patients, it’s best to wait until after your first post-operative visit before you begin massage. This allows for an initial healing period. After the first few days of recovery, massage can be used to: lower implants that sit slightly higher than you want; reduce asymmetry between the breasts; aid in stretching tight skin; and reduce scar tissue. You’ll want to develop a routine for your massage so you stay consistent – which could include several minutes of massage in the shower each morning, and several minutes after you brush your teeth at night. Since each patient’s recovery is different, your surgeon will give you specific instructions about massage or movement exercises after your breast augmentation.
How long will my breasts be swollen after surgery?
It’s completely normal to have swelling after breast augmentation. This will go away over time. You should see some improvement in the first month, and almost all the swelling should be gone at 2 -3 months after surgery. Remember, your body needs time to adjust to the changed shape of your breasts, so not only will the swelling go down, but your skin and muscles will adjust around the new implants also.
I’m worried my breast implants were placed too high. What should I do?
During the breast augmentation recovery period, it’s very normal for your implants to be sitting high in your chest. This is because we place them in a certain position, knowing that gravity will help them settle to a lower, natural placement over the months following surgery. Within 3 months of your operation you’ll see a noticeable dropping of the implants, and after 6 months you should find that your breasts are in a natural position. We are always happy to speak to you if you’re concerned, but it is expected that your implants will seem “too high” at first.
Do I have to sleep on my back after breast augmentation?
If you think about how many hours you spend in bed, you’ll see why the position you sleep in is important after breast augmentation. We recommend you sleep on your back for at least 6 weeks after your surgery. Ideally, you’ll always stay sleeping on your back. This position allows for symmetry you won’t get if you sleep on one side. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for people with breast augmentation. Sleeping on your back has extra benefit because it is also the best position in terms of minimizing face and chest skin wrinkles.
How soon can I wear a push-up bra?
You should wait at least 6 weeks before wearing a pushup bra. We want the implants to settle into place before wearing a bra that will change their position, and wearing a pushup bra too soon can result in implants that are too high. It’s important for gravity to help your implants settle into a natural curve. At that point, wearing a pushup bra will be fine. We also ask you to wait at least 6 weeks before wearing an underwire bra, because it can cause irritation.
How soon after surgery will I be able to lift my toddler?
For at least 2 weeks after your breast augmentation, you should avoid lifting. This will allow your body to heal and lower risk of bleeding or moving of the implants. Ideally we ask you to wait until 6 weeks after surgery to lift anything heavy, but we also know the reality of life with a toddler. Waiting 2 weeks, or 4+ if possible, will give your body a good chance of healing well. When you do lift, use careful form and lift with your legs instead of your upper body muscles.
When can I exercise after breast augmentation surgery?
You are welcome to do some mild movement right after your breast augmentation surgery. Taking short, slow walks can be beneficial for recovery, but keep your arms still as much as possible. After 2 weeks, you can begin taking more brisk walks. After 6 weeks, your body should be healed enough that you can resume all your normal activities.
At Athenix we prioritize not only safety and excellent results, but also patients who are confident in the entire journey of their procedure. When you have surgery with us, we want you to be a patient who understands what to expect after breast augmentation surgery, and feels educated and supported by our whole team. If you have any questions before or after your procedure, we are always here to help you.