Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
How Fast Will I Recover from a Breast Augmentation?
Every patient is different, but on average the time period after breast implant surgery to the point where you can return to your regular daily activities is 3-5 days. Strenuous physical exercise should be avoided for up to 6 weeks depending on the type of exercise. It is important to adhere to the post-op guidelines given by your surgeon, which can vary from practice to practice.
This timeline should not be confused with the time it takes for a full recovery from a breast augmentation. It can take up to 3 months for your best results to settle in and for everything to feel completely normal again.
Preparing for Your Surgery
Even though this sounds counterintuitive, your recovery starts before you’ve even begun, by making sure you are prepped well for surgery as well as recovery.
Medications and supplements to avoid:
The first step is to make sure you follow your surgeon’s pre-op instructions. This may involve stopping certain medications and supplements, particularly anything related to heart conditions that has a blood-thinning effect. You may also have to get prior clearance from your cardiologist if you have any serious conditions. Other medications such as anti-inflammatories can increase bruising, which you want to avoid as much as possible. The same is true for certain supplements such as vitamin E, fish oil, gingko and garlic. Pineapple, on the other hand, is known to help minimize bruising. If you are as smoker, you’re advised to stop smoking at least 2 weeks prior to the procedure or it might adversely affect your healing.
Preparing your house:
The week before your surgery date, take time to make arrangements for who will take you home afterwards while you’re still under sedation and can’t drive. It would also be good to have that person or someone else help you around the house at least that first day. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with all the food and ice packs you’ll need for the next few days, you have comfortable clothes you will want to wear, and your bed has enough extra pillows for added comfort.
Recovery Timeline for Breast Augmentation
Day of Procedure
Before you are sent home after your surgery, make sure you have a list of detailed post-op instructions. Ask all the questions you have beforehand to avoid having to call the nurse hotline – but do make sure there is a number you can call if you see anything unusual! Here are some questions you might want to ask if not already covered:
- Which medications, if any, will I be prescribed after my surgery?
- What should I expect in terms of bruising so as not to be worried?
- How often should I change or remove my bandages?
- For when should I schedule my checkup visit and/or to have my stitches removed?
- How long will I have to wear my compression garment, if any?
- When is it safe to take a shower or bath again?
- When is it safe to resume physical exercise such as running or weights?
Your plastic surgeon will also have given you a surgical bra to wear around the clock (only to be taken off to shower or to wash the garment) with instructions for how long to wear it. This period may range from 4-8 weeks – though longer is typically better. It is also best to avoid underwire bras for the first 6 weeks.
First Week After Surgery
Swelling, Itching & Burning:
For the first 3-5 days expect your breasts to be swollen, especially along the upper portion and especially if your implants were placed under the muscle. The implants may appear to be “right under your chin.” Do not worry, this is normal. Itching, burning sensations, and/or twinges that come and go are also normal. You will also likely feel very sore the day after surgery. The swelling will gradually subside, though this may happen at a different pace for each breast. To help with swelling, you can apply ice as indicated by your surgeon. You may be asked to hold off with icing for the first 24 hours. Do not massage your breasts until instructed to do so. Most breast augmentation surgeries do not require the placement of drains, but if your surgeon has placed them, he will give specific care instructions.
The key for the first week is to not do anything that will raise your heart rate above your normal resting rate –this includes intimacy. Stressful activity, exercise, anxiety provoking situations all raise your heart rate and blood pressure. These things increase the chance of bleeding. It is imperative to stay calm and rested for the first 72 hours. As soon as the night after surgery, you should walk around the house a couple of times. You will be stiff and sore. This is to be expected. Your muscles will loosen up as you increase your activity and stretching. If the pain is severe with these exercises, stop. Try again later. If the pain persists or you have other concerns, call the office. Also make sure you avoid sun exposure on the incision site.
Your surgeon will likely want to see you 2-3 days after your surgery to ensure everything looks as expected.
Two Weeks After Surgery
Beginning with the second week, but as early as 3-5 days post-op, you should be able to return to work or your regular daily activities. By the end of 2 weeks post-op you can typically resume light cardio. A full exercise regimen has to wait longer, until about 6 weeks. If you experience any discomfort, discontinue the activity.
Even though you may be cleared for light cardio, running specifically may be difficult at first as your breasts will feel super bouncy. Some patients wear two bras initially to help with this. Again, listen to your body – if it hurts or feels uncomfortable, stop, and try again a few days later. If you’re eager to start exercising, focusing on legs and glutes first might be a good idea.
Your inflammation will have subsided by now and your implants will have taken a more aesthetically pleasing position. However, this process will continue to improve up until the 3 month mark, so don’t be alarmed if you still experience some swelling and bruising at this time.
Three Weeks After Surgery
Most patients will feel mostly back to normal at this point, and beginning to really enjoy their results.
” I had a breast augmentation (something I had wanted for a VERY long time) and so far am extremely satisfied! I doubt I will have anything to worry about later either, as at this point I am only 3 weeks post op!! It is no surprise this practice is rated the best in Memphis for its services!”Jamie O, Breast Augmentation 11/14/21
Six Weeks After Surgery
Depending on the specific instructions of your plastic surgeon, you may now stop wearing your surgical garment/bra. Also ask first before wearing an underwire bra again.
You should now be cleared to resume a full exercise regimen if you haven’t already done so earlier, but again make sure that your surgeon agrees with this. You may also have another follow-up visit at the 4-6 weeks mark. By now your breasts should be well on their way to a full recovery with the aesthetically pleasing shape you expected, but the full results won’t be typically be evaluated until the 3-month mark.
Four Months After Surgery
At this stage you’ll not only be fully recovered with your results clearly visible, you will also see a major improvement in your scar, which will continue to fade even more over time.
“I had a tummy tuck and breast augmentation in May 2022 and didn’t experience any pain, just some discomfort during recovery, and the team was always attentive and professional, the doctor answered all of my questions. It’s been 4 months since my surgery and the scar its almost gone, I am so happy with the results”Karla S, Breast Augmentation & Tummy Tuck 9/22/22
Six Months After Surgery
At 6 months, most patients will no longer see any visible signs of surgery and enjoy their full results. This is typically the time your plastic surgeon will schedule a final visit to assess results and also give you information about maintenance going forward, such as regular implant scans as mandated by the FDA (NuBody Concepts offers free scans to its breast augmentation patients).
A Few Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips
Breast Augmentation Recovery Do’s
- Wear a compression garment/bra after your surgery for as long as the surgeon recommends it. It can help to minimize swelling. Most surgeons include a bra with your surgery, but you may want to purchase a second one to be able to wash them without missing a beat.
- Ensure the surgical incisions stay clean, dry, and bandaged exactly as advised. This typically means to avoid showers and baths for the first 48 hours.
- Take an adequate amount of time off from work. Even though you may feel well enough to work after just 3 days, you might want to give yourself more rest to be safe.
- You are not on bed rest! Begin moving around the house as soon as the evening after surgery. Moving about will decrease the risk of blood clots and also help reduce swelling.
- Make sure you stay well hydrated and minimize your salt intake to encourage circulation and also prevent constipation.
- Ask your plastic surgeon about scar management. Many offices will give out special creams that promote healing, as well as instructions on how to massage the incision site to promote healing.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Don’ts
- Do not sleep on your stomach or side! You do not want to put too much pressure on your healing breasts. To avoid accidentally rolling onto your stomach, it may help to sleep in a recliner or use pillows to prop you up.
- Do not do any heavy lifting. This includes small children and pets. Make sure you put a pet sitting and/or childcare regimen in place beforehand so as to limit any unwanted lifting.
- Avoid smoking altogether, and refrain from alcohol consumption for the first few weeks. Alcohol can lead to fluid retention and dehydration.
Are you considering a breast augmentation with implants in the near future? Contact us today to learn about breast implant options here at NuBody Concepts and how we can best serve you. If you are ready to meet with a surgeon, simply self-schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon in Nashville or Memphis.