What To Expect During Breast Augmentation Recovery
The approximate total recovery time for a breast augmentation is about one month. Normally, you are back to most normal day-to-day activities within three or four days. This would include driving your car. If your job is more of a sedentary desk type of work, normally you can return to this type of activity within three or four days. We tell our patients not to raise their elbows above their shoulders for three weeks and try not to lift more than five pounds for three weeks.
Recovery is very much based on the patient and we recommend consulting your board certified plastic surgeon for a proper evaluation.
Sample Recovery Timeline Following Breast Augmentation Surgery:
Days 1-4: Inflammatory period
Marked by swelling, pain, discomfort, and early risk for bleeding in the first 24 hours. This is the period that requires pain medication. Some surgeons recommend moving your arms to minimize spasm pain. Bruising may also appear and fluid retention is common.
It is generally okay to shower and get wounds briefly wet if permitted by a surgeon. Your belly may be swollen as the swelling moves down your body. You might also have possible constipation due to pain meds. Pain tends to diminish during the day with less need for meds, however, pain tends to occur at night from 3-6am and is worse with sub-muscular placement. Bruising will begin to stabilize and you might want to begin implant displacement exercises if permitted by a surgeon. The period between 7-10 days is when you should watch for signs of bleeding or infection.
You will now have a lowered risk of infection and bleeding. Increased physical activity is allowed such as low impact exercises avoiding upper extremity resistance exercises. The vast majority of initial capsule formation occurs during this period. Also, the vast majority of swelling begins to subside. You’ll have occasional pain at night.
Your nerves begin to wake up and may cause that ”pins and needles” sensation to the nipple area. It is normal to have some areas of skin numbness. More aggressive implant displacement exercises (or breast massage) can begin.
This is generally a plateau period in terms of wound healing. Not a lot of changes as the remaining 20% of the capsule tends to be formed during this period, and it is rare to require any pain meds. It’s generally ok to switch to ibuprofen or Tylenol, but consult with your physician first. You may also begin the transition from low impact activities to higher impact aerobic activities and begin a slow, but gradual progressive course of upper extremity resistance exercises.
Days 42 – 9 Months
You’ll have progressive relaxation of scar tissues and soften of the initially firm result, with the descent of the implant and resolution of the remaining 5-10% of swelling. It is at this point that the breasts generally become softer and develop a jiggle.
During this time, most patients take “ownership” of the implants and they become part of their body image, but this varies tremendously among patients. This is also a common time period where patients may feel that they didn’t go big enough.
Although the breasts become stable in their appearance, it is important to realize that they are never stable and always changing with the greatest amount of change occurring with pregnancy, weight gain, and menopause.