Breast Augmentation Recovery - Week-by-Week Guide 2024
Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery right now. Many patients find that it helps them feel more confident, both physically and mentally. If you're planning an upcoming breast augmentation procedure, you might be wondering what to expect from the recovery process. In this article, we'll take a look at exactly what to expect, from the first moments after your surgery to the final recovery weeks later.
How Long Will Breast Augmentation Recovery Take?
The exact recovery timeline for breast augmentation varies between patients, but usually lasts between four and six weeks. The length of your recovery will depend on factors like your overall health and the exact breast augmentation technique used for your surgery.
Is There A Difference Between Breast Lift and Breast Reduction Recovery Time?
Breast augmentations, breast lifts, and breast reductions are all popular cosmetic surgery procedures that enhance the appearance of the breasts. Augmentation uses implants to change the size and shape of the breast. A breast lift adjusts the breast skin and tissue to create a more supple, lifted appearance. Alternatively, a breast reduction reduces and reshapes the breast, resulting in smaller and lifted breasts.
Breast lifts and breast augmentations have very similar recovery processes that last about six weeks. However, a breast reduction has a slightly longer recovery period that usually lasts about eight weeks.
Prior to your breast augmentation, you'll have a consultation with your plastic surgeon. During this appointment, your surgeon will discuss the procedure with you in-depth and let you know exactly how to prepare.
In the weeks leading up to your surgery, it's important to practice healthy habits. This will help your body heal faster after the procedure. Hydrate, eat a high-protein diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals, rest, and avoid stress. If you smoke, now's the time to quit - talk to your doctor if you need support through this process.
How to Prepare Before Your Breast Surgery
You'll need to schedule time off from work or school for your breast augmentation. Most patients need to take 4-7 days away from the office, but you may need even more time off if you have a physically demanding job. You will also need someone to drive you home from surgery and care for you during the first few days of recovery, so be sure to reach out to family and friends to get the support you need.
You'll also want to take a pre-surgery shopping trip to pick up all of the items you'll need during recovery. Having things like ice packs, comfy pillows, and loose clothing on hand will make the recovery process easier. Get you prescription medications filled prior to surgery. You may also want to prepare meals ahead of time, as tasks like cooking will be difficult during the recovery process.
Day of Surgery
Most breast augmentation procedures are done under general anesthesia. You'll need to avoid eating or drinking for approximately 8 hours prior to the surgery. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will give you specific guidelines beforehand to help you prepare.
The breast augmentation procedure takes one to three hours to complete. It is done as an outpatient surgery, which means that you will be able to return home afterwards. However, you will need someone to drive you home. Most patients continue to feel groggy for several hours after surgery. Mild nausea is also a common side effect of anesthesia, but should wear off quickly.
What to Consider After The Surgery
It's important not to rush recovery after your breast implant surgery. Make sure to take plenty of time to rest and let your body heal before returning to your normal routine. It's particularly important to have support from family and friends during the initial recovery period so that you don't have to over-exert yourself completing routine tasks. Try to keep stress to a minimum, stay hydrated, and eat a nutritious diet during the healing process, all of which will help your body heal faster.
Make sure to attend every follow-up appointment and reach out to your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns during the healing process. It's also very important to check in with your surgeon before trying any strenuous activities for the first time post-surgery.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline - Days and Weeks Post-Op
Here's a complete look at the breast augmentation recovery timeline and what to expect.
During the first day after surgery, you'll feel tightness and be sore accompanied by swelling. Take your pain medication as directed and use cold compresses to keep the swelling under control. Try to rest and relax as much as possible, using extra pillows for support if you feel uncomfortable. Stand up and walk around gently every few hours to stimulate blood flow. Sleep on your back to avoid putting pressure on your breasts.
After your surgery, your doctor will give you a surgical bra. You'll need to continue to wear this bra as directed for about two weeks. You will also have a bandage under the bra covering the incision site. Keep this bandage on for the first three days. Your surgeon will provide guidance about showering and changing the bandages.
During the first week, bruising and pain will fade, and you'll be able to resume some basic daily activities, such as showering. Swelling will increase until the third day of surgery and will start to subside after that point. You will need to continue wearing your surgical bra and avoid movements that could strain your incisions, such as lifting your arms over your head.
In most cases, you will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor during the first week. At this point, they will remove your stitches if necessary and assess your healing.
Most patients can return to work or school 7 to 10 days after surgery. You will still need to refrain from strenuous exercise, but going for gentle walks will help with circulation. Keep in mind that your breasts are still settling and that some swelling and even asymmetry may be present.
At the two week mark, most of the swelling in your breasts will have subsided. Your breasts will start to look and feel more natural, although you may still notice some asymmetry as they heal. At this point, you'll be able to stop wearing the surgical bra and switch to wearing a soft sports bra.
Around three weeks after surgery, you will be able to resume gentle exercise according to your surgeon's instructions. Walking or using the stationary bike are good exercise options during this period. Avoid weight lifting, swimming, or any other exercises that could irritate your incision or put strain on your upper body. Be sure to use sunscreen to protect any exposed skin on your chest when you're spending time outside.
After the first month, your breasts will start to settle and look close to the final results. You may still experience occasional discomfort, but this will subside. Your scars will have faded significantly at this point as well.
You will also be able to resume more intensive exercise at this point. However, make sure to clear these activities with your surgeon ahead of time.
At this point, you will see the final results of your surgery. Swelling and discomfort will have completely subsided, so you can resume your normal routine. Your scars will continue to improve, and it's important to continue to use sunscreen.
Complications After Breast Augmentation
After your breast augmentation, monitor your breasts for potential complications. Complications from breast augmentation surgery are rare, but may include infection and bleeding. If you developer fever with redness and pain, or noticeable swelling on one side, contact your surgeon to be evaluated.
After breast augmentation, it's important to watch for signs of capsular contracture. This happens when the scar tissue your body produces hardens and contracts around the breast implant. This can be painful and can also cause the breast implant to change shape and move over time.
In rare cases, breast implant patients may also experience pain, rash, difficulty concentrating, and chronic fatigue. This is sometimes associated "breast implant illness". This is a rare condition that you should discuss with your surgeon.
It's also possible for breast implants to move, leak, or rupture over time. Additionally, breast implant surgery can result in changes to nipple sensation.
If you develop any concern, contact the medical practice for evaluation.
Tips For A Successful Breast Augmentation Recovery
To ensure that your recovery goes smoothly, adhere closely to all instructions provided by your surgeon. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're unsure of anything - the more prepared you are, the easier your recovery will be.
Healthy habits will also help your body heal quickly. Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, resting and positive thought will aid in the recovery process.
Schedule A Consultation Today
If you're unsatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, breast augmentation can help boost your confidence and give your breasts a natural yet full look. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Orloff at Burbank Plastic Surgery today to learn more.
How painful is breast augmentation recovery?
You'll experience mild to moderate pain in the first couple of days after your breast augmentation. This pain will slowly subside during the first week. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication, and may encourage you to switch to over-the-counter options.
What to buy for breast surgery recovery?
Before your breast augmentation, you'll want to go shopping and make sure you have everything you need for a speedy recovery. It's particularly important to have comfortable button-down or zip-up shirts to wear. Comfortable sports bras will also be helpful later in your recovery.
You'll also want to make sure to have ice packs and comfortable pillows on hand. You should also have pain medication on hand, both prescription and over-the-counter.
What are common situations where I should call my doctor?
You should seek emergency care immediately if you develop signs of infection, such as extreme redness, vomiting, or fever. You should also contact your surgeon if your swelling or pain doesn't subside or gets worse.
How long should I take off work after a breast augmentation?
Most patients return to work or school 4-7 days after surgery, but they'll still need to refrain from strenuous exercise. The exact amount of time can vary depending on the individual's job and how their body responds to the surgery. Some may need up to 2 weeks or more to recover, especially if their job involves heavy physical activities. Always consult with your surgeon to determine the ideal recovery timeline for you.
What should I expect during the first week following my breast implant surgery?
Following your breast implant surgery, you might experience soreness and swelling. This is a normal part of the breast implant recovery process. It's crucial to rest and follow your plastic surgeon's instructions to optimize healing. Strenuous physical activity should be avoided during the first week of recovery.
Is breast enlargement surgery and breast augmentation the same thing?
Yes, they're the same. Breast augmentation is one type of breast enlargement surgery. The procedure involves the surgical placement of breast implants to increase breast size and enhance breast shape and volume.
How significant are bruising and swelling during breast implant recovery?
Bruising and swelling are common after undergoing a breast augmentation procedure. Typically, these signs start to subside by the end of the first week. Wearing the supportive bra provided by your surgeon can help reduce swelling.