If you are considering breast augmentation, it is important for you to know what to expect after the surgery. What is the typical breast augmentation recovery time? When can I go back to work? When can I resume my normal activities? How bad will the swelling be day by day during breast augmentation recovery? Knowing what the breast augmentation recovery timeline looks like can help you be better prepared and make your experience smoother. The timeline can vary depending on the type of breast augmentation surgery you have.
Every woman’s recovery experience will be as unique as they are so the timeline for breast augmentation recovery can be a bit different for everyone. Most surgeons agree that the predicted timeline for a full breast augmentation recovery is around six weeks. Some women reported they felt almost back to normal after one week. Dr. Angelina will outline a projected timeline for you based on your overall health and situation.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline
You will need someone with you to take care of you for at least the first 24 hours. They will need to drive you home from the procedure and help you with even routine things when you get home: using the restroom, getting something to eat or drink, helping situate you comfortably in a recliner, etc.
You will be coming out of the anesthesia and may feel groggy, nauseous, and sore for several hours. You will NOT be allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for several weeks. For you, this may mean your children, so you may need a plan for assistance with the little ones for a few weeks.
The First Week
The timeline for a breast augmentation recovery week by week may look slightly different for everyone. The average patient will most likely experience pain and discomfort until about day 5 requiring the pain medication the surgeon will prescribe. The surgeon may even recommend a pain pump or a pain injection for the first three-day period. Over-the-counter pain medications should help with any discomfort after day 5 and many women can return to desk jobs at the 7-day mark.
Weeks 2 & 3
After you get through the first week, typically the hardest for most, you should have only minimal discomfort and should gradually improve each day. You can ease back into some light exercise and resume some normal activities. You will still not be ready to go jogging or engage in any activities that are considered strenuous or “jarring’.
If your job is labor-intensive, you should not return to work until you are cleared to do so by your surgeon. You should be eating small but frequent meals consisting of healthy foods that promote healing as well as staying properly hydrated.
Week 4 and After
You will most likely have a follow-up appointment during this time and should be feeling like yourself again. Your surgeon will discuss your healing progression with you and may clear you to participate in certain or all activities or to return to work.
Most women can resume all their normal activities after about two months.
Following the aftercare protocol given to you by your surgeon is vital to ensure a timely recovery that is free from complications.
Swelling After Breast Augmentation
Many women have questions about swelling after a breast augmentation. After any surgery including breast augmentation, swelling is normal. The swelling you experience day by day during your breast augmentation recovery will depend on the type of augmentation you had.
Patients who have breast implants will experience swelling that normally peaks around day 3 or day 4. Swelling will gradually subside during breast augmentation recovery week by week, however, it is not unusual for some minimal swelling to last up to three months.
If your implants were positioned under your chest muscle or you had very large implants, you may experience a higher degree of swelling that may last longer. Also, patients with health conditions like diabetes may have more day-by-day swelling after a breast augmentation than other patients.
Tips To Help Treat Day-By-Day Swelling After Breast Augmentation Or Implants
To help alleviate the day-by-day swelling after breast augmentation surgery and make their recovery process as smooth as possible patients should:
- Get plenty of rest;
- Faithfully wear their compression bra after surgery;
- Try to remain as elevated as possible;
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and drink plenty of water;
- Follow the surgeon’s postoperative aftercare directions;
- Take prescribed medications;
- Avoid hot showers and baths;
- Apply cold compresses as directed.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips
Wear Your Recovery Bra Faithfully
You will be required to wear a breast augmentation recovery bra to promote healing and provide support to your breasts. This will alleviate some discomfort, keep implants from shifting as well as prevent complications such as lymphedema. There are different types of bras available depending on the type of augmentation you had. It would be wise to purchase a few and have them ready so you will be prepared after your surgery. Follow the instructions of your surgeon on which bra to wear and how to wear it.
Don’t Rush Your Recovery
Limit your activity during the first few weeks. You mustn’t overdo it even if you seem to be “feeling great”. Taking care of yourself is going to help your recovery be smoother and faster. Having meals prepared in advance, housework caught up and a plan in place for any little ones will make it easier when you return home after your surgery. You can also request post-op prescriptions from your surgeon and get them the day before your surgery so you will have your medications accessible as soon as you need them.
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is important during your recovery. It is very important not to sleep on your stomach or side after breast augmentation surgery as it can cause things to shift affecting the final results of your breast augmentation. It is recommended that for the first several days you sleep in an elevated position to help reduce fluid buildup and swelling. It will also help your circulatory system and keep pressure off your breasts.
After your surgery, your upper body (arms and chest) muscles will be sore and need to heal so your surgeon will want you to minimize using these muscles for a few weeks. Many patients find that sleeping in a recliner is the way to go, as it naturally creates an elevated position and does not require the use of your upper body to rise to an upright position.
You can begin sleeping on your back after the swelling and bruising have gone down. Speak with your surgeon about when it is safe to assume side sleeping but sleeping on your stomach is taboo until your surgeon gives you the all-clear!
Help Your Body Heal
The better you care for yourself after your breast augmentation surgery, the faster you will heal. Your body needs you to do your part; supply it with healthy foods, hydration and sleep so it can optimally do its job. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night or more if you are able.
Keep in mind that you will be sore and tired, preparing as much in advance as possible, to ensure you get the rest you need when you return home. Follow the instructions from your surgeon and keep communication lines open voicing any concerns or questions you may have.
Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple board-certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer breast augmentation to patients in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Buckhead, and other surrounding areas of Atlanta, Georgia.