Breast implant surgery: recovery stages

Breast implant surgery: recovery stages

05th Oct 2017

After a breast implant, the patient can certainly feel tired and in a bit of pain for the first few days following the surgery. The breasts can remain swollen and sensitive to the touch for a month and even more, in some cases. At the same time, the patient might also experience a particular tension as the skin will try to adjust to the new contours and dimensions of the breasts.

The recovery process after breast augmentation surgery is one of the main concerns of women looking to have this type of procedure done. Some of them have heard that the pain is immediately unbearable and are wondering when it will subside. Others think they will need at least a month off from work to fully recover. The reality is that the recovery is not something to be feared. Of course, there will be a certain level of pain, discomfort, and tension, as well as the body’s need to recuperate for at least a week, but these are all normal steps following any type of breast surgery.

How intense is the pain?

The level of pain is one of the greatest fears of women desiring to get breast enhancement, and it is perfectly understandable. Nobody wants to go through an ordeal just for aesthetic purposes, and the good news is that modern medicine has greatly reduced the level of pain experienced after plastic surgery. Under normal conditions, the post-operative recovery period is not difficult, considering the medication will play an important role in pain management. There are patients who complain about the pain, but what they are really experiencing is the tension and pressure. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there will be no pain after the surgery. Each body reacts differently, with varying pain tolerance levels. The intensity of pain is different from one patient to the other. A breast augmentation with implants is a very individual experience, and this is why there is no standard answer about the level of pain to be experienced.

How long the recovery does last?

The recovery after breast augmentation procedure goes through several stages:

– After three or four hours from the intervention, it is recommended to get out of the bed and start walking around the room. Your surgeon will also advise you to lift your hands slowly, but not too high and certainly not with ample movements. If you had the implants placed under the pectoral muscle, all arm movement might be difficult to perform shortly after the surgery.

– After 8 to 12 hours from the intervention, the patient can be released from the medical facility. It is important to have someone ready to drive you home, as well as help you around the house for the next following days.

– The first two days after the surgery, the patient will probably experience pain and the swelling in the bust area. It is recommended to rest a lot during this time, while still making time to mildly exercise a few times a day to help the metabolism resume its complete functions.

– After three days from the surgery, most patients can resume the daily chores and even go back to work. Keep in mind that you can only return to work if your job doesn’t require strenuous physical exercise or lifting of any kind. Arm extension is still to be avoided and the patients are advised to pay attention even when closing and opening car doors.

– Two weeks after the surgery: the swelling will have subsided and the patient can notice the results of the intervention. The breasts might be a little too high on the chest, but this is not a reason for concern as they will descend into their normal position with time. By this time, most of the patients have already adjusted to the new appearance of their bust.

– The first month after the surgery, you will be required to visit the plastic surgeon again for a checkup. It is important to allow him to monitor your recovery progress, as well as contact him if you notice any abnormal changes in the appearance and feel of the breasts.

– Three months after the surgery, it is usually recommended to avoid sleeping on your tummy in order to avoid unnecessary pressure on your new breasts. By this time you should already regain sensitivity, in case you suffered from loss or changes after the surgery. Also, by now the implants should have settled into their desired position.

– Nine months after the intervention, scars will begin to improve in their appearance.

– One year: by now, the results of your intervention should be permanent. The scars are completely matured; the breasts are settled into their positions and all the short-term side effects and complications of the surgery should be treated already.

Can I still exercise after the surgery?

This is a question we hear often and it usually comes from women who are worried to lose their shape while recovering from breast augmentation surgery. The good news is that after only two weeks from the procedure, you can start resuming physical exercises. The plastic surgeon will advise you to start with short runs and easy aerobics and increase the intensity of the exercises progressively. Keep in mind that for the first few months after the surgery, it is not recommended to lift weights over 4 kg or to get involved in sports that require strenuous arm movement.

Do breast implants come with a life-long warranty?

Breast implants come with a ten-year warranty that can be extended. There are patients with implants for more than ten years and haven’t encountered any problems. At the same time, there are women who need to change implants much sooner than the warranty allows them due to specific complications such as capsular contracture or infection.

The main reason for implant change is the need for patients to have a bigger or smaller bust than the initial breast augmentation has provided. The reality is that almost 25% of implant replacement surgeries take place during the first year after the breast augmentation based on the patient’s desire to change the volume of the implants.

When planning a breast augmentation procedure, it is important to consider additional costs such as revision surgery, implant replacement and so on.


The recovery process is one of the important topics that need to be discussed even from the initial consultation with the plastic surgeon. He will be able to put you at ease by talking about pain tolerance and what kind of treatment is prescribed for pain management. At the same time, the surgeon should also explain in detail the stages of the recovery process. The recovery after the breast augmentation can take up to two weeks, but the final and permanent results of the surgery will be fully visible nine months or a year after the intervention date as this is when the scars will have matured completely.

Some patients can return to work during the first week, while others will need more time to recover at home. This is highly dependent on the patient’s tolerance to pain and discomfort, as well as the type of work the patient has. Ample arm movement is to be avoided for at least a few months after the surgery, especially if the implants are placed under the pectoral muscle.

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