How long does it take to recover after breast augmentation?

How long does it take to recover after breast augmentation?

07th Mar 2018

If you choose to have a breast augmentation procedure, you need to take some time to heal. You can maximize your comfort and reduce the duration of your healing by avoiding strenuous activities and following the instructions of your plastic surgeon as strictly as possible. Generally speaking, it can take between one and two weeks to recover after breast augmentation surgery. The length of the recovery process is dependent on the surgical plan that was followed during the intervention, the patient’s ability to commit to the post-operative protocol, and the occurrence or lack of complications.

In this article, we will discuss the recovery after breast augmentation and how long this process can take.

Rest is essential after breast augmentation surgery

Plastic surgeons generally advise their patients to avoid all types of physically demanding activities and rest sufficiently after breast augmentation surgery. You should avoid bending, lifting, or stretching, as this can delay healing and intensify pain that naturally occurs during the first few days after the procedure. Patients whose jobs do not require intense activity such as lifting objects can normally return to work after a week.

However, if your work requires physical effort, you may need more time to recover before returning to work. In this case, your plastic surgeon can help you determine when to return to work. It is important for the patient to discuss this issue with the plastic surgeon even from the early stages during the pre-operative consultation. Knowing exactly what can be expected and when you might be able to resume your normal activities can give you a certain peace of mind and reduce the post-operative stress considerably.

It is also during the pre-operative consultation that your plastic surgeon will advise you on how to sort things at home to be able to get the much-needed rest after the procedure. In other words, to benefit from a speedy recovery, you will need to prepare your home before going to the clinic to undergo the intervention.

The time required for healing depends largely on the method used to place the implant. The placement of the subglandular breast implant (over the pectoralis muscle) involves a shorter healing time than for patients undergoing sub-muscular breast implant placement (under the pectoral muscle). When the implant is positioned under the mammary gland, the plastic surgeon will only section the soft tissues of the breasts that can recover more quickly after the surgery. However, when the submuscular implant placement is preferred, the surgeon will section the pectoralis muscle, which takes longer to heal. Also, keep in mind that when the submuscular placement is used, the pain after the procedure can be more intense than in the case of subglandular positioning.

Your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions to make your healing time as short and comfortable as possible. By carefully following these instructions, you will enjoy a fast recovery and also avoid potential complications that could otherwise occur.

Rest is important; however, make sure not to lie on the front side of the body while resting as this might trigger unwanted complications such as shifting of the implants or wound opening. Also, for the first few days after the procedure, make sure to take short walks every few hours to prevent blood clotting.

First weeks after breast augmentation surgery

Healing can be painful for the first few days after breast augmentation surgery, and breast pain and fatigue are common. Medications can help patients manage this pain in most cases, but a lack of energy, in addition to discomfort and pain, can persist. If possible, you should have a friend, spouse or family member stay with you and assist you during your recovery. Keep in mind that you will be discharged from the medical facility within hours after waking up from the effects of the general anesthesia that is often preferred for this procedure. This means that the recovery process will start at home and for the first 48-72 hours after the intervention, it is recommended to have someone in the house with you, just in case complications occur or you need help.

Even if the procedure doesn’t require an extended period of hospitalization, this doesn’t mean that upon your return home you can jump right back to your regular activities. The first few days can be difficult for the patient as pain and discomfort will make their occurrence. Also, a slight feeling of tension in the breasts is normal.

For five weeks after the procedure, the plastic surgeon will prescribe antibiotics. Make sure to take them as per the doctor’s orders to avoid the development of a potential infection that can occur during this time.

Starting with the second week, most patients will be able to resume most daily activities, as long as they don’t involve intense physical exercise. Some patients can even return to work, especially if they are in a consulting line of work that doesn’t require an extended presence in the office or intense activities.

First months after breast augmentation surgery

The breasts will be very sensitive during the first few weeks and can be swollen for up to five weeks or more. Until sensitivity decreases, the patient should avoid physical contact with her breasts to reduce the risk of injury or delay healing. The patient must wait about a month after the operation to recover well before resuming any strenuous activity or any intense physical exercise. In most cases, the plastic surgeon might even recommend a longer period of not getting involved in intense activities that can be up to two or three months, depending on how your recovery process is going.

You must be careful and not be too impatient to resume your normal physical activity. If you do not get the necessary recovery time, your breasts can suffer, which will eventually require even more time to heal. This can also lead to a decrease in the quality of the results. Anyone contemplating breast augmentation should discuss the healing process with their plastic surgeon at length to gain a clear understanding of the time required for such an engagement.

Scars after breast augmentation surgery

The incisions of breast augmentation surgery can be located in the inframammary fold, the axilla, or around the areolas. For the first few weeks after the surgery, they can be pink and swollen, but in time, their color will fade and get more similar to the surrounding tissues. The healing of the incisions can take up to a year and sometimes even more. But after this time, there are no more changes to occur that will make your scars look different.

Successful breast augmentation surgery results in discrete scars that are difficult to notice unless looking really intently. Reduce the chances of your scars being visible by following your surgeon’s advice as carefully as possible. When it comes to scarring, it is important to avoid sun exposure for at least six months as skin hyperpigmentation or discoloration can occur. If you have to go to the beach, make sure to keep your breasts covered at all times and wear sunscreen.


Before embarking on the journey to have larger, rounder and more beautiful breasts, it is important to be aware of a few details. Among the questions that are often asked during the pre-operative consultation for breast augmentation surgery is how long it takes to recover after breast augmentation.

The short answer to this question is about two weeks; however, there are many nuances that need to be discussed. For example, after the first few days, chances are most of the pain and discomfort will subside and you can resume your daily activities. After the second week, you can even return to work if your job responsibilities don’t involve intense physical activities. However, it can take up to three months for the side effects like swelling and bruising to subside and even a year for the scars to heal and mature.

Following the recommendations of the plastic surgeon to the letter can ensure you have a speedy recovery and avoid potential complications that could otherwise occur.

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