Pain relief tips after a breast enhancement surgery

Pain relief tips after a breast enhancement surgery

06th Aug 2019



Breast enhancement procedures are commonly performed nowadays in all parts of the world. The procedures performed to either lift or augment the breasts are very much in demand as they are the only methods that can be used to achieve such results on the breasts. There is no other natural solution to elevate the breasts or to make them bigger, hence more and more patients resort to plastic surgery each year. It is true that the breast enhancement procedures have risks just like any other surgery and depending on the surgical plan and the complexity of the surgery. There is a certain amount of pain to be experienced by the patient during the initial part of the recovery period. 

Many patients are concerned about the level of pain involved after undergoing breast enhancement procedures, so in this article, we will discuss pain relief tips after breast enhancement. 


Breast enhancement procedures

Among the breast enhancement procedures that we will be discussing today are the breast lift and breast augmentation. The procedures should only be performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to maximize the results that can be achieved and reduce the risks associated with the procedures.

Breast augmentation often uses silicone implants that are inserted through incisions made on the breasts in a pocket positioned either behind or in front of the pectoral muscle. The level of post-operative pain is dependent on the placement of the implants as muscles take longer to heal compared to other tissues.

The breast lift is not an overly painful procedure as the plastic surgeon will only cut through the skin and fat tissues and re-center the mammary gland. This means that only a minor to moderate level of pain is felt by patients undergoing this procedure. Again, depending on the numbers of the incisions needed during surgery, the recovery period can be shorter or longer. 


Tips for pain relief after breast enhancement 

  1.   Take the pain medication pills as recommended by the plastic surgeon

Even before undergoing the breast enhancement procedure, the plastic surgeon will talk to you about pain management pills. Probably this can happen even during the pre-operative consultation as he will try to assess your tolerance to pain and how you will be able to manage the post-operative pain and discomfort. The surgeon will recommend pain medication that can range from simple analgesic medication to stronger pills, depending on your needs and previous experience with pain management. To reduce the intensity of pain after a breast enhancement procedure, the recommendation is to take the pain medication as prescribed by the plastic surgeon. This means that if you are supposed to take a pill after breakfast and another at lunch during the initial stage of the recovery period, this is exactly what you should do, even if you don’t feel terrible pain at that point. The idea is that if the pain is kept under control, you will be more able and willing to move around and this will guarantee a faster recovery period with fewer complications associated with it. 


  1.   Use ice packs on the breasts

An advice that many patients fail to understand its importance is related to using ice packs on the areas treated with surgery during the recovery period. Applying ice packs on the breasts after a breast enhancement procedure will help reduce swelling and also keep the intensity of pain to a minor or moderate degree. Keep in mind that you should never use ice packs directly on your breasts. Always use a cotton cloth between the delicate skin of the breasts and the ice packs as otherwise, freeze can affect the breasts. Moreover, don’t keep the ice packs on the breasts for longer than a few minutes at a time as too much cold can be detrimental. However, make sure to repeat the procedure every hour for the first few days post-op, and you will notice how much it can help with pain relief. 


  1.   Avoid strenuous physical activities

Intense physical activities or sports after breast enhancement can trigger severe complications such as incision opening and implant shifting, to name just a few. Also performing strenuous activities can result in a more intense level of pain as a result of putting pressure on the muscles and the incisions. The plastic surgeon will make it a priority to explain to you in detail how intense physical exercises can be a real problem after undergoing plastic surgery on the breasts, whatever the nature of the procedure might be. Keep in mind that the more complex the procedure, the more time it will take for the incisions and the tissues to heal. This means that if you had a breast lift with a periareolar incision, chances are you can resume more intense activities much sooner than a patient who had a breast augmentation with implants positioned behind the pectoral muscle or on the dual plane. The recovery period after breast implant surgery is generally longer than the breast lift, and when the placement of the implants is behind the pectoral muscle, it can be more painful during the recovery period. The muscles take longer to recover after the surgical trauma compared to other tissues like the skin and fat tissue. 

Avoiding strenuous physical activities can sometimes mean that the patient should postpone the return to work after surgery. Generally speaking, a break from work for no longer than ten to fourteen days is recommended. However, if the job responsibilities include strenuous physical activities, the plastic surgeon might advise you to take more time off from work. Make sure to discuss this issue with the plastic surgeon even during the pre-operative consultation to know how to schedule things after the procedure. 


  1.   Don’t lift heavy objects

Just like strenuous activities, lifting heavy objects from the floor can trigger unwanted and intense pain especially when it happens the first weeks after your breast enhancement procedure. If the procedure was performed with the use of implants that were positioned behind the pectoral muscle, trying to lift heavy things too soon afterwards can also result in the shifting of the implants and possibly the rupture of the surgical incisions. This tip is especially important for patients undergoing the breast enhancement procedure after giving birth. If you have small children that require your attention during the first few days, you should have someone help you around the house and with them as the recommendation is not to try lifting them. To avoid lifting the children from the ground, you can get used even before the procedure to sit down before asking them to come in your arms. This way there is little pressure put on the incisions and the chest muscles. 


  1.   Get enough rest

Getting enough rest doesn’t really sound like a pain relief tip after a breast enhancement surgery, but it is crucial for having a smooth and easy recovery period. Taking the medication and moving around the house early on is good for fast healing. However, the body also needs plenty of rest to ensure the recovery of the tissues. This means that you should spend enough time resting in bed. Make sure to go shopping for books and movies or other types of entertainment that you prefer to keep busy during the first days post-op. 



Breast enhancement is among the most popular procedures performed nowadays to change and improve the aesthetic appearance of the body. Due to the sensitive area where they are performed on, there is a certain amount of pain and discomfort that can be experienced after undergoing such a procedure. A general rule is that the more complex the procedure is, the lengthier the recovery period and the level of pain associated with the early days of the recovery will be. For patients concerned with the intensity of pain after plastic surgery, we should mention that breast procedures are not associated with intense pain and the pain can easily be alleviated if the patient follows the tips we discussed in this article. Getting enough rest, not making any strenuous physical exercises, taking the pain medication as prescribed by the plastic surgeon, using ice packs on the breasts, and not lifting heavy objects from the ground can help you keep the level of pain to a minimum and hence speed up the recovery.


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