Side effects to expect after breast surgery

Side effects to expect after breast surgery

30th Dec 2016


Many women want to improve their physical appearance by going through a breast surgery either to enhance or reduce the size of their breasts. It can be scary to go through the surgery blindly. This is why it is important to be knowledgeable about the possible side effects of having breast implants or breast reduction surgery.

Some common side effects brought about by the breast surgery include the feeling of grogginess, tightness in the chest, an engorged feeling, morning stiffness, soreness, pain, swelling, bruising, the formation of a scar, numbness, and over-sensitivity. These side effects can easily be treated to make recovery better for you.

There are also other far more dangerous side effects of which the patient should be aware. These include bleeding from the incision, leakage of pus, fever, foul odor, blood in urine, stool or spit, severe swelling, black discoloration of the skin, uncontrollable vomiting, deflation of breasts, and loss of consciousness.


Common Side Effects

Knowing what to expect after your breast surgery will help you overcome any fear you may have of it. It also helps you to prepare and make yourself more comfortable in getting through it. Here are some of the most common side effects that can happen after your breast surgery.

– Groggy feeling: After the surgery, you may wake up in the recovery room and feel a little bit groggy. It is normal, as you may still have anesthesia in your system. Aside from feeling groggy, some may feel sick or nauseated. This is due to the anesthesia you had during the surgery.

– Tight feeling in your chest: When you have implants placed under the muscles, it is normal for you to feel very tight in your chest. This is because the muscles haven’t adjusted or stretched enough to comfortably fit the implants. As the muscles begin to stretch, you will begin to feel more relieved. This tightness is described to be like something heavy is on your chest and compressing it. It will go away after a couple of weeks.

– Engorged feeling: The feeling of engorgement is very familiar to those who have children. After giving birth, the breasts will naturally produce milk for the baby. If the baby is not breastfed or you do not pump out the milk, your breasts become engorged. For those who don’t have children, it is described as a painful feeling where your breast may also be warm and tender. The breast can also feel very heavy. This will go away after about a week.

– Morning stiffness: Upon waking up in the morning, some women feel that their breasts are a bit more stiff than usual. As they go through the day, the extra stiffness gradually disappears. It can be irritating to feel this every morning, but as time goes by, it will slowly disappear.

– Soreness and pain: The degree of pain felt depends on your pain tolerance, but there will definitely be some pain and soreness from the surgery. To remedy the pain, medications will be prescribed to you by your surgeon, and you should take it as directed. Don’t wait long enough to feel pain before you take medication, because in order to manage the pain, you need to stay on top of the pain.

– Swelling or edema: Swelling normally occurs after any surgery, as there is injury to the body. It is natural for the body to swell and have an accumulation of fluid. This fluid is filled with white blood cells to help heal the injury. Although a little bit of swelling is to be expected, severe swelling can also cause a problem. That is why treatment for prolonged swelling should be done. The treatment is as easy as drinking lots of fluids and lowering sodium intake.

– Bruising: Some patients may have bruises after the surgery and some may not. If you have bruises, you don’t have to worry because they will go away. You can also apply warm compresses to help with the healing process.

– Scars and keloids: Different people heal differently. For some, the incision heals very well and only a small scar develops. For others, there can be a keloid formation. Products such as silicone gel sheets can also help reduce the chance of having a thick and large scar.

– Numbness: There is also a possibility of numbness, especially when the nipple is moved. This can be due to the bruising of the nerves, but the sensation comes back when the nerves are healed. However, there are some cases where loss of sensation becomes permanent.

– Over-sensitivity: While there can be numbness, there can also be over-sensitivity of the nipples. Some women complain that their nipples are very sensitive to clothing. In this case, it is suggested to use pads to protect and cover the nipples.


Other More Dangerous Side Effects

Aside from the common side effects, there may be other more dangerous side effects. In case any of those below happens to you, you should immediately call a doctor:

– Bleeding from the incision

– Leakage of pus from the incision or nipples

– Fever

– Foul odor coming from your chest

– Deflation of your breast

– Blood in urine, stools, or spit

– Severe swelling

– Loss of consciousness

– Uncontrollable vomiting

– Black discoloration of the skin



Going through a breast surgery can be really scary, especially if you know nothing about it. Knowing the common side effects can help you prepare. It can also alleviate fear.

Among the many common side effects that you can face after a breast surgery are: having a groggy feeling, tight feeling in the chest, feeling of engorgement, having stiffness in the morning, soreness and pain, swelling or edema, bruises, scarring, numbness, and the over-sensitivity of the nipples. These are quite common and can easily be remedied.

There are also other more dangerous side effects that you should watch out for because they can be life-threatening. This includes profuse bleeding from the incision, pus leakage, fever, foul odor, deflated breasts, blood present in the urine, stool, or spit, severe swelling, loss of consciousness, uncontrollable vomiting, and black discoloration of the skin.


Share this article: