Breast augmentation recovery: what to expect post-op

13 April 2018

By Plastic Surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

Breast augmentation recoveryIf you’ve just had breast augmentation surgery, have your surgery date fast-approaching, or are simply interested in learning more about the cosmetic procedure and what happens in the days and weeks following the operation, then this post will be of interest to you.

Recovery following breast augmentation can differ between patients, as every woman is different in terms of her body’s natural recovery response and her tolerance to pain. In addition to this, the surgical technique used during the operation, the type of breast implant, the size of the implant and the placement of the implant can all have an impact on the recovery process.

The days and weeks following breast augmentation surgery

The recovery process following breast augmentation surgery will typically run as outlined below. However, do keep in mind that your experience may differ somewhat.

In the days following surgery: During the first 2-3 days following surgery, most patients will experience light to moderate discomfort which can be easily managed with pain medication. Swelling and bruising in the breast and chest area is also common. A surgical bra and compression bandages will help reduce the discomfort and protect the surgical wounds. Some patients experience nausea from the anaesthesia used during the procedure.

1 week post-surgery: After a week, most patients are able to perform light activities and return to work, though this of course depends on how physically demanding their job is. During this period of recovery, it’s important to avoid bending, lifting, and any other strenuous movements. A post-op appointment will also be due around this time so that your incisions and breasts can be inspected by your plastic surgeon.

2 weeks post-surgery: After two weeks, most patients begin returning to normal and can perform most daily activities without much pain or discomfort, though strenuous activities and vigorous exercise should still be avoided.

4 weeks post-surgery: By this stage of recovery, most patients feel as though they are ready to gently introduce normal exercise - although it’s wise to avoid exercises that specifically target the chest.

6 weeks post-surgery: At this point, most patients reach the end of the recovery process as pain and swelling should’ve subsided. Exercise can usually be performed without restraint, it’s possible to sleep on your stomach and sides, and a push-up bra or underwire bra can be worn. The breast implants are usually settled by now, and you’ll be able to fully appreciate the final result of your breast augmentation procedure.

Managing the pain effectively

Most patients will experience mild to moderate pain immediately after their breast augmentation surgery, and some women feel a tight pressure around the chest area. Post-operation, your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you comfortably get through the first few days. However, many women claim that after the first day or two they generally cope fine with over-the-counter pain medication.

Ensuring you get enough sleep during the first weeks of the recovery period can be difficult for many patients, but it’s important to do all that you can to achieve optimal rest. Spending time in a quiet room with a comfortable bed and plenty of pillows will be the best way to recover during the first couple of days. You will be able to walk immediately after surgery, but to minimise pain and discomfort during recovery you should listen to your body and relax whenever possible.

Post-surgery scarring

It is common for patients to worry about scarring post-surgery, and though some form of scarring is to be expected, a skilled plastic surgeon will be able to minimise this and place the incision in a low visibility area such as under the breast fold or around the areola line. It’s important to follow the recovery protocol I have outlined above and listen to the advice of your plastic surgeon. This will ensure less stress is placed on the scars, allowing them to heal quicker and with the least scarring possible. Any scarring that does occur is likely to naturally fade over time.

Are you interested in undergoing a breast augmentation procedure, or are you keen to find out more about what’s involved? If so, here at Harley St Aesthetics I can offer expert advice about the surgery and the recovery process. I also offer my signature split muscle breast augmentation procedure, along with other breast surgeries, such as a breast reduction or breast lift.  Contact me today to book your initial consultation by calling 0845 519 7232, e-mailing or by completing our online contact form


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