Breast Augmentation Recovery

Preparing for your breast augmentation surgery post-pregnancy can fill you with excitement and anticipation, as you gear up to move one step closer to getting your body back to where you want it to be.

If you’re anticipating your breast augmentation surgery, it’s natural to be nervous about recovery and unsure what the process looks like. However, when equipped with the right knowledge regarding your breast augmentation recovery, you’ll know exactly what to expect to help you navigate the process with ease.

Breast augmentation is a popular and common cosmetic procedure that has helped many a new mommy snap back into shape and help restore the appearance and fullness of their breasts. In fact, a recent study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that breast augmentation was the top procedure performed in the U.S. in 2017!

Keep reading for a detailed look into breast augmentation recovery and exactly what you need to know before surgery day rolls around.

What to Expect During Breast Augmentation Recovery

It is essential to see to your physical health and well-being both prior to and following your breast augmentation to help ensure you make an optimal recovery. During recovery, you should expect to feel very tired, particularly in the days immediately following the surgery. Make sure you get lots of rest, so your body has a chance to rejuvenate and heal.

Within 24 hours of your surgery, you can take off the dressings, excluding the steri-strips or skin tapes that are protecting your incisions. You can wash over the steri-strips without needing to worry about them coming off. Be sure to blot the area dry with a clean towel, and eventually the strips will come off on their own.

You may need to keep gauze dressings on to protect your incisions for a week or so following the procedure. With breast implants, you might notice tightness in your chest while your skin gets used to the presence of the implants. You may also notice that you have a reduction in feeling in your nipples and breasts in the initial days of your breast augmentation recovery. Moderate bruising and swelling is completely normal and will subside within several weeks or so.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Breast Augmentation Surgery?

With regards to the total breast augmentation recovery time, it is essential to understand that every human body is different and will, therefore, respond differently to the procedure. There isn’t a set timeline for breast augmentation recovery.

Most recoveries take an average of 6 weeks in full, but some women may take less or more time than this to get back to normal. Some women have reported feeling normal after just a week.

It is important to speak with your surgeon directly regarding the current state of your health, as they can offer a more succinct time frame regarding how long they expect your breast augmentation recovery to take.

Breast Augmentation Recovery Stages

There are multiple, critical stages involved in breast augmentation recovery. Here’s what you need to know.


The first, immediate breast augmentation recovery stage is post-operation. Once you wake up from the anesthetic, you will probably feel achy and groggy, which is perfectly normal. The post-op feeling could be compared to a hangover, but this initial grogginess will abate within hours after the procedure.

With that said, you will require someone to drive you back home from the surgical facility and stay the night with you.

Two to Three Days After Surgery

In the first two to three days of your breast augmentation recovery after surgery, you will likely feel light to mild pain which you can maintain with the pain medications prescribed by your physician. You will also notice bruising and swelling in your chest region, which is normal and to be expected.

Your doctor will likely require you to wear compression bandages and a surgical bra to reduce your discomfort and protect the incisions. Some patients experience nausea from the aftereffects of the anesthetic. While you might be able to take a shower after 24 hours, you will definitely be cleared to do so by the two day mark.

One Week After Surgery

Once you hit the one week mark of your breast augmentation recovery, you will likely be cleared to return to work and undertake light activities. You should not lift, bend, or perform other potentially straining activities at this point though.

Once you are one week out from the surgery, you will attend your post-op doctor’s appointment so your physician can check your breasts and incisions.

Two Weeks After Surgery

At the two week mark of your breast augmentation recovery, most patients start to feel fairly normal and find they can resume their regular daily routine without discomfort. You should still abstain from strenuous exercise. Once you are two weeks out from the procedure, you should be cleared to take baths instead of showers only.

One Month After Surgery

Once you hit the one month point in your breast augmentation recovery, you should feel up to engaging in regular exercise. These exercises should not include movements that focus specifically on the chest, as this could cause strain and complications that impede healing.

Six Weeks After Surgery

Finally, at the six-week point of your breast augmentation recovery, you should have reached the end of your recovery. You will likely be cleared to exercise free of restrictions, sleep on your sides and abdomen as you prefer, and wear a push-up or underwire bra once more

By six weeks, the implants will be well settled in the tissue, and you should see the final results you desire.

How to Manage Pain During Breast Augmentation Recovery

It is absolutely normal to experience a certain amount of pain during breast augmentation recovery, particularly in the initial days following the procedure. The intensity of the pain you experience will depend on the technique implemented in your surgery and how high your personal tolerance for pain is.

Some patients feel minimal or no pain while others require the use of prescription medications to reduce discomfort. If your implants are inserted beneath the muscle, you will typically experience more discomfort and have a longer recovery.

Taking the pain medications prescribed, wearing your compression bandages and support bra, and adhering to any activity restrictions imposed by your surgeon are all things that will help you manage any pain you experience during breast augmentation recovery.

Restrictions After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Here’s a quick overview of the top restrictions to adhere to following your surgery:

  • Don’t do any lifting, such as picking up your kids
  • Don’t sleep on your side or abdomen
  • You shouldn’t lift your arms over your shoulders
  • You can’t get your wounds or bandages wet for about five days after the surgery
  • You mustn’t remove any surgical garments until your surgeon advises you to

We understand how much you want to pick up and hold your kiddos, but during your breast augmentation recovery, you will need to avoid lifting them for a minimum of one week after the procedure. The optimal period in which you should avoid any lifting is two to three weeks.

Remember, you should not sleep on your side or stomach for at least six weeks following the surgery. You should not lift your arms over your shoulder because this could stretch the incision areas. Baths should be avoided because you can’t get your wounds or bandages wet for at least five days after the surgery.

Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips

Check out our top breast augmentation recovery tips!

  • Adhere to all post-op instructions given by your doctor
  • Don’t miss any post-op appointments with your doctor
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat light, nutritious foods and stay hydrated
  • Wear any compression garments and/or surgical bras required by your physician
  • Take at least 1 week off from work to recover
  • Wear clothes that fit loosely and don’t necessitate you raising your arms to pull on
  • Choose your caregiver wisely who will be by your side in the initial 24 hours
  • If instructed by your surgeon, massage the breasts to promote healing and circulation
  • Only sleep on your back and use pillows to stay propped up
  • Don’t engage in any physical activity which could cause your breasts to bounce (i.e. running, jumping, etc.)
  • Don’t try to look at your scars as this could re-open the incisions

While your surgeon will most likely advise that you can shower 24 hours following the surgery, you should avoid water submersion for at least five days (preferably closer to two weeks). For instance, you should not take a bath, go in a swimming pool, hot tub, lake, and so forth.

If the doctor sends you home with drains for the incision area, you will need to drain the bulb and record the quantity of fluid three times each day. Recording the fluid is key because this will tell your doctor when it’s time to take out the drains later on.

If you are required to wear a supportive bra or compression bandage post-surgery, you should remove it to take your shower but put it on right away after you get out. Never, ever remove your surgical garments like compression materials without your doctor’s advisement and permission. The doctor will let you know when it is safe to take off the compression garments.