After Breast Augmentation

What can I expect from breast augmentation plastic surgery? How long will the procedure last?

Doctor Answers (20)

Breast augmentation works


Breast augmentation is one of the greatest plastic surgery operations out there. It enhances all of the features of your breasts by placing an implant under the pectoral muscle thus avoiding your breast tissues so you can still breast feed if interested.

It is all done through a small 4cm incision and the recovery lasts about a week at which point you can return to most of your activities. The results will last as long as the implant lasts. FDA recommends we exchange implants at around 12 to 15 years. There's no hard and fast rule but this is the recommendation.

Best wishes.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Rapid recovery after breast augmentation - what to expect after surgery


Breast Augmentation is outpatient surgery. It generally procedure takes usually less than one hour.   After surgery, you may experience some mild soreness that should be easily managed with one-two pain pills every 6 hours as needed. Usually, my patients do not require pain medications beyond 2-3 days. After surgery you will have swelling in the upper pole of your breast. This swelling resolves over 2-3 weeks. I recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks after surgery. Usually, 24-48 hrs after surgery, most patients feel comfortable doing regular daily activities (minus any heavy lifting or strenuous activity). After 3 to 4 weeks from the date of your surgery, I clear patients to resume activity as tolerated.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Breast augmentation length of surgery


The length of time is takes to perform a breast augmentation varies based on a number of variables.  First, and foremost is the experience of the plastic surgeon.  Second, is whether or not additional procedures are being performed at the same time such as a lift.  Lastly, a patient's anatomy and the approach can play a role in the length of the procedure.  Typically, a breast augmentation performed alone, can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.  Frequently, the fastest surgeon, is not the best choice for obvious reasons.  It's surgery, not a race.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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Breast augmentation takes about 45 minutes and has a varying degree of post-op pain.


Breast augmentation is a simple and safe operation.  The pain depends on placement of the implant.  If it is placed above the muscle, the pain is minimal.  Placement below the muscle is more painful, most patients stating that the chest feels excessively "tight".  The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Full athletic activity is allowed in one month.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Rapid Recovery After Breast Augmentation Surgery


You should be able to have a rapid recovery after breast augmentation surgery.  Ask your plastic surgeon about the experience that his/her patients have and ask around. I know exactly what my patients go through because I ask them to report  on their experience anonymously every quarter for quality control.  My patients have a very rapid recovery and return to work in 1-4 days typically with many patients never taking any pain medication and most reporting that it is more uncomfortable than it is painful.

Not every patient is the same and I still have a rare patient that reports that it takes 7 days before they start feeling better.

The procedure should only last 30-45 minutes in the operating room and you should be able to return home that same day.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Breast Augmentation


Breast augmentation is by far the most common procedure performed at my practice. On average the procedure takes about an hour and a half. Things like the type if implant used (saline v. silicone) and where the incision will be (under the muscle, above the muscle, through the belly button, through the underarm) affect the time minimally. When it comes to recovery, all women are different. People have different pain thresholds and heeling times. I know women who have a breast augmentation on Friday and go back to work on Monday. There are also women who need a little more time and that is completely normal. There are some limits when it comes to pain medication like driving, so be mindful of your post surgical commitments if you plan to remain prescription narcotics. You will meet with you surgeon several times over the first 6 months after your surgery. Give your body time to heal and your implants to settle before making any judgments about their appearance. It will take about 6 months to 1 year for this to take place.

Joseph G. Bauer, MD
Alpharetta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Breast Augmentation Duration


The surgical time is generally 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the placement of implants.

The duration of the implants varies considerably as each patient is different depending on their lifestyle and activity level. The breast implants tend to last 10 -15 years with gel implants lasting longer than saline. We have patients who are happy 20 years after surgery. Leakage may occcur with saline implants in 3 - 6 years after surgery.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

What can I expect & how long will it last with breast augmentation


Women choose to have breast augmentation for  a number of reasons, but the most common reasons are for increased volume (size) and a better overall shape. You can expect to increase your beast size with breast augmentation, and often times even out uneven sized and shaped breasts. But most women will "augment" or increase the size of the breasts and maintain the shape that they already have. 

You ask "how long will it last?" Many women have breast augmentation surgery that can last for 20 or more years, however may women will have issues that need revision surgery after only a few years, so there is no set amount of time.  It will also depend on whether you have children and breast feed after having the surgery, and how your own body ages, as well as how much your weight fluctuates.  I would recommend scheduling a consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to be evaluated and to go over your options.  Good Luck!

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Longevity of breast implants depends upon the patient and implant


Longevity with saline implants is less than ten years since the saline filled implants have a tendency to leak after 3 - 6 years.  The implant companies suggest that you replace them at 10 years. 

Silicone implants should be replaced at 22 years since the body begins to form calcification in the surrounding scar tissue.  No harm to this but the breast can become a little firmer when this happens.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Breast Enlargement


It really depends on you and the surgeon's experiencve and where the implant is placed. Under the muscle will be more painful than on top but in either case you should be up and about in a couple of days and full activity after two weeks. 

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.