After Breast Augmentation

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

Doctor Answers 21

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 75 reviews

Have a question? Ask a doctor

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 120 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
3.5 out of 5 stars 7 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 21 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 92 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

Breast augmentation surgery and recovery

We women are incredibly aware of our breast appearance-- maybe even more than men are. Breasts are sexual and sensual, a big part of what makes us women, and they can dictate our sense of attractiveness and desirability (for better or worse). Many women embrace this procedure because it carries little risk of complication and because an implant can be inserted through a tiny incision and is a quick, nearly scarless operation. There are various factors regarding how you want your breasts to look and feel, but if you and your doctor have a good, open line of communication, you shouldn’t need to go back and forth on your decision.

Breast augmentation surgery is routinely performed in a surgeon’s office. You will be given a local anesthetic and twilight sedation during the length of the surgery, which is typically one to two hours. You will feel relaxed but not too groggy during recovery. When you wake up, you’ll probably feel as if your breasts are pushed up to your chin. Part of this is imaginary, but as to the part that is real, don’t panic, the swelling will usually go down in about two weeks. It is also possible that you will have some pain postoperatively, but this should get better within a few days.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Info about breast implats.

1) This is the most common type of question on RealSelf.

2) It is the surgeon's job to pick the right breast implants, not the patient's. Implant selection is really pretty technical.

3) Make sure your surgeon REALLY understands the look you want. Mentioning a cup size is not enough. Show your surgeon pictures of breasts you like.

4) Then your surgeon has to tell you if your chosen look is realistic for your anatomy. The most common mistake is to go too big.

5) I recommend that the surgeon NOT make a final implant choice in advance, because this is just an educated guess.

6) The surgeon should have a large inventory of different size and shape implants available in the operating room.

7) Then the surgeon can put sterile disposable implant SIZERS in your breasts during surgery, to see what a particular implant really looks like inside you. This is how to make the best choice. A sizer costs only $45, and takes all the guess work out.

8) Finally, the sizer is discarded, and the correct breast implants (based on what you want and on your anatomy) are opened from the operating roon inventory, and put in your breasts to complete the operation.

Web reference:

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast augmentation surgery

What to expect? Hopefully to be happy. But over the internet we can only give general responses to a what to expect question. The surgery takes one hour with recovery 1 week . Go see 3 boarded plastic surgeons for more details.

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.