How Long is Downtime for Breast Augmentation?

How long is the downtime for breast implant surgery? I have 3 children and don't have a lot of time to be in bed.

Doctor Answers (10)



It really depends on a few factors. Adequate pain control is likely the most important. Individual pain tolerance differs greatly. I find that women who have had children generally have less post-op pain, as they have a much higher pain tolerance. From a surgical point of view, there are several things the surgeon/anaesthesiologist can do to decrease your post-op pain.

I generally perform breast blocks prior to making any incisions with a mix of short- and long-acting local anaesthetics. I have found this greatly reduces post-op pain. I also encourage patients to take the prescribed pain killers regularly every 4 hours especially for the first 24-48 hours. If you don't stay on top of the pain in the immediate post-operative period, it is extremely difficult to "catch-up". Most of my patients experience very little post-op pain after breast augmentation.

Of course, the type of augmentation you have will also determine your post-operative discomfort. Larger implants, and subpectoral implant placement will also increase post-op discomfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get large implants, or place them under the muscle - you simply need to know what to expect. Many women also experience difficulty with sleeping in the first few weeks after augmentation due to the weight of the implants on their chest. This is more significant in back-sleepers.

To answer your question about time off work, my experience has been that there is a huge range. I have patients that go back to work the next day (against my advice), and I have had patients take as much as 2 weeks off of work. It really depends on what you do for work, and how you feel. As for taking care of your kids, if your implant is placed under the muscle, it will be a few weeks before you feel comfortable enough to pick them up.

As for scars, I tell patients it will take a year to see the absolute final result. Practically, however, by 3-6 months the scar will be very close to the final result. I suggest 3M paper taping, and have a specific scar massage protocol I use to help speed scar resolution.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Postoperative recovery time.

 individuals postoperative recovery time will vary. There are a number of factors including individual tolerance to pain, location of the implant whether sub muscular or sub glandular, and technique used. Most patients require approximately 7 days to be able to return to work in about 2  weeks for return to normal full activity.

Christopher Khorsandi, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Rapid Recovery from Breast Augmentation


Downtime following breast augmentation is mostly dependent upon post operative pain due to muscle spasm.  Using rapid recovery techniques, which include early motion exercises, and minimal post-operative narcotics, most patients will have a quicker recovery with less downtime.  Typically, my patients shower the day following surgery and are up and about with light daily activity following surgery.  No aerobic activity for ten day and resuming full activity at three weeks.  You don't mention the ages of your children, but it would be possible to lift them a day or two following surgery.  I typically recommend that patients have another adult to help with childcare for a day or two following surgery.  After that, you should have no problem.  Good luck to you. 

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

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Quick recovery breast augmentation


We typically perform surgery in the middle of the week, and patients return to work on Monday.  We allow resumption of full activity after 2 weeks.  Our only suggestions is that after two weeks restart your exercise program slowly.  We always have to tell our runners not to do a big run on day 15, but start slowly.  

Pramit Malhotra, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Downtime from breast augmentation


In general, most patients take a few days to a week off from work after undergoing a breast augmentation. I allow patients to begin cardio workouts at 3-4 weeks and heavy lifitng in 6-8 weeks for most cases.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
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Rapid Return exercises following breast augmentation



Many physicians recommend immediate post operative arm exercises to have patients return as soon as possible to normal activity. These regimens tend to focus on treating the spasm of the pectoralis muscle (similar to stretching out a torn hamstring muscle).

Discuss this with your surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Light activity in a few days after breast augmentation, usually



You will be back to most light duty activities in a few days. You probably won't be doing much heavier activity for a month or more (if you lift weights.) The times are a bit longer with larger implants and vary a bit with technique.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Get right back on that horse



You will be on your feet the day of surgery and back to activities of daily living in a few days. Of course, strenuous exercise will have to be curtailed for a few weeks, as well as, lifting heavy objects. If the kids need lifting up, then you will have to have someone help you for a week to ten days. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I recommend no heavy lifting for two weeks after breast augmentation


I encourage my patients to be up and active immediately after breast augmentation, however I want them to avoid heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks. This is because I want the incisions through which the implants were placed to heal before upper body lifting and exercise begins.

Walking and lower body work outs can start after 4-5 days.

If your children are young and need to be lifted and carried, you should have someone help you with this for 3-4 days.

Of course you need to discuss this with the surgeon that you choose and follow his/her instructions carefully.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

No time in bed


Breast augmentation recovery is fairly rapid. Actually you should be up and walking around the day of surgery. Typically the recovery is about 2-3 days before you can go back to daily activities but no heavy lifting for a few weeks. In general recovery with kids in the house depends on how old they are. If they are old enough to get themselves dressed and in their car seats, then you only need the 2-3 days before you can drive them to school, activities and supervise them at home. You can also return to your job that soon as long as it does not involve heavy lifting. Typically you are restricted to 8-10lbs within the first two weeks which is about a gallon of milk or the Sunday paper. From there you gradually increase your lifting. You just have to adjust your activities to stay within your weight limit. For example carry in more bags of groceries that are lighter rather than carrying in one heavy one. If you have had 3 kids, you should do very well with the surgery. Discuss your recovery with your board certified plastic surgeon and plan your surgery date around how much help you will have at home. Good luck.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.