How Long Does Swelling Last After Breast Augmentation?

I understand it is normal for one breast to swell more then the other, but the breast that is swelling more happens to be the one that had more CC's put into it. This makes me a little nervous. How long can I expect for them to match up.

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling after breast augmentation

Here again, everyone is different, and so you are likely to get a lot of different answers about swelling after breast augmentation.  Swelling following sub-muscular breast augmentation will likely last longer and be more significant- it is also often worse on the side of your dominant hand since this muscle is often bigger.  Swelling is certainly worst during the first two weeks following surgery, but can resolve very slowly after that, especially if you are very active.

Swelling after breast augmentation.

Dear dres, Thank you for your post. It is very common to be about a size bigger right after surgery than what your final result will be. Swelling starts to occur right after surgery and tends to peak in the first week. After about a month you will have lost most of the swelling, but still not completely at baseline. After about another 3 months or so, you will have lost 99% of your swelling, but still you have a pretty good idea at 1 month. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on bras until 3 months as they might not fit perfectly after all the swelling goes away. Also, the more activity you have, the longer the swelling stays, the more that needs to be done as far as lift etc. with surgery, the longer your swelling stays. Best Wishes! Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

You will have to wait until 3 months after surgery to determine if your breast size difference is due to swelling.

It is more common then not for one breast to be more swollen then the other following a breast augmentation. When you have arrived at the three month interval after surgery you can assume that the swelling in both breasts have resolved. Any difference in breast size present at three months will remain permanently and generally requires a surgical revision to alter.

David A. Ross, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Uneven swelling after breast augmentation

It is not uncommon to have some difference in swelling, say 10-15%.  Significant swelling may mean a seroma or fluid collection.  I would recommend seeing your plastic surgeon for follow-up if it continues to be significant.  I tell my patients I don't take post-op photos for 3 months to allow everything to heal.

Swelling Following Breast Augmentation

Patients undergoing breast augmentation can anticipate significant swelling in the immediate postoperative period. This swelling resolves quickly with the vast majority being gone in about three weeks. Almost all of the visible swelling is gone in four to six weeks, but small amounts of residual swelling may be present for up to three to four months following surgery.

Compression bras and dressings are frequently used following breast augmentation to minimize swelling. Swelling can add to a patient’s postoperative discomfort. It can also increase anxiety regarding breast size immediately after surgery.

For these reasons, we feel it’s important for the patient and the surgeon to have good communication regarding this topic immediately following surgery. In this situation a little reassurance can go a long way towards making this a more comfortable experience. 

Swelling After Breast Augmentation

Congratulations on your breast augmentation! Maximum swelling occurs at about 3-5 days after surgery. In a few more days, the swelling and bruising will gradually subside, and for the majority of patients, most swelling will resolve within 2 weeks of your surgery.
Your implants will gradually settle in the weeks after surgery (aka "drop and fluff").

As your body accommodates to your new implants, you’ll notice that your breasts will gradually look more and more natural – the way you hoped they’d be! Over the course of about three to four months, your body creates new skin to accommodate the additional volume of your implants. This natural process is called “tissue expansion”, and relieves the tightness you may be experiencing. It allows for the implants to settle more into a better position with the help of gravity. A gradual redistribution of volume from the upper to the lower breast occurs, resulting in an enlargement and rounding out of the lower breast.

Although it's often called "dropping", it is more like "redistribution". The "fluffing" part refers to the impression that the lower breast enlarges and that your skin softens with the creation of new tissues. The extent to which this occurs depends on several factors, including the implant size, the tightness of your skin, and your body shape. 

Breast Swelling with differently filled Breast Implants

All surgery is associated with swelling. Swelling after breast augmentation depends on HOW traumatically the surgery was performed (bluntly (more traumatic) VS sharply-cautery (less swelling)) is usually largely resolve by 3-6 weeks after surgery. The swelling is rarely asymmetric and large breast asymmetry should be evaluated for the surgeon for possible blood or fluid collection.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Uneven swelling of breasts following augmentation with implants

I am aware of studies that show that your breasts may retain as much as 10% more than their final size for as long as 9 months after surgery. However, if you suddenly note more swelling on one breast more than the other, you should notify your surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Breast Swelling Post Op

I generally tell my patients that notable swelling usually lasts about 4 weeks.  It is not really until about 4 months time before the implants settle and you are able to really appreciate the final result.

You need to be patient at this point and wait to see how things look when you are about 4 months out from surgery.  There may be nothing to worry about then.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 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.