Recovery Timeline After Breast Augmentation

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Breast Augmentation has become one the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States. Last year in 2015 over 300,000 surgeries were performed. I personally perform about 25 – 30 breast augmentation surgeries per month. The recovery time for this surgery can be on the simple side, compared to say a Tummy Tuck. That being said let me preface this article by clarifying that each individual will have a different experience. I can give you a general guideline of a typical recovery after breast augmentation, however each person is different and your body will heal on its own timeline.

Day 1 – 4
Post Op Appointment: Day after surgery

The first few days after surgery are when you will experience ‘downtime.’ The first 24 – 48 hours are the most important and the most uncomfortable for some. During this time you will have some swelling, pain and it will be sore. This is also the time that requires the most pain medication and you will need a caretaker to help you. Some bruising may appear and you may have fluid retention due to the surgical process. Larger implants and subpectoral (under the muscle) implant placement may also cause greater discomfort. Applying ice packs during the first few days does help to reduce inflammation and pain. I tell my patients they can shower if they are up for it 48 hours after surgery.

Day 4 – 7
Post Op Appointment: Day 8 Stitches Removed

Usually by day 5 you will start to feel a little better, you will have more mobility and most of my patients are off of pain medication by Day 7 when I see them to remove stitches. You will be sent home in a post-op surgical bra. I like my patients to wear the surgical bra that we send you home in and then you can start wearing a sports bra that hooks in the front or back post op day 5 – 7. At one week I make an assessment whether the patient needs a breast band to wear over the top of the breasts. Usually, my patients that have a bit of constricted lower breast will wear the band around the clock for one month.

Days 9 - 21
The majority of the initial capsule formation occurs during this period and the majority of the swelling should begin to subside. You may have occasional pain at night but the majority of my patients are off pain medication by now. You can resume light daily activities around Day 9. If you have a desk job you should probably be able to go back to work at this time. For those with more strenuous jobs, you may want to wait another week as you don’t want it to affect your result.

Days 21 – 44
Post Op Appointment: Day 44

When I see you for your six week post op appointment I will give you clearance to resume your daily life. Most people want to know: When can I start working out? Around your six week appointment. Start with light aerobic activity and work your way back into it. I will also let you know you can begin wearing normal bras at this time but hold off on an underwire bra until it feels comfortable, especially with the inframammary incision.

Again, I can’t emphasize enough how each person and each breast augmentation is different so I treat everything and everyone on an individual basis. I have patients that are up and about after under the muscle surgery with 250 cc implants after 3 or 4 days. It just depends on you!

I hope that you feel like you have a better understanding of the recovery time for after a breast augmentation surgery.

Dr. Christa Clark
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Sacramento Plastic Surgeon