Pain Expectations for a Breast Augmentation / Nipple Lift?

I am a candidate for a BA and very much want to go thru with it but what scares me is the amount of pain during recovery; I undrstand meds are given but just enuf to 'dull' things. I've never had kids, never broken a bone, only surgery I've had is wisdom teeth extraction which wasn't painful. I kno everyone tolerates pain difrently, but how bad have past patients said the pain is during the recovery process? What pains are expected? Which days are worst? I very much need this surgery.

Doctor Answers 11

Recovery After Breast Augmentation

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Thank you for your question. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
I suggest consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. He or she will be able to explain the recovery process and pain management tools. Good luck!

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

What To Expect When Getting Breast Augmentation

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It is common to be concern of the pains and discomforts they might endure after breast augmentation. .Normally the discomfort may last three to five days and the first day is usually most significant. All of my patients were prescribed with pain medication and they found the pain to be very manageable. For subpectoral implant, doing stretching exercise usually helps to relieve the muscle component of the pain.

Colin Hong, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Pain expectations for a breast augmentation?

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Hello! Thank you for your question!  Women tolerate the breast augmentation procedure very well.  Early in the postoperative course is typically worst and ice packs/exercises and medications help.  Your symptoms sound like your nerves regenerating. Breast procedures such as the breast augmentation and breast lift/reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts. With any breast procedure there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area. The reported rate of sensation changes (decreased, loss, or increased) is ~7% for lift/reductions and much smaller for breast augmentation. In my experience, this rate is reportedly much lower, but is higher when tissue is excised or the amount of lift that is needed, so the breast reduction procedure has a slightly greater risk. It can take up to a year for full sensation to return. Re-educating your nerves to these areas by using different textures when showering and putting on lotion often helps.

It is one risk of such a procedure, and one that you must consider, amongst others, as with any surgical procedure. You should consult with a plastic surgeon well-trained in breast procedures who will examine and discuss with you the various risks and benefits of the procedure(s) and assist you in deciding if such a procedure will be the right decision for you.

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Pain after Breast Surgery?

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Thank you for the question.

Generally, breast augmentation is a very well tolerated procedure.  Most patients require pain medication and help from family and friends for the first 2 to 4 days after surgery.  The use of narcotics,  muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories makes it so that most patients have smooth recovery periods.

I also  like using long acting local anesthesia  during the procedure to allow for a comfortable recovery period.

Best wishes.

Pain Expectations After Breast Augmentation

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You shouldn’t let the fear of pain deter you from having breast augmentation. In general this is not a terribly painful procedure. Of course this will vary depending on individual patient tolerance and the surgical technique used. Usually augmentation with implants placed under muscle (subpectoral) is a little more painful than with implants placed above muscle (subglandular). With use of modern techniques to carefully release muscle fibers under direct vision when creating the implant pocket, there should be minimal bleeding with subpectoral breast augmentation, which will result in minimal post-op pain. The quality of pain is that of muscle soreness and pressure. Some patients require no narcotic pain medication at all. Most will use the prescription medication regularly from one to three days after surgery, but rarely longer than that. I ask my patients to rest for two days and after that, encourage them to resume regular activities and light exercise. They must limit reaching, stretching and lifting for two weeks after surgery. Although not usually necessary, it is possible for your surgeon to place an infusion pump and catheters during surgery. These devices automatically infuse local anesthetic medication into the surgical sites for up to several days following the procedure, minimizing post-op pain and the need for narcotic medication.

Max Polo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Pain after Breast Augmentation

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It is normal to fear pain after breast augmentation. Pain is normal and is generally well controlled with oral narcotics and valium. Pain is varriable after surgery and depends on the size of implant, incision, and plane of disection. Millions of women have done it and I am sure if you can tolerate wisdom teeth removal then you can tolerate breast augmentation.

good luck,

Leo Lapuerta Jr MD FACS

Triple Board Certified SUrgeon

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

What kind of pain to expect after breast augmentation

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Most patients experience pressure and tightness after breast implant surgery-if the implants are placed under the pectoral muscle.  Valium or Flexeril can help reduce this discomfort significantly.  There may also be some incisional pain which is well treated with Vicodin.  Usually after about three days, patients only need to take Tylenol.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

Breast Augmentation, Breast Enlargement, Breast Implants

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Every patient will perceive pain differently.  You will feel a tightness and a heaviness in the chest wall.  Its been described like an elephant sitting on your chest.  Follow the advice of your plastic surgeon and you will get through it. 

Jay H. Ross, MD, FACS
Palm Harbor Plastic Surgeon

Breast Augmentation and Pain

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Breast augmentation causes pain because of the stretching of the muscle above the implant. it is often described as the fullness one fells before her period or when engorged during nursing, How much pain you perceive relates to the size of the implant relative to your frame, the tightness of dressings, and your perception of pain.

Postoperative pain can be reduced by injecting a long-acting local anesthesia around the breast outline, by using pain pumps, and by adding a muscle relaxer to your post-operative narcotics. It is important to treat your pain before it becomes unmanageable. Early movement and gently massage will help you recover faster.

Normally, the worst of the pain is over in a few days.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


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Most patients fear the pain they will have to endure after this surgery, but my experience wiht my patients is 3-5 days of discomfort. You will be prescribed pain medication to help deal with any discomort. Most patients expressed that the first day after surgery was the worst, but then it got easier from there.

Michael A. Fiorillo, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 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.