After Breast Augmentation

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

Doctor Answers 24

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Breast augmentation recovery. What can I expect?

Thank you for your question. Recovery from breast augmentation surgery is individual. That being said, the expectation for recovery from a breast augmentation wherein the implant is placed under the muscle would likely be less than a week. That being said, there are multiple options for scar treatment. I wish you the best of luck.

After Breast Augmentation

Thank you for the question.
On average, the surgery takes 1 hour and most of my patients require 2 to 4 days of rest and use of pain medications/muscle relaxants. Most patients are able to return to work (desk job) at one week. I asked my patients to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 4 to 6 weeks.
 Make sure you are working with a well trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon and communicate your goals clearly.
it is important to communicate your size goals with your surgeon. In my practice, the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) is very helpful. I have found that the use of words such as “natural” or “C or D cup” means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful.
Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup size may also be inaccurate.
I use intraoperative sizers and place the patient in the upright position to evaluate breast size. The patient's goal pictures are hanging on the wall, and allow for direct comparison.
I have found that this system is very helpful in improving the chances of achieving the patient's goals as consistently as possible.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Recovery After Breast Augmentation

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. They will be able to review your expectations and determine if you are a candidate for surgery. Good luck!

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 277 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, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 23 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 42 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
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 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
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 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.