What to expect the first week after surgery?

I will be taking off a week for work and I will have help at home during that week. What can I do at home during that week to recover successfully? Why kind of meals can I eat or avoid? Will the drugs keep me in bed, drowsy and sleeping during those days? When can I shower? I understand my own surgeon will have his instructions but I also wanted to see other opinions and suggestions. Thanks in advance!

Doctor Answers 12

Adhere to Your Surgeon's Instructions

Your own plastic surgeon knows the details of your surgery, as well as your medical history, so it's important to stick to the instructions you're given. With that being said, there are some basic tips you can consider. Opioid pain relievers shouldn't make you feel that "out of it," but keep in mind that everyone responds differently. However, it's important to wait until you're done taking these medications before you drive a car. Food-wise, I recommend choosing foods that are very nutritionally dense. Since you may have a diminished appetite, every calorie matters more. Avoid foods that are high in sodium, since they can lead to swelling. Foods that are high in fiber and protein are good choices, and alcohol should never be mixed with opiates. You should be able to shower about 2 days after your surgery, provided you cleanse your incisions with care. As I said earlier, these are simply guidelines. Your surgeon has the final say regarding your post-operative instructions. Best of luck! 

Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Everyone's different but within one week you'll be fine

Usually the first night you'll feel groggy from the anesthesia and probably not have much pain. Hopefully you'll be eating regular food. The next day you'll probably be more sore after the anesthesia has worn off but your surgeon will have provided you with pain medication. Make sure you take food when you take your medication so it doesn't upset your stomach. I have my patient shower the day after surgery which makes them feel more comfortable. I usually don't place drains in breast augmentation cases. If you have some in, they might be a little more uncomfortable. By the third day you should be able to drive, as long as you're not taking pain medication. Implants underneath the muscle tend to sit higher and take some time to settle in place

Joseph M. Perlman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breast Augmentation Post Op

Everyone has a different post operative recovery. Some patients have little to no pain while others can experience significant pain and muscle spasms. Part of this is related to the technique of breast augmentation. Every surgeon is different in their post operative recommendations so it is critical that you follow your surgeons instructions. For the first 48 hours you can be pretty groggy from general anesthesia and a sore throat. During these first 48 hours, I recommend relaxation. I also recommend a muscle relaxant such as valium. In addition, you should take the pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon - typically percocet, dilaudid, or vicodin. You can shower after these 48 hours making sure to extend and exercise your shoulders. I recommend light foods during this period only until the anesthesia clears. After 48 hours you should start to feel significantly better. I recommend my patients switch to ibuprofen; but this medication can be associated with increased risk of bleeding so should only be taken with specific approval from your surgeon. Again you should be making conscious efforts to move your shoulders. You should not do any heavy lifting. I have my patients see me one week post operatively at which time I instruct them on specific exercises to help position the implants. Some patients will need specific support garments depending on their implant position. 
I hope this helps! Good luck!

Anthony J. Wilson, MD
Portsmouth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Healing from breast augmentation

The best frame of mind to be and when you return from your augmentation is to return to your normal routine as soon as possible. This usually means showering the next day and driving within two or three days. You will definitely be sore, but usually Motrin will make you quite functional for most activities. The most important thing is to listen to your own plastic surgeon. We all have different ideas how to have our patients progress postoperatively.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Breast Augment: What to expect in first week

     Any specific patient should ask their own surgeon about specific instructions for after surgery. I do my breast implants mostly in the subfascial plane under heavy sedation anesthesia so this is the expectation for a patient with this operation. You will expect to have your operation in the office and go home home within an hour after the procedure. A responsible adult should be with you that night. You will have some discomfort but not excruciating pain. Most women say it is a stretching feeling like if your milk was coming in after giving birth. You will have pain pills at home that you can as directed but do not take aspirin or ibuprofen type pain relievers. You may use packs to help relieve some of the pain but most of my patients say this is really not needed. The day after surgery is usually the most discomfort and then gets better quite quickly. You may sleep in any position that is comfortable but most patients sleep on their back for about a week. You should not work out (any thing that gets your pulse or blood pressure up) for about ten days. You will be able to shower by the third day after surgery. There will be no stitches that need to be removed but you will plan to see your surgeon in about one week after surgery. You will receive a call from the office or the doctor the day after surgery to be sure you are doing OK and to answer any questions. You will be able to get work usually within a week unless it is a very strenuous job such as fitness instructor or waitress with heavy trays...then it is about two weeks.      Plan your surgery at a time that is good for you...during a vacation and when you can have some help for a few days especially if you have young children. Have your shopping done and some dinners pre made and ready to go. Do your laundry and housework before surgery and do not plan on getting much else done for about a week. Take some time to yourself...read a book and listen to music or watch movies. If you plan your surgery this way you will heal much easier. Best of luck!

William LoVerme, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Advice for Recovery from a Breast Augmentation

This is a great question and wonderful planning on your part as the patient.  Your surgeon will have his/her specific instructions for you to follow for your particular surgery.  As for my patients, I also recommend a week from work activities, 3 weeks from any aerobic exercise, and usually  6 weeks for full out exercise.  Recommendations I can offer for any patient recovering from surgery is protein rich meals, increased fluid intake, and most importantly is ambulation (get up and move around).  I recommend that every two hours my patients take deep breaths and walk to maintain good circulation.  Many surgeons will have patients wear a pair of compression hose for several days after surgery to help with circulation.  My goal is always to have a safe surgery, speedy recovery, and beautiful results.

Eric Schaffer, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Breast augmentation recovery

Congratulations on your upcoming surgery! You will be sleepy and sore the first few days after surgery.  You will definitely want to be up and moving around, but you will be slow and tire easily.  Rest when your body is tired, as it is letting you know it needs to heal.  You may not have much of an appetite the first day or two.  Simple things such as oatmeals, soups, etc will be good to have on hand.  After that make sure that you don't have meals that require opening jars or other things that require you to use your pectoral muscles.  The best advice will be that which comes from your surgeon as he/she is most familiar with the details of your surgery.  Best of luck!

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

What to expect the first week after surgery?

Prior to having your surgery,  your plastic surgeon will give you thorough instructions. It is best to follow the instructions of your plastic surgeon and not the advise from others. You are wise and taking off one week from work since that should be an adequate recover time. Your other questions  are fairly straightforward and easily addressed by your doctor.

Good luck to you.

Stanley P. Gulin, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Advices for breast augmentation post op

Thanks for the question.   In my practice, after performing a BA I recommend to my patients to limit the movement of the arms for two weeks. After that, you can move your arms taking care and always with common sense. 
In this regard, it's not advisable to carry heavy weights to prevent the implant out of position, and allow the formation of the physiological capsule around the implant, also to avoid pain and breast swelling. I recommend you to talk with your plastic surgeon and follow his advices.Kind regards

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 255 reviews


I would suggest asking your surgeon these questions. Each surgeon has his/her own preference of showering and activity. I would suggest eating healthy foods with protein.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 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.