3 Important Rules After a Breast Augmentation?

While recovering from breast surgery, what are the top 3 things rules that patients need to follow.

Doctor Answers 13

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 also suggest consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with breast procedures. Best of luck to you!

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

Take it easy after breast augmentation surgery

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Most patients feel very well within one to two days after breast augmentation surgery.  The important thing to remember though is to take it easy for the first week to two weeks after surgery.  Do not over exert yourself, even though you may feel well enough.  Rest for the first three to four days to a week.  No heavy lifting.  No heavy exercise.  Do not get your incisions wet for two to three days. 

James Tang, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


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It really depends on a few factors. Adequate pain control is likely the most important. Individual pain tolerance differs greatly. I find that women who have had children generally have less post-op pain, as they have a much higher pain tolerance. From a surgical point of view, there are several things the surgeon/anaesthesiologist can do to decrease your post-op pain.

I generally perform breast blocks prior to making any incisions with a mix of short- and long-acting local anaesthetics. I have found this greatly reduces post-op pain. I also encourage patients to take the prescribed pain killers regularly every 4 hours especially for the first 24-48 hours. If you don't stay on top of the pain in the immediate post-operative period, it is extremely difficult to "catch-up". Most of my patients experience very little post-op pain after breast augmentation.

Of course, the type of augmentation you have will also determine your post-operative discomfort. Larger implants, and subpectoral implant placement will also increase post-op discomfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get large implants, or place them under the muscle - you simply need to know what to expect. Many women also experience difficulty with sleeping in the first few weeks after augmentation due to the weight of the implants on their chest. This is more significant in back-sleepers.

To answer your question about time off work, my experience has been that there is a huge range. I have patients that go back to work the next day (against my advice), and I have had patients take as much as 2 weeks off of work. It really depends on what you do for work, and how you feel. As for taking care of your kids, if your implant is placed under the muscle, it will be a few weeks before you feel comfortable enough to pick them up.

As for scars, I tell patients it will take a year to see the absolute final result. Practically, however, by 3-6 months the scar will be very close to the final result. I suggest 3M paper taping, and have a specific scar massage protocol I use to help speed scar resolution.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

3 things to remember after your breast augmentation

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The first and most important thing to remember after a breast augmentation is to follow your doctor's instructions. It is also extremely important to wear your sports bra at all times except when showering. The sports bra protects the breast and helps the body to form a capsule around the implant. Remember to not lift push or pull anything over 20 pounds for the 6 week post op period. Lastly, DO NOT sleep on your stomach or your side until your doctor has released you to do otherwise.

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

The important rules are before the surgery, not after

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In practice, it does not matter a great deal what you do after the surgery.  Yes, wear a bra for protection, comfort and support, day and night for at least two weeks and up to a month.  Avoid vigorous physical activity for a month (like water-skiing).  There is no evidence that breast massage helps.  Bottom line, it is rare for a patient to do something to compromise the result.  Usually the discomfort prevents them.  What is more important is surgeon and procedure selection.  Experience and results matter.  Look at plenty of before and after photos.  Correct dissection of the pockets and implant size/placement are vital.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Three Rules for Breast Augmentation Recovery

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1. Closely follow all of your surgeon's post-op instructions.
2. Do not strain yourself.
3. Contact your surgeon asap should you experience anything unusual.

You should ask your surgeon for their opinion as well, since there may be something unique to you.

Avoid bouncing activities

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Normal activities will most likely have not long term effects on your breasts.  Just be careful and avoid activities that make the breasts bounce up and down.  Moderation of activities is the key after breast surgery.  It is the repetitive bouncing up and down that you want to avoid.  Also it helps to wear a well fitting bra.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

3 Key Tips for Breast Augmentation Recovery

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1. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. (Take medications as directed. Get plenty of rest. Don’t over exert yourself for the first few days. Attend all post-op appointments.)

2. Be realistic in your expectations. You will have swelling and maybe some bruising. Use ice packs (or bags of frozen veggies) to reduce post-op swelling.

3. If you smoke, stop smoking for at least 6 weeks before surgery and don’t smoke during your recovery. Smoking greatly increases your risk of complications.

It is important to consider the physical and emotional issues that can occur during recovery. As your surgeon will tell you, it is important not to rush the recovery process as allowing your body time to properly heal will lead to more rewarding results.

Glenn M. Davis, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Breast augmentation recovery

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3 important rules to follow after breast augmentation:

1. Follow the instructions of your surgeon

2. Follow the instructions of your surgeon

3. Follow the instructions of your surgeon

You chose your surgeon, presumably because you trusted that they would communicate well with you, do the best work, make the correct and safest decisions with your goals in mind, guide you through your recovery period with carefully selected post-operative instructions tailored to your specific surgery and anatomy, and be able to take care of problems should they arise.  Why look elsewhere for guidance unless you feel that you chose the wrong surgeon? (And, by the way, some patients who shop primarily by price do unfortunately find out that they chose the wrong surgeon.)

3 Essential Rules while Recovering from Breast Augmentation

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No matter what type of breast implant surgery you have or who your surgeon is, these three essential rules are universal during recovery:

  1. Read your postop instruction carefully and follow them to the letter. It will answer most of your concerns, optimize outcome, and prevent possible problems.
  2. Use common sense.  Listen to your body and if it doesn't feel right don't do it.  
  3. Be patient.  Your immediate results will often not reflect how you will look in three months once the swelling has resolved and the implants settle.

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 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.