In Breast Augmentation, Does Size Decrease As the Swelling Goes Down?

I had my surgery last Thursday, they are still swollen but I feel they are a bit bigger that what I have wanted. I went with 285cc under the muscle, I feel I should have gone with less than that, maybe 50cc less to make it a difference. I am 5´1, 90lbs, and BWD of 11cm. I was 32A looking to be a full B and now my surgical bra size is 34C. That´s a little too much for me. Does size decreases as the swelling goes down? How much do I have to wait for a redo going 50cc smaller?

Doctor Answers 37

Too big, too tight, too high, tot swollen after breast augmentation surgery.

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Hi, thank you for your question.

You are at the very beginning of what is really a six month process as the tissues of your body relax and the implants settle over time.

I always tell my patients that they will look too big, too tight, too high, and too swollen right after surgery so that they won't panic the first week.

Unfortunately, patients don't get to see what the plastic surgeons sees in the operating room.  As you roll out to the recovery room the breasts begin to swell and the muscles begin to tighten.  Often there's some fluid that initially accumulates around the outside of the implant.  In the early stage when the muscles which are tight press on the implant it generally makes them look higher as well.

Over the next six months the body relaxes, the fluid absorbs, the muscles give way, the implants will see less upper portion fullness and will look lower and fuller on the chest.  It will generally take about three weeks before you begin to believe that changes are happening.

Unfortunately you really won't know if the size is exactly what you want for about six months but if you had good communication with your plastic surgeon chances are you'll be happy.  A paradox of this operation is of the people like you who are scared in the first week about 60 to 70% will eventually say hmm.... maybe I could've gone bigger?

I hope in the end you get exactly which are looking for, but a week after surgery is way too early to be worried that this is your final result.

Best wishes for a speedy and happy recovery.


Breast Augmentation Swelling

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Dear Alice, Thank you for your post. It is very common to be about a size bigger right after surgery than what your final result will be. Swelling starts to occur right after surgery and tends to peak in the first week. After about a month you will have lost most of the swelling, but still not completely at baseline. After about another 3 months or so, you will have lost 99% of your swelling, but still you have a pretty good idea at 1 month. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on bras until 3 months as they might not fit perfectly after all the swelling goes away. Also, the more activity you have, the longer the swelling stays, the more that needs to be done as far as lift etc. with surgery, the longer your swelling stays. Best Wishes! Pablo Prichard, MD

Unhappy with size at one week

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I generally tell my breast augmentation patients that if they are happy with their size the first week, I have chosen the wrong implant. You are swollen, your implants haven't dropped yet and you still probably don't feel great after surgery. This is not the time to make any decisions about your result. You will see some changes over the next several weeks and months, give yourself time to heal and to get used to your new look. Remember you hired an artist not a technician, trust your surgeon and give it some time, I bet in 6 months you'll love your breasts.

Good luck to you!

Thomas B. Lintner, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Swelling and breast size

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Thank you for your question. During the post-operative period the breast are swollen, and the breast implants appear in a much higher position. Over time they descend and fills out the lower half of the breast. It may take several months for this to happen and can be encouraged with breast massage and compression. It may appear that the breast enlarges as the lower aspect of the breast fills out (at the expense of the upper portion of the breast).

Recovery Following Breast Augmentation Takes Time

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Unfortunately at only one week post-op it's still too early to know what your final result will be. It can be difficult and frustrating to have patience after your surgery, especially if you've been wanting this for yourself for a long time. The good news is, you will likely end up with a final result that is closer in line with what you want. Breast size tends to decrease as swelling does. If you discussed your goals and expectations with your surgeon prior to your procedure, it's likely that the implant that was used was best suited to what you hoped to achieve. Wait at least 4 months, if you still have concerns, you might wish to talk to your doctor.

Swelling after a breast augmentation

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Swelling is normal after a breast augmentation. If one breast is much larger than the other there is a possibility of a hematoma. At one week you can expect some degree of asymmetry. If you believe that the size is much larger than you expected it would be best to check with your plastic surgeon since he understands your surgery and unique anatomy. If for no other reason it may give you some reassurance.

Swelling Following Breast Augmentation Surgery

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         Patients undergoing breast augmentation can anticipate significant swelling in the immediate post-operative period.  This swelling resolves quickly, with the vast majority being gone in about three weeks.  Almost all of the visible swelling is gone in about 4 to 6 weeks, but small amounts of residual swelling may be present for up to 3 to 4 months following surgery.


         Compression bras and dressing are frequently used following breast augmentation to the minimize swelling.  Swelling can add to a patient’s post-operative discomfort.  It can also be the source of anxiety regarding breast size in the immediate post-operative period.


          It is not unusual for patients to express concern about breast augmentation surgery.  In some cases, swelling can be significant and make the breasts look much larger than they will ultimately end up.  As swelling resolves patients rapidly adjust to their new breast size and the majority, are ultimately very happy with their size.


         For these reasons, we feel it’s important for the patient and the surgeon to have good communication following surgery.  In this situation, a little reassurance can go a long way towards making this a more comfortable experience.  Be patient, it’s far too early to be concerned about revisional surgery.  There’s a good chance you will end up happy with your breast size.

You are definitely still swollen

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It is certainly too early to evaluate the size of your breasts, as the swelling is going to make them look larger than they actually will be. 50 cc is also a small difference and I would not recommend another surgery to get a very minor change in their size. You should be seeing your surgeon regularly for follow-up visits and should discuss your concerns with him/her at that time. Best of luck. 

Healing time alters breast augmentation size and shape

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Edema, distortion initially if under the muscle, transient fluid from irrigation, local anesthetics, and serum, as well as the process of skin, breast tissue and/or muscle all need to adjust to the new implant volume. Therefore you will not know your final size and shape for months

Does SIze Decrease Swelling

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Size of the breast does decrease as swelling goes down after breast augmentation. Sometimes this can represent as much as a cup size of artificial fullness before swelling abates. Increasingly some patients like the noticed fullness of their swollen breasts the night after surgery and then become discouraged when they "shrink" with normal healing. Accurate assessment of desired breast size is critical in the pre operative consultation and is something we focus on in breast augemenation practice.

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.