Is Swelling and Tightness After Breast Augmentation Normal?

I had breast implants put in 7 days ago. My breasts have become more swollen over the last three days and feel very hard; no pain, just tightness, aching/tingling. Is it normal to have these symptoms several days after the procedure? Most of the swelling is in the upper chest, above the nipple. My implants are under the muscle, 250cc Silicone gel.

Doctor Answers 38

Normal to have swelling after Breast Augmentation

Swelling after a breast augmentation is almost always seen. And, if can increase for several days after the surgery. So to be more swollen three to seven days after the surgery than you were immediately after the surgery, is common.

When the implants are placed under the muscle, the swelling appears higher on the breast, in the upper pole. This is because there tends to be more room for the swelling in this part of the breast than in the lower part of the breast. With the swelling there wil be more tightness.

The only thing to be concerned about would be if there was a very large amount of swelling, usually on just one side. This could mean that there was some bleeding around the implant. However, it does not sound as though this is the case.

While the swelling will dissipate as the healing process goes on, stretching of the chest muscles and massage may help. You may want to talk with you surgeon to see if there are other recommendations.

Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Swelling after breast augmentation lasts about two weeks


Swelling after breast augmentation will vary depending on your chest size and breast size relative to the implant size used, and also on the location, submuscular vs subglandular. The breast swelling typically begins several hours after and can increase over the next three to seven days. The breast will feel firm and shiny, and it is typical for the swelling to appear over the top of the breast.

For my patients I will use a soft cup bra without an underwire, which is worn 24/7 for the first two weeks. On top I use a breast band, an elastic strap around the chest to help with swelling and to hold the implant down and centered within the breast. This also holds the chest and muscle still and quiet reducing swelling.

Bleeding can also look the same way and can happen on one or both sides and can also feel like the ache in the breast as you describe. Bleeding is uncommon but see your doctor to be sure, and ask about the band on top if he thinks it is right for you. It may help you feel more comfortable.

Best of luck.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Swelling and Tightness Normal After Breast Augmentation

This is very common, particularly with sub muscular placement. Most bruising and swelling will resolve within two weeks of your surgery. You may also feel discomfort and pain, which is generally well controlled by pain medications. Tingling is usually an indication that the sensation in your breasts/nipples is returning and that is a good thing. As your body adjusts to the implants, the tightness you're experiencing will also resolve. This is usually by the fourth month.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Swelling after breast augmentation can last for 3 weeks

Some swelling  and bruising is usually accompanies augmentation procedures and can last for approximately 3 weeks. In any case, it would be best to have your surgeon evaluate the situation yo see if he considers it to be "normal.

Barry H. Dolich, MD (Retired)
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Swelling and tightness after breast augmentation

Thank you for the question. You are still early in the post operation recovery stage. It is not uncommon to feel pain, itchiness, and swelling during this period. It usually takes about 8-12 weeks for the wounds to heal and around 4-6 months for the implants to fully settle. It would be best to visit your board-certified plastic surgeon and get a full assessment if you have any concerns. Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi.

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Swelling and Tightness Post 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.

As always, please follow up with your board-certified plastic surgeon with any questions regarding recovery.

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

No pain, no gain?


The swelling that you describe may be normal. The concern would be whether you are developing a hematoma (bleeding under the tissues). If the swelling is pretty much equal on both sides, then hematoma is less likely. Call your operating surgeon. He/she would certainly like to know if there is something out of the ordinary. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Swelling after breast augmentation is quite normal

What you are describing sounds quite normal, but if you have any concerns, the best person to evaluate you is your surgeon. Most of us are very happy to see our patients in these situations, if for nothing else than to reassure you that things are progressing normally.

My advice-- call your surgeon, set up a quick follow up visit; I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from you!

Dr. S

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Sounds like a common recovery experience so far

Hi there,

It sounds like you are experiencing a relatively average recovery for the procedure you had done. I would be concerned if, in addition to your swelling and tightness you also had lots of bruising and a black and blue appearance, but as long as you don't, I would expect the symptoms you're having to resolve over the next week or two (obviously improving as that time goes by). Wear your support bra and keep all of your appointments. Congratulations on your new form!

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Tightness and swelling after Breast Augmentation are normal

Tightness and swelling after breast augmentation are normal expectations, but these tend to improve after three or four days. Certainly check with your surgeon to see if you do not have a hematoma or seroma developing. If not, give things time.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.