Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

How long does the pain usually last after surgery? What can you do to minimize pain during recovery?

Doctor Answers 13

Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

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Breast augmentation operation is performed in order to increase the size of breast. Size and shape of breasts can often play a critical role in a woman’s self-esteem. Fuller and bigger breasts are often associated with reproducibility therefore it is a desired condition. There are different kinds of breast augmentation operation types. Breast augmentation can be performed either with breast implants or autologous fat transfer. There are also different types of breast implants like teardrop or round implants. These implants also can be placed under or above the muscle. As you can imagine there are several different options for breast augmentation. The best way to understand which one is more suitable for you is to get a physical examination by a plastic surgeon.

Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Breast Augmentation Recovery

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Breast Augmentation patients will experience some pain, swelling, and bruising immediately after surgery.  The intensity and duration of pain will vary among women. Some women may feel tightness in the chest but that is normal and the symptoms will improve over the next few weeks.  Our patients are provided pain medication for the first few days after surgery but then are able to switch to over the counter medications like Advil or Tylenol.

Adam L. Basner, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Breast augmentation: how much does it hurt?

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Recovery from breast augmentation is usually very swift for patients in my practice.  Pain tolerance varies from patient to patients and most patients find that mild pain and discomfort after surgery can be well managed with analgesics for a few days after surgery.  You will be back on your feet straight away but its important to avoid vigorous activity for around six weeks or so.  

Recovery r

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It is normal that for a few days after surgery you will be pretty sore but it’s tolerable, remember to take your pain meds as needed , the medicines that your plastic surgeon gives you. After about 2 days, you should be allowed to shower, but make sure your surgeon says it’s okay first. You will be fine! .
Remember also if you are going back to work within the first week you are not allowed to do any job that involves lifting, bending, or any physically strenuous task. 

Alfredo Hoyos, MD
Colombia Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

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Thank you for your question.  Pain is a subjective experience, so it is difficult to quantify how much pain someone will be in following surgery.  In my practice we use a rapid-recovery technique following breast augmentation, which most of my patients feel keeps their pain level very manageable. This technique, which is popular now with many physicians, typically involves the following approach: early motion exercises of the shoulders and pectoralis muscles, combined with Ibuprofen and occasionally supplemented with a muscle relaxer.  In my experience, 9 out of 10 women do very well with early motion and without the need for narcotics. Most patients are back to light activity within 3-4 days. Not all plastic surgeons use a rapid recovery approach, so you should check with your own doctor regarding his or her recommendations.  I hope this helps.  

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Breast augmentation

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The implant surgery can be effectively performed in under an hour.  The pain is moderate.  The patients are usually off the pain medicine after a week.

Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

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Pain in Breast Augmentation is very well controlled by a combination of medications and other measures. A good Plastic Surgeon would ensure your pain is minimal.

Pain in General is caused by Trauma( damage) to tissues and Injury to Nerve ( Nerve pain)
In Breast Augmentation the folllowing cause pain
1. The Surgical Incision on the skin used to insert the implant
2. Cutting of the Muscle in an attempt to insert the implant under the muscle
3. Accidental stretching of the nerves or Damage to the nerves during Surgery
4, The discomfort due to the stretching of the tissues after the implant is inserted
5. Any  infection
6. Excessive activity while the tissues are still healing.

Plastic Surgeons use many modalities to minimise pain.
1.Injecting local anaesthetic into the area and the muscle prior to surgery helps.
2. Regular post operative pain relief using a combination of Narcotic and non narcotic analgesia ( pain killers).
3. Meticulous and careful dissection and gentle handling during surgery to minimise tissue damage, minimise bleeding and pain
4. Use of Antibiotics 
5. Non touch technique to minimise contamination and hence reduce the risk of infection


Is breast augmentation painful?

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Important question as often patients worry about pain (and going under anaesthetic). My observations from closely following up patients suggest that it is more of an ache than a sharp pain. In general, patients are pleasantly surprised by how little pain they experience. There is usually little discomfort on the first day (due to local anaesthetic injections during the operation and narcotic analgesia). The two days following the operation are the most uncomfortable but the pain quickly subsides after that. Also it is well established that the pain associated with submuscular implant placement is greater than submammary. All of this needs to be taken in context - pain perception is very subjective and some patients recover much faster than others. Good luck.

Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

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Discomfort after breast augmentation often requires narcotic pain medicine the first 3-4 days especially if the implants are placed under the muscle. Resting, keeping your arms at your sides and avoiding upper body and arm activity for the first 4-5 days can help avoid pain. Pain is less when implants are placed under the breast on top of the muscle.

Breast Augmentation: How much does getting implants hurt?

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Discomfort following breast augmentation surgery is quite variable.
It makes a difference if you already have children and nursed prior to surgery, placement above or below the muscle, the size of implant you choose, and the surgical technique used to some degree.  

If the surgeon uses a long acting local anesthetic or a "pain pump" it can be helpful to minimize the immediate post-op pain.  A muscle relaxant will also help with the discomfort. 

Some patients may only be using Tylenol the following day, others will require narcotics for 7-10 days.  It varies.  Most patients will need narcotics 2-4 days.  

Best of luck with your procedure!  I expect that you will love your result.

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.