Planning your breast augmentation recovery? Not quite sure what to expect? Our Practice Nurse Alecia walks you through the stages of breast augmentation recovery and our top tips for bouncing back from surgery sooner below.
What to expect after your breast augmentation procedure
The night before surgery
It’s almost time! It is completely normal to feel a mixture of nerves/excitement before surgery – remember, surgery is an emotional rollercoaster, but we are here for you every step of the way. If you need reassurance, go back and revisit your Plastic Surgery Planner!
24 hours post-op
You’ve done it! You will wake up from the anaesthetic feeling a little drowsy or groggy. Your chest may feel a little tight or sore, but your pain levels will be monitored and managed by your anaesthetist and nursing team before discharge. You will need someone to drive you home from hospital and stay with you for the next 48 hours after surgery.
The first week post-op
It’s time to relax and recover! Typically, day 3-5 post-op is the most uncomfortable. You can find our top tips for recovering from plastic surgery here. We recommend taking regular Panadol/Neurofen, along with your prescription pain relief as required. The combination of anaesthetic, antibiotics and pain relief may make you feel bloated/swollen – this is completely normal and will subside with time. We recommend taking a gentle stool softener like Movicol to help with any post-surgical constipation.
The next few weeks
After the first week, we encourage patients to wean off their prescription pain relief. You should begin to feel less discomfort each day and begin to slowly ease back into your everyday routine. You may resume driving after you have ceased your prescription pain relief and gentle exercise (such as walking) from two weeks post-op. More information about resuming exercise after breast augmentation is in your Plastic Surgery Planner and here.
Six months to twelve months post-op
Yay! Now is the time to enjoy your surgical results. We can’t wait to see you in the clinic for your official ‘after’ photo!
Dos and don’ts for breast augmentation recovery
- Read your Plastic Surgery Planner booklet thoroughly – follow your recovery guidelines and ensure you can attend your scheduled post-operative appointments.
- Plan ahead! Organise your support crew prior to surgery. Who will take you to hospital? Drive you home? Help to look after your children? Clean the house? Prepare meals?
- Eat a nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids to support your body through the recovery process.
- Stay on top of your pain relief. Taking scheduled pain relief will ensure you avoid any sudden waves of pain.
- Indulge in your favourite Netflix series.
- Relax and focus on your recovery. Know that breast augmentation recovery is a journey and will require you to be patient with your body.
- Take advantage of our Healite LED light therapy at your post-operative visits to aid your recovery and help with pain, swelling and bruising.
- Contact our team with any questions or concerns – that’s what we’re here for!
- Exercise or physically exert yourself. Before 6 weeks post-op, you will be unable to lift any object over 5kg (including your children). Pushing yourself harder than you should will have a negative impact on your surgical results.
- Overanalyse your surgical results during your recovery period. The ‘drop and fluff’ process takes time.
- Go for a swim, bath, or saturate your dressings in the shower. Your dressings are designed to stay in place for 3-4 weeks. While they are water resistant, you should avoid getting them wet.
- Smoke or use any tobacco products. This can lead to wound breakdown, tissue death (necrosis) and even loss of implants. More information about why smoking and plastic surgery don’t mix is here.
- Update your wardrobe straight away. We know it’s exciting, but we recommend waiting until at least 12 weeks post-op before heading out to purchase new lingerie to ensure your breast size has stabilised.
- Suffer in silence. If you are struggling with your breast augmentation recovery, we are here to help.
More FAQs about breast augmentation recovery
How much time will I need to take off work?
We recommend you take one to two weeks off work following breast augmentation. Depending on the physicality of your role, you may be more comfortable with a longer recovery time. Please note, you will be required to wear your surgical garment (including a soft crop bra, stabiliser band and fat grafting leggings if required) underneath your work attire for 6 weeks following your procedure.
How long is the total recovery period?
Most patients can return to ‘life as normal’ after about 6 weeks. The breasts will continue to ‘drop and fluff’ over the course of the next several months, reaching the final result at the 6–12-month mark.
What will my post-surgical garments look like and how often do I need to wear them?
Your post-surgical garments will consist of a soft crop style bra and may include an elastic stabiliser band and knee length compression leggings. It is important that you wear your post-surgical garments as much as possible during the first 6 weeks post-operatively. You may have a small break from your surgical garments for no more than 2 hours per day. Many patients find it easier to purchase a second post-op bra garment, so they have one to wash and one to wear. Your garments are safe to wash/dry on a gentle setting.
Do I really need to wear the stabiliser band?
If you have been provided with a stabiliser band, you are required to wear it. The stabiliser band will apply a gentle pressure to the top of the implants and ensure they drop into the desired position. Our nursing team will assess your need for the stabiliser band at each post-op visit. More information about your stabiliser band and how to position it correctly is here.
Do I need to massage the breast implants?
No. We advise you let the breasts complete the ‘drop and fluff’ process on their own – gravity will do all the work for you! Massaging the breasts in the immediate post-op period is not required and may even lead to the implants being manipulated into a position that they shouldn’t. If your skin is feeling dry during the post-operative period, you may gently apply moisturiser to your chest avoiding your dressings.
Help! My breast implants look too small/too big/strange?!
It is normal for breast implants not to look ‘quite right’ during the initial recovery. The first few days post-op are what we often call the “Frankenboob” stage! At this point the swelling is often significant, resulting in the breast implant sitting very high… sometimes almost up to the collar bone. Ironically,, despite all the swelling, the breasts can look ‘smaller’ than expected because the breast skin and tissue, along with the pec muscle, puts pressure on the implant, effectively holding it in. This results in a flatter, square shaped breasts in the first few weeks. The nipples also often look quite low on the breasts in the immediate post-op period. More information about the ‘drop and fluff’ process is here. Trust the process!
I can hear the implants making noises... is this normal?!
Don’t be alarmed! During the post-operative period, it is very normal to hear a variety of slight sounds emerging the breasts. These noises can range from popping, to sloshing, gurgling, vibrating, rubbing or creaking, and are all usually related to a combination of trapped air and post-op fluid in the new ‘pocket’ created for the implant. Small air bubbles and collections of fluid will eventually be absorbed back into the body, and these sound effects will decrease over time. If you do experience a sound that does alarm you, or is accompanied by pain, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.
Is it normal for my nipple sensitivity to be different after surgery?
Yes! Many patients report that their breasts and nipples feel hypersensitive OR less sensitive following their breast augmentation procedure. It can take 6-12 months for nipple sensitivity to return to normal following your procedure.
What can I do to minimise my breast augmentation scars?
Wear your support garment, limit excessive movement and keep your dressings as clean and dry as possible during your recovery phase. From 6-weeks post op, our nursing team will discuss with you commencing your scar management regime. More information about minimising your scars after breast augmentation is here.
When should I be fitted for an underwire bra?
At 6 weeks post-op, you will no longer be required to wear your surgical garments. We recommend transitioning into soft and supportive sports bras and crops until you reach 12 weeks post-op. At 12 weeks post-op, you may be fitted for an underwire bra. We recommend being professionally fitted by a bra expert – we can highly recommend Bras N Things at Charlestown Square.
Have another question about your breast augmentation recovery?
Check out more of our most common patient questions after plastic surgery here. Still looking for an answer? Please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly team on 4920 7700. Wishing you the best of luck with your breast augmentation recovery!
More blogs you may be interested in:
- Common patient questions after breast and body surgery
- Post-surgery bloating and swelling explained
- How can I manage surgery and my young family?
- Are stretch marks normal after breast augmentation?
- What is the ‘drop and fluff’ process after breast implants?
- Tips to bounce back from surgery sooner
- Why do we use a stabiliser band?
- What bra size will these implants make me?
- Do I still need to wear a bra after breast surgery?
- How to get the best long term results from your plastic surgery
Alecia Baker, Practice Nurse, Hunter Plastic Surgery
Alecia joined us as our Practice Nurses in 2018. She is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in nursing and patient management in some of the busiest hospital settings in the Hunter! She really cares about helping our patients become healthy and happy. Her kind and calm manner help them feel comfortable during their journey with us.