Breast augmentation is a serious procedure that requires a lot of pre-surgery preparation as well as post-surgery rehabilitation. To have the best chance of a successful outcome, like with any operation, you must take care of your body and follow your doctor’s medical advice.

Keep reading to discover how long it takes to recover from a breast augmentation surgery.


Types of breast augmentation surgery

There are two types of breast augmentation surgery: breast implants and fat transfer augmentation. However, there are other alternatives within those two categories depending on how you want your breasts to feel and look. Before going ahead with breast augmentation, do your homework to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each type of procedure. To gather all the information you need, make sure to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The most popular type of breast augmentation is breast implants. Options for breast implants include:

  • Saline implants: This type of implant contains sterile saline, which is salt water. If the implant were to break inside your breast, the saline would naturally be absorbed and disposed of by the body. 
  • Structured saline implants: These implants also contain sterile saline and are built to have an inner structure that makes the implant feel more natural.
  • Silicone implants: these implants are made of silicone gel. In the event that the implants were to break inside your breast, the gel could either stay within its shape or leak into your breast and body. If you choose to get silicone implants, you might have to make regular appointments with your plastic surgeon to ensure that your implants are not leaking.
  • Form-stable implants: These implants are also known as gummy bear breast implants because they tend to keep their shape even in the event that the implant shell breaks. These are typically made of a thicker silicone gel and tend to be firmer than traditional implants. However, it is important to note that form-stable breast implants require a longer surgery.
  • Round implants: These implants typically make breasts look fuller. As the implants are circular, they don’t usually change the look and feel of your breast if they happen to rotate.
  • Smooth implants: These implants typically feel the softest out of all the types of implants. Smooth breast implants often make breast movement appear more natural than other types of implants.
  • Textured implants: These implants cause scar tissue to form around the implant, making them less prone to moving around within your breast. Although rare, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is more common in women who choose to have textured breast implants. 

During a fat transfer breast augmentation, your plastic surgeon will use liposuction to take fat from an alternative area of your body and then inject that fat into your breasts. This type of augmentation is typically for people who seek a minor increase in breast size. Your surgeon will most likely extract fat tissue from one of the following areas:

  • Your stomach;
  • Your sides and the lower back of your abdomen;
  • Your back; 
  • Your thighs.

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Breast augmentation recovery time

Every woman is unique, and recuperation times can differ from one woman to another. Several factors, including implant size and type, location, and even the plastic surgeon’s expertise, can alter recovery time. Typically, a complete recovery normally takes four to six weeks. During this period, avoid strenuous physical activity, lifting large objects, and overextending yourself.

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What to expect after a breast augmentation

24 hours after the operation

Soreness, weariness, nausea, chest tightness, and oversensitivity or loss of sensitivity in the breasts are all possible side effects in the first 24 hours after the procedure. Swelling and bruising are also possible side effects that will fade with time.

After the procedure, you will need to rest in the post-operation room for a few hours until the anesthesia wears off completely. You must have a ride home from a trustworthy family member or friend who can and will continue to assist and look after you for a few days after the surgery.

You may experience severe pain and suffering for the first 24 hours. It is typically recommended that you take over-the-counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen. To keep you comfortable, your doctor may prescribe further pain medication and muscle relaxants.

5 to 7 days after the operation

You may experience pain or discomfort after the first week. However, it is important to note that the intensity of the pain should have largely reduced. If advised by your plastic surgeon, you may be able to resume regular activities at this time.

Nonetheless, strenuous movements such as lifting your arms above your head should be avoided because they can cause irritation and bleeding. Your breast implants should start to settle in at this point. It is important to consider any advice from your plastic surgeon, such as massaging the breast tissue to assist in relaxing the muscles and minimizing swelling.

3 to 4 weeks after the operation

You should have little to no soreness at this point. Breast swelling and bruising should also have largely subsided and disappeared. However, depending on the type of operation and complications, it is considered normal to still experience some bruising. Your plastic surgeon may advise you to start doing light exercises but to avoid severe activity. At this time, wearing a post-surgical bra and front closure bras can help facilitate recovery.

4 to 6 weeks after the operation

Most patients have recovered at this point and can resume their normal activities. Your breasts should start to look and feel more natural and normal. Patients should aim to schedule an appointment with their surgeon to have their breast implants thoroughly examined.

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Possible complications

Breast augmentation, like any other type of surgery, has the potential for complications. Scarring, wound infections, and bleeding concerns, such as blood loss, are all common and general surgical consequences. An allergic reaction to anesthesia is also possible, but it is typically quite uncommon. 

Breast augmentation complications can include the following:

  • Breast pain
  • Breast numbness
  • Unwanted or poor cosmetic results
  • Nipple changes
  • Uneven breasts
  • Scarring that alters the breast shape
  • Scarring around the implant
  • Breast or nipple sensation changes
  • Breast cellulitis
  • Incorrect position of implant
  • Implant can be seen or felt
  • Implant leak or break
  • Skin wrinkling over the implant
  • Breast cellulitis
  • Breasts appear to merge
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Breast implant illness
  • Breastfeeding problems


7 tips for a healthy recovery

The success of breast augmentation surgery is determined by your ability to heal successfully. You can improve your chances of a speedy recovery by:

  1. Wearing a recovery bra as directed by your plastic surgeon. Recovery bras offer support while also reducing discomfort and swelling.
  2. Taking excellent care of your incisions. You may be required to wear a bandage or apply ointment, depending on your plastic surgeon’s preference. Always stick to the instructions.
  3. Taking medication as prescribed. Pain medication will make you feel more at ease during the first couple of weeks. If your doctor has recommended antibiotics, make sure you finish them.
  4. Preparing and organizing your home before surgery. Finish any cleaning and prepare your food before the operation. When you return home to heal, you’ll need to rest. 
  5. Dressing comfortably. Clothing that is loose-fitting and breathable will make you feel more at ease.
  6. Avoiding strenuous exercise. Strenuous exercise can slow down the healing process.
  7. Consuming healthy foods. A nutritious diet will aid your body’s recovery. Eat a lot of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. 

How to choose the right breast implant size for your body?


Breast augmentation consultation

A consultation with an expert is required if you want to have the best chance of recovery. To ensure that you and your surgeon are on the same page, pay close attention and ask a lot of questions. It’s also a good idea to book appointments with a few specialists so you can choose the one you like most. You should always get referrals, look at portfolios, and read reviews, but ultimately, you should go with your gut.

The plastic surgeon will not only assist you in selecting the ideal procedure, he will also tell you more about what can and cannot be done depending on your individual anatomy, as well as what to expect in terms of results.

Book a breast augmentation consultation