Immediately following surgery, and possibly lasting for several days afterward, you are likely to feel tired, sore, and stiff. Because breast augmentation stretches the tissues, patients will likely experience some degree of pain. Pain may be more frequent or severe with younger women who have never had children before, or when the implants are placed beneath the chest muscle as opposed to directly beneath the breast tissue. Any pain will likely be most intense within the first two days following surgery, improving thereafter. Your surgeon can prescribe pain medication which may help to provide relief. You may also need to minimize your arm extension for at least three to five days following surgery, allowing the elbows to raise no higher than the armpit. This can help to avoid separation of the tissue surrounding the breast implant, allowing the tissue to heal more quickly.
Gauze bandages and other wrappings are typically removed within several days following surgery, though you may be required to wear some sort of support bra or compression bandage which will provide extra support and positioning as the breasts heal. If a drainage tube was inserted, it is typically removed within one to two days following surgery, while stitches are generally removed within a week to ten days.
As your skin adjusts to the new breast size, you may experience a feeling of tightness in the surrounding area. Any swelling of the breasts generally subsides within several weeks following surgery. Your breasts may appear hard or unnatural at first, but they should eventually soften. Additionally, the breasts can be sensitive to physical contact for a month or longer. The resulting scars along the incision site may be pink for several weeks, and will gradually begin to fade within several months.
Recovery times following breast augmentation surgery will vary from patient to patient and can depend upon several factors including the surgical technique, as well as the type and placement of the implant. On average most patients are able to return to work within a few days following surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities, but you will generally need to avoid for several weeks strenuous activities and any physical exertion which can raise the pulse and blood pressure. The surgeon may recommend breast massage exercises, and may prescribe an antibiotic and/or an anti-inflammatory. Your surgeon will want to conduct follow-up visits during certain points in the healing process, and it is essential to keep these appointments. These visits will allow the surgeon to monitor both the healing process itself and any potential complications. Be sure to immediately report to your surgeon anything unusual that you may encounter, such as fever or noticeable swelling and/or redness of the implanted breasts.
The results of breast augmentation surgery may not be permanent. The breast will remain large for the life of the implant. “Naturally” large breasts have a tendency to sag or droop faster than smaller breasts, and augmented breasts will do the same. Resulting surgeries in later years may be necessary to correct sagging (particularly with larger implants) and/or complications.