Every day I receive questions from patients and prospective patients about what to expect during their breast augmentation recovery. I welcome these questions since the recovery period is one of the most vital aspects of the surgery, and can significantly affect the health and appearance of your new breasts. To make sure that you are healing well and that there are no complications, here are a few things that you should expect in the weeks following your procedure.

The First 24 to 48 Hours

Breast augmentation is performed under general anesthesia. Once you wake up, you can expect to experience grogginess that will last through the first night. Because of this, you must have someone present to drive you home and stay with you for the first night to help you with activities and chores. This can include meal preparation, getting changed, and preparing for bed. You will experience bruising, swelling, nipple sensitivity, and overall tightness and soreness. Cold compresses and pain medication will help with this discomfort. Although you will be prescribed pain medication, I prefer that you use over-the-counter options if possible. The first two days should focus entirely on rest so that your body can start the healing process. A comfortable and stress-free place to relax is a necessity for your recovery.

Week One

Showering can typically begin after 48 hours. Before you shower, remove any loose dressings but do not remove the surgical tape that covers the incisions. This will fall off naturally when they are ready. You will be given a surgical compression garment before you leave the office on the day of your surgery. This garment should be worn around the clock during your entire recovery, except when you shower, to ensure that the implants settle properly and blood circulation continues. Sutures and dressings are typically removed after one week, but the swelling and bruising will continue.

Post-Operative Diet

Your diet plays a significant role during your recovery. You should focus on a nutritious diet that is full of lean protein, vegetables, and vitamin-rich food. This will reduce inflammation and promote cell regeneration. Hydration is also vital during this time. Staying hydrated will help you recover quicker and help reduce the appearance of the scars.

Week Two Through Six

Most patients return to work and their daily activities after one week. You may require additional time off if your job is particularly strenuous or requires extensive movement of the upper body. During this time, you will notice a decrease in post-operative bruising and swelling, and your results will start to take shape. Although you can return to your normal activities, you still do not want to lift anything over a couple of pounds. You may still need additional help around the house, and strenuous exercise of the upper body should be avoided.

After Six Weeks

Most patients are cleared to resume all activities, including upper body exercises, after six weeks. Most of the swelling should dissipate by this time, and you will be able to see what your final results will be. At this time, you can also say goodbye to the compression garment and return to a regular bra. I suggest working back into an underwire bra slowly, as the wires can rub and irritate the incisions. The size of your new breasts may continue to shift over the next few months; this is normal and not cause for alarm. Once the residual swelling dissipates, you can finally enjoy your new breasts.


For more information about breast augmentation, or to set up a consultation, contact Dr. Reichner by calling (714) 997-5200 or by filling out our online contact form.