Breast Augmentation Recovery Timelines

The Blog
Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


Breast Augmentation Recovery Timelines

Breast augmentation is a surgery that is meant to enhance the shape and structure of the breasts, as well as to increase the breasts’ size post-pregnancy or breastfeeding. For a smooth and flawless breast augmentation procedure, it is important to clearly and deeply understand all the steps involved before and after surgery. Before surgery, a patient willing to undergo this treatment consults with a board of certified plastic surgeon to assist them to understand the dos and don’ts necessary for a successful surgery. It is highly preferred by women because of its fast recovery within a short period of time. Although the recovery time and experience differ from one patient to another, this article outlines the breast augmentation recovery timelines.

The Day of Surgery

Recovery is highly dependent and determined from the beginning of surgery. As an outpatient procedure, this surgery lasts for two to three hours and involves the injection of general anesthesia that numbs the pain during surgery. Post-surgery, your team of doctors and nurses will take you to a recovery room where they will closely monitor you in case any alarming matter arises. After some time, the anesthesia subsides and one may begin to feel pain, tightness around the areas incisioned, and pressure in the breasts. Later during the day, the patient is discharged where he/she is picked up by their trusted friend or relative who would help care for them as they recover.

1 Day after Surgery

At this time, the wounds would still be fresh and very sensitive to any touch or movement. One is likely to observe some bruising, swelling, or even bleeding as the breasts try to adjust to the implants placed. There would be nipple sensitivity and at times tingling which would cause great discomfort. Also, one would experience a lot of pain which is managed by the pain medications the surgeon will have administered. It is for this reason that the doctors advise you to adjust your sleeping position to sleeping on your back before going through with the surgery.

2 Days after Surgery

Two days after surgery, a patient would still experience pain at the areas operated on which the doctors advise them to manage with ibuprofen, Ioratadine, and acetaminophen, otherwise referred to as over-the-counter medications. As early as now, they should begin to wear surgical bras that work together with the stabilizing strap placed around the breasts to keep them at the required position. The implants would appear high and compressed, the breasts would seem very tight and firm, the breastbone would be swollen, and the nipples would appear very low pointing downwards.

3 Days after Surgery

At this time, a patient would be able to shower carefully, minding the wounds and the implants. He/she should avoid any strenuous activity that might impose unnecessary pressure on the breasts and most importantly, they should have a lot of rest and sleep.

1 Week after Surgery

Most women are able to resume their normal activities, except the most strenuous ones which include heavy lifting. One week post-surgery, the pain, soreness, and discomfort shall have been reduced. There would be mild bruising, nonexistent swelling on the breastbone, the breasts would have a more bottom rounding with no side rounding, the nipples would still seem low, the breasts would appear tight and firm, and the implants would appear high and compressed with a slightly more projection. An itchy or burning sensation would develop within the breasts which is normal as the breasts adjust to the implants, and you may begin performing some slight exercise like light walking. Remember to always put on recovery bras that go a long way in accelerating the healing process.

2-3 Weeks after Surgery

During this time, the breast implants would still be high though less compressed. This would allow the breasts to drop, though not in unity, which is normal, making the breasts less tight, but still very firm. The nipples would still seem low, but would eventually begin to elevate upwards. The bruising would practically have disappeared as the bottom rounding becomes more visible, while the breasts overly attain a more rounded figure. Also, you would experience shooting pains and itchiness within the breasts. At this point, your surgeon would evaluate you for bra management, and you may engage in other physical activities such as cycling, lower body workouts, and walking.

6 Weeks after Surgery

At this moment, the breast implants would begin to look more like breasts and appear more attractive. The breasts would soften as the nipples begin to rise slowly to the center, though not perfectly placed. The side breasts would begin to appear round but not more than the bottom breasts, and still one breast may appear higher than the other. The incision sites would have completely healed which makes it suitable to go swimming or to fully submerge yourself in water. There may still be slight shooting pains though less frequent compared to the past few weeks, and you may comfortably put on a strapless dress or bathing suit to show off your breasts. Once in a while, during your appointments, your surgeon would evaluate you for bra management.

8-9 weeks after surgery

At this point, the breasts are looking more attractive though not to their full potential. They are soft and gentle but may still require extra time to fully adapt to the implants. The nipples will have evenly positioned themselves as the side breasts become more round and pronounced. The bottom breasts will have complete rounding fills and become more pronounced. Although one breast may still appear slightly higher than the other since asymmetry is normal during recovery, your surgeon would evaluate your bra management at every appointment. Depending on your progress of recovery, your surgeon may allow you to engage in several physical activities which include upper and lower body workouts, running, and high impact sports.

12 weeks after surgery

Here, depending on a patient’s muscles and tissues, the breasts will have a lovely attractive shape. Some may need an additional few months to allow the breasts to soften more and the implants drop adequately. The nipples should be centrally positioned if they hadn’t, and the surgical tape could be removed to allow commencement of the Scarless scar gel treatment. The breasts’ side rounding should be good, though not perfect yet, while the bottom breast rounding should become more visible with positive progress every day. Bra evaluation still continues, and a patient is free to participate in any kind of physical activity as long as she puts on a fitting sports bra that offers firm support to the breasts.

6 Months after surgery

By this time, the breasts will be much softer and tender and be in an optimal position as the bottom and side rounding attain a perfect definition. If need be, you could still use the scarless scar gel treatment on incision sites. It is advisable to always have on the appropriate fitting sports bra while engaging in any physical sporting activity. At times, surgeons would recommend the use of underwire bras to provide the breasts with solid support.


Breast augmentation is a surgery that requires serious care and attention during recovery. For a start, it is highly recommended that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions to the letter. This article outlines the timelines that accompany a swift recovery process.