Breast Augmentation: A Timeline for Recovery By Oren Zvi Lerman, M.D. on September 04, 2014

A woman with beautiful, natural curves For the right patients, a breast augmentation can leave long-lasting, positive effects on one’s body-image, self-confidence, and overall contours. Of course, any plastic surgery procedure requires a successful recovery before patients can fully benefit from their new look. Moreover, it is during this post-operative healing that patients must be especially careful to ensure that they remain in good health. If complications or unforeseen side effects arise, it is important that patients communicate these concerns to their doctor as soon as possible.

At our Manhattan plastic surgery clinic, we want you to enjoy your breast enhancement with a relatively quick and uncomplicated recovery. To help you maintain reasonable expectations for treatment at every stage, we offer the following timeline for recovery. 

The First Few Days of Recovery

The early stages of recovery should be devoted primarily to rest, to encourage healing in the damaged breast tissues from surgery. Over the first few days, you will begin to see the main side effects of surgery, namely:

  • Swelling: The area of surgery will likely become swollen in the second or third day of recovery. This is a typical response to tissue damage, though it will impede your ability to see the full aesthetic results of treatment. Patients are advised to withhold judgment of their results as swelling gradually recedes in the following days and weeks.
  • Bruising: Breasts may appear bruised as a result of broken blood vessels from surgery. Additional bruising may appear once swelling begins to go down. This discoloration is not typically a cause for concern, and should mostly resolve within one or two weeks.
  • Discomfort: Patients should expect the breasts to feel sore after surgery, and will likely need to use prescription painkillers for at least the first week of recovery. As tissues begin to heal and muscles strengthen, patients may switch to a less powerful over-the-counter painkiller.

To help improve comfort and reduce the severity of side effects, you will most likely be instructed to wear a special surgical bra. This compression garment will hold breasts firmly in place, allowing them to heal without disrupting the placement of tissues or the implants. Additionally, strategically placed compression will improve circulation, reduce the chances of skin irregularities, and keep bandages tightly over the incisions to minimize the risk of infection. 

Throughout the first week, you should limit any physical tasks to those which are necessary and undemanding. Although it is a good idea to occasionally take brief, light walks to promote circulation, you should not do anything that requires effort or puts stress on your upper body. With proper rest, you should be able to return to work within seven to 10 days, assuming your job is not physically strenuous.        

The Following Few Weeks

In the second to third week of recovery, most of the side effects of surgery will have improved significantly. You will see very little (if any) bruising, and swelling will have diminished enough for you to get a rough idea of what your final results will look like. Although your breasts will still be sore, and you will probably still be required to wear a surgical compression bra, you should be feeling well enough to engage in most daily tasks. Exercise and demanding physical activities should still be avoided at this point, however, as the body still requires time to strengthen its tissues within the breast.    

Months after Recovery

Roughly one month after surgery, your life should be almost completely back to normal and you will have an accurate idea of what your breasts should look like from the augmentation. There may be some residual swelling and soreness, and the incisions will still have relatively new scars, but you will be healed enough to truly start benefiting from the results of your augmentation.

At this point, it is a good idea to ask your doctor what tasks you can be expected to perform. Certain forms of exercise and physical demands will gradually become safe to perform with each passing month. For some women, it may take a full year before their upper body is once again able to safely undergo the stress of their previous lifestyle. For this reason, it is vital that you periodically speak with your doctor and follow up with exams to track your progress and ensure you are taking the right steps toward a healthy recovery.

Contact Us Today

If you have recently undergone breast augmentation surgery, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your recovery. Alternatively, if you would like to speak with Dr. Lerman to learn more about our various plastic surgery treatment options, schedule your consultation today.  

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Dr. Oren Lerman

Oren Z. Lerman, MD

Dr. Oren Lerman performs a variety of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures with a specialty in reconstructive breast surgery. In fact, he is the director of breast reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital's Institute for Comprehensive Breast Care as well as the Microvascular and Cosmetic Breast Fellowship. In addition to the hospital, Dr. Lerman is affiliated with:

  • The New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons (Past President)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery (Diplomate)
  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery

You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Lerman by filling out our online form or calling (212) 434-6980.

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"The one thing that is most important when we're doing cosmetic surgery and aesthetic surgery of the face or the body is to make sure that the patient is happy afterwards..." Dr. Oren Lerman

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