When we talk to our breast augmentation patients about their experiences, they almost always say the same thing: “I wish I had done it sooner!” Breast implants can make a life-changing difference in the way you feel about yourself—but the journey to get there isn’t always without its bumps in the road.
From strange sensations to mood swings, there are a number of recovery factors that may feel new to you but are completely normal to experience. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what is normal to experience after breast augmentation and when it’s worth giving your surgeon a call.
Fatigue & Trouble Sleeping
Fatigue is absolutely to be expected after a surgery such as breast augmentation. Your body has undergone a big change and needs extra rest to recover. Additionally, the effects of general anesthesia may leave you feeling drowsy or groggy for the first few days.
Getting plenty of rest is essential, but some women find this difficult. You’ll need to sleep on your back as you heal, which can be a tough transition for stomach or side sleepers. Practicing sleeping on your back for a few nights before your surgery and placing pillows under each arm may make this easier.
If you still have trouble sleeping, make sure you take light walks throughout the day, limit caffeine, and avoid screen time before bed.
Tightness & Soreness in the Breasts
Most women don’t describe breast augmentation recovery as painful, but some unfamiliar sensations are often involved. As your breasts adjust to their new volume, it’s normal to feel as if the skin is very tight. This will ease up as your swelling subsides and your breast tissues adapt to their new shape.
Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help with this and any soreness you may experience. After a few days, women often find they can easily transition to over-the-counter medications.
Swelling & Bruising
Swelling and bruising are completely normal and peak a few days after surgery. Before sending you home, your surgeon will place you in a compression garment that will put pressure on your breasts, which keeps swelling to a minimum and prevents fluid buildup. Eventually, you will transition to a softer compression bra, later to a sports bra, and eventually to whichever type of bra you prefer to wear.
Learn more about bra shopping after breast augmentation in this blog post.
Firm & High Breasts
There is a stage of breast augmentation recovery called the “drop and fluff” stage. When this happens, your breast implants will naturally soften and settle into a natural-looking position. This usually happens anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months after breast augmentation. Until your breasts drop and fluff, though, they will likely feel firm and sit high up on your chest.
Bloating & Constipation
General anesthesia affects your digestive system, so bloating and constipation are common after any surgery that uses it. This should resolve naturally within a few days. In the meantime, focus on eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, drinking ample water, and taking a stool softener to keep you regular.
Regretful or Sad Feelings
One aspect of surgical recovery that isn’t talked about enough is the “post-op blues,” or the emotional rollercoaster that is completely normal to experience after surgery. The lingering anxiety of having a procedure done, the stress your body is experiencing, and even the effects of general anesthesia all affect your mental well-being as well as your physical health.
If you feel a bit down as you recuperate—or if you have momentary feelings of “what have I done?”—talk to a trusted loved one or try journaling about how you feel. Most importantly, know that you are not alone in feeling this way, it is temporary, and it will pass.
You can learn more about post-op depression and find coping tips in this helpful article from Healthline.
What Is Not Normal During Breast Augmentation Recovery?
Here are a few reasons to call your surgeon after breast augmentation.
If you have a fever or if your breasts feel very warm to the touch, let your surgeon know. These symptoms may be signs of infection.
Very Hard or Misshapen Breasts
While it’s normal for your breasts to feel firm and look a bit unnatural for the first few weeks, keep an eye on it. If this persists for several months, it’s a sign you may have capsular contracture, a condition in which the scar capsule around the breast implant hardens and constricts. Your surgeon can resolve this with breast augmentation revision.
Severe & Persistent Pain
If you have significant pain that won’t respond to painkillers and doesn’t subside after the first week or so, your surgeon should know about it. They will make sure you aren’t experiencing any complications and may adjust your prescribed medication so you can recuperate comfortably.
When in doubt, it’s always a safe bet to call your surgical team and let them know what you are experiencing. Your team is invested in your health and happiness and will do anything they can to keep you well and give you peace of mind as you begin your new chapter.
To see examples of the results you can expect once your breast augmentation recovery is complete, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.
If you would like to talk with a board-certified plastic surgeon about your breast augmentation journey, please request a consultation online or call (703) 560-2850.
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