What To Expect After A Breast Reshaping

By Peter Henderson, MD

Breasts may be any variety of forms and sizes, including small, extensive, round, narrow, side set, teardrop, or asymmetrical. They can also be narrow or round. Breast augmentation, on the other hand, has traditionally provided a way for women who are unhappy with the size or shape of their natural breasts to alter their appearance artificially.

Surgeon drawing breast surgery lines on a woman's breast

Since the experimental operations of the early 20th century and the emergence of breast implants in 1961, breast augmentation has gone a long way to become one of the most consistently popular cosmetic treatments of recent decades. The procedure is one of the most well-known instances of cosmetic surgery. Over many years, it has become critical in forming the cultural understanding of the area in question. The recovery process for breast augmentation continues to be a source of bewilderment for many patients, even though it was performed on about 200,000 women in the United States in 2020 alone. Despite this, many patients are still uncertain of what to anticipate following the treatment.

How long does it take to recuperate from breast augmentation after the procedure?

Although the length of time it takes to recuperate after breast augmentation might vary widely based on the details of your treatment, your current state of health, and the aftercare you get, a basic schedule often holds true.

“Depending on the technique used, recovery can be as short as three weeks (with subglandular augmentation, which is my preferred method) or as long as three months (with submuscular technique, which is significantly more painful and involves cutting your pectoralis major muscles and stretching them over an implant),” explains Karen Horton, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco and member of the ASPS.

Is there anything you must refrain from doing in the days leading up to your operation to speed up your recovery?

Despite the widespread notion, the healing process for breast augmentation really begins well before the procedure itself. Patients are not restricted in any way in terms of their ability to engage in physical activity in the days and weeks leading up to the surgery; however, some medications and supplements should be avoided.

According to Dr Horton, anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and others like them, are “the biggest culprits” for raising the risk of bleeding and bruising after surgical procedures. A variety of vitamins and supplements, including vitamin E, fish oil, ginkgo Biloba, and garlic, are among those that should be avoided for a period of two weeks before to (and after) surgical procedures. According to specific research, when they are in a concentrated state, they may cause an increase in bleeding.

Woman holding bandages around her breasts.

What should you expect during the first week of your recovery?

Breast augmentation, like any other surgical procedure, requires the patient to undergo several stages of recuperation in the days, weeks, and months following the process. Immediately after the procedure, the patient’s relaxation and icing will be their highest priorities.

According to Anureet Bajaj, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who is also a member of the ASPS, “Ice is your greatest buddy in terms of keeping swelling down and helping to reduce the discomfort, and that’s the approach I do with my patients today.”

Most breast augmentation procedures do not need drains since they remove wound fluid rather than require the body to absorb it. However, chutes may drastically reduce the amount of time needed for recovery.

According to Dr Bajaj, “after a breast augmentation, most ladies do not have any drains, and the incisions are entirely healed.” According to this line of reasoning, there shouldn’t be much hassle. However, during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the procedure, you can have some itching in the area of the incisions.

How much agony do you anticipate experiencing?

It is impossible to predict precisely how painful the recovery after breast augmentation will be since so many variables are involved. Still, it might be helpful to have a general concept of what to anticipate.

Dr Bajaj remembers that her pain and discomfort during her breast augmentation were not severe. “From what I remember, the pain and discomfort weren’t like a sharp ache,” she said. “I got the impression that I had completed 150 pushups, and the discomfort in my chest lasted for days after that. It seemed to me like muscular discomfort after engaging in the most strenuous exercise of your whole life, and that is how I explain the sensation to my patients.” She cautions her patients that the morning following the procedure, they will experience more pain than usual and that when they first wake up, they won’t want to move for fear of aggravating their discomfort.

Many women who have received breast augmentation also report experiencing some degree of muscular stiffness in the days after surgery whenever they move or lift their arms. According to Dr Bajaj, “your pectoralis is related to your humour,” which means that if you move your arm in any way, you may get discomfort in your chest. In the early aftermath of the procedure, you may also feel a burning sensation around the incisions; however, this feeling should go away quite fast.

When will you be able to resume your regular activities?

It only takes approximately a week for a person to recuperate sufficiently following surgery to return to work (if they have an office job), as well as most activities; but, there are some things, namely exercise, that need the patient to wait a little longer.

“I normally advise patients that they may start working out at around three weeks post-op, which includes legs and arms but no chest,” adds Dr Bajaj. “This implies that chest exercises are off the table.” “When I went jogging for the first time after surgery, it was approximately two weeks after the procedure, and I recall having the sensation that my breasts were about to fall off my chest. So I tell my patients that when they first start doing any kind of cardio that is particularly bouncy, that is how it will feel. They may want to wear two bras to compensate for that.”

Woman holding her breasts and wearing a pink bra

What sort of scars should you anticipate experiencing?

Breast augmentation is one of the many surgical procedures leaving at least one visible scar. However, due to recent developments in methods and technology, their impact may be kept to an absolute minimum.

Initially, the lines will be relatively thin. After going through an inflammatory stage in which they appear as tiny red lines, the lines will eventually become less noticeable. “However, most scars will begin to disappear after a year, and if they are located beneath the breast, it takes a lot of effort to view them. The vast majority of my patients don’t even bring it up.”

Peter Henderson

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us

Patient Resources

We’re here to help, with a number of patient resources designed to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Read through the materials below, and don’t hesitate to reach out and set up your consultation to learn more about what we can do for you.

Patient Forms

Online Forms


Learn More


Sign Up

Call Email Results