The recovery process from breast augmentation surgery varies from woman to woman. Some women have an easy time while others experience more difficulty. Recovery times are also individual, and like with any other surgery, some tend to bounce back faster than others. The recovery time also depends on the placement of the breast implants: those placed under the muscle take longer to recover compared to those placed over. The technique used also affects the recovery time.
After surgery, your breast augmentation surgeon should describe to you the basic postoperative recovery process, likely complications, and time frames for the recovery process. Some useful questions and answers include:
What is the recovery period for breast augmentation?
It typically lasts a few weeks, with some women claiming to resume their normal activities after 8-10 weeks. For the first two days after surgery, you will feel groggy and tired upon getting up, but you should receive a prescription for pain medication from your surgeon. Soreness around the breast area lasts 1-2 weeks, with common side effects such as redness, bruising, swelling, and tenderness lasting for a month or longer.
When should you resume activities?
Many surgeons advise women to wait 4 weeks before resuming any tasks that involve physical activity, during which time you will be wearing a post-operative bra or compression bandage for positioning and extra support while healing. You should wait at least 2 weeks before performing any activities that can increase your blood pressure, including sex. Avoid all activities that involve your arms for the first 3-4 weeks.
When do you start feeling 100% again?
You will be 50% after 3-4 weeks, with slight discomfort, 75% after 6-8 weeks, and 100% in your third month, when you can function normally without being concerned about hurting yourself.
How long do incision marks take to fade?
The incisions for breast implants are usually 1-3 inches long, and are strategically placed to reduce scarring. The incision sites tend to itch as they heal, and the red scar formed tends to fade gradually in appearance for 6-12 months, returning to the color of surrounding skin. You should keep the suture lines dry and avoid rubbing creams or lotions on the incisions to avoid inflammation. If there are drains to help remove excess fluid, your surgeon will advice you on how to drain and take care of them for several days.
When should you visit a doctor?
Your surgeon should prescribe pain and/or nausea medications, and schedule for follow-up visits immediately after the surgery. But if you experience redness of the breast, warmth, fever, bleeding, and other symptoms of infection, report these signs to your surgeon for advice.
It is important to note that women who have received mammograms silicone gel-filled breast implants should receive MRI screening for silent rupture after 3 years from the date of the surgery, and every 2 years afterwards. Also, continue to screen for breast cancer, and always tell the person testing that you have implants since standard mammograms cannot see breast tissue with implants in the way, so they can use alternative methods.