Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline

If you are thinking about undergoing breast augmentation, check out our recovery timeline for information about the side effects that occur after surgery.

Swelling/Tightness: The size and shape of the breasts changes significantly during the first few months after breast augmentation surgery as swelling subsides and the implants settle into place. The worst of the swelling occurs three to five days after surgery. In patients that underwent subglandular (over the muscle) implant placement, the swelling goes down quite a bit by week two; in patients that underwent subpectoral (under the muscle) implant placement, most of the swelling is gone by week four. Patients should have a pretty clear idea of the final size of their breasts by six weeks after surgery, but it can take up to three months for all swelling to go away.

Bruising: Patients experience little bruising after breast augmentation surgery. If any bruising occurs, it fades within a week or two.

Pain: The amount of pain that you experience is related to your surgical treatment plan; generally patients that have under the muscle breast augmentation and those that have larger implants placed will experience more pain. Pain is typically at its worst two to three days after surgery, and all discomfort should subside by two weeks after surgery.

Nipple Sensitivity: Nipple sensitivity is caused when the nerves are stretched out during and after surgery. In a few weeks to three months, the nerves should return to normal.

Nipple Numbness: Nipple numbness is a complication of breast augmentation. It is caused when a nerve is injured during the incision or dissection steps of surgery, or when too much pressure is placed on the nerves after the implant is inserted. Nipple numbness is more likely to occur in small-framed patients that have large-width breast implants placed. While patients may experience temporary nipple numbness, sensation should return within six to 12 months.

Muscle Spasms: During the subpectoral breast augmentation procedure, the pectoral muscle may be stretched out, resulting in temporary muscle spasms after surgery. The risk of this occurring increases in patients that have large implants placed. Generally, muscle spasms stop within three to four weeks of surgery.

Settling of the Breasts: Immediately after breast augmentation surgery, the breasts will seem a little high. The breasts will gradually settle into the pocket, resulting in a more natural looking appearance. Patients should expect it to take anywhere from three to six months for the breasts to settle completely.

Breast Massage: Massaging the breasts after surgery can maintain the softness of the implants, keep it mobile, and prolong great results. Patients should start massaging their breasts a few days to a week after surgery.

Scar Treatment: Scar treatments such as the use of silicone healing sheets can be used once the breast augmentation incisions have begun to heal. They should not be used on open wounds. Typically, patients can start to use silicone sheets three weeks after surgery; they should continue use for about three months.

View before and after photos.