How Long Will My Breasts Be Swollen + 5 More Questions You Have About Breast Augmentation Recovery

how long are breasts swollen after breast augmentation plus more recovery questions
Once again, breast augmentation sits at the top of the list for popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 300,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed in 2017 alone.

Breast augmentation is also one of our most popular procedures at Movassaghi Plastic Surgery; Dr. Movassaghi is well-known for providing patients with a natural look—so much so that he is frequently called upon to teach his nuanced breast surgery techniques to other surgeons at national meetings.

In helping our Eugene breast augmentation patients prepare for life with their new look, we get a lot of questions about what will happen in the weeks after surgery. If you’re also considering breast surgery and wondering what you’ll feel like afterward, check out these breast augmentation recovery FAQs, based on real patient questions.

How long will my breasts be swollen after breast augmentation?

Swelling is normal after breast augmentation—it is your body’s natural response to the trauma of surgery. For most patients, swelling and associated discomfort peaks in the first 3 days or so, and then gradually begins to subside. The bulk of swelling usually goes down within the first 6 weeks, and then continues to wane over a few more months. By 3 to 4 months post-op, slight residual swelling may still exist, but should no longer obscure your results.

Your surgeon’s skill and techniques can make a significant difference in how much trauma your tissues are subjected to during surgery, so your best defense against excessive swelling is choosing an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon. If you experience a rapid increase in swelling after breast augmentation, contact your surgeon ASAP to rule out any complications.

Will I have to sleep on my back after I get breast implants?

Yes, you will have to sleep on your back for a couple of months after breast augmentation, both to avoid unnecessarily straining your incisions and to help keep post-op swelling to a minimum. If you’re normally a side or stomach sleeper, practice ahead of time, using extra pillows to support your arms, shoulders and sides and to help prevent you from turning over in the middle of the night—or try some of these other clever techniques to help you make the switch. Typically, restrictions on sleeping position are lifted after about two months. After that, do what feels most comfortable to you.

When can I have sex after breast augmentation?

You’ll have to avoid vigorous activities of all types, including sex, for at least 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. Exercise raises your blood pressure, and raising blood pressure too soon after an operation increases risk for internal bleeding, stresses incision sites, and can lead to complications that could harm your health and compromise your results.

Once your plastic surgeon says it’s safe to resume sex, start out gently at first, and avoid any positions or activities that put strain or pressure on your chest. A good rule of thumb—if it hurts, don’t do it!

Are shooting pains normal after breast augmentation?

Tingling, numbness and sometimes intense, shooting pains in your nipples or breasts are all normal after breast augmentation. These sensations occur as nerve endings repair themselves in the months following surgery. Typically, these sensations are most frequent or pronounced a few weeks after surgery, and gradually taper off.

Gentle self-massage can help “turn off” the nerve signal and ease the sensation; however, check with your plastic surgeon before trying any massage to ensure you are using a safe amount of pressure.

How long does it take breast implants to settle?

After breast augmentation, your tissues need time to adjust to the presence of a breast implant. At first, implants sit high and firm on the chest. As your skin, breast tissue and muscles relax, your breast implants will settle or “drop and fluff” into their intended position. This usually takes 3 to 4 months, but can take up to 6 months if you receive larger implants or have firmer than average tissues to begin with.

It’s common for one breast to settle faster than the other, causing an asymmetrical appearance temporarily. Don’t worry—the other breast will catch up. However, if after 6 months, you still feel your breast implants are not in the right position, tell your plastic surgeon. You may simply need more time, but your surgeon can help you rule out any problems.

When is it safe to lift after breast augmentation?

Giving your chest muscles and breast tissue time to heal after breast augmentation is essential for a great final result—and straining these tissues by lifting weights, groceries or toddlers too soon after surgery compromises this process. In general, lifting objects over 10 pounds is off-limits for the first 3 weeks; heavier lifting is off-limits for longer (follow your surgeon’s instructions). If you have small children, tell your plastic surgeon. They can help you understand how much help you may need at home and for how long.

If you have work-related lifting concerns, be sure to discuss the specifics with your surgeon so that they can provide suggestions for keeping yourself safe during your recovery.

Have more questions about breast augmentation recovery?

We hope we’ve answered a few questions you have about breast augmentation recovery, but there’s a good chance you have more. The best way to get answers is to meet with a board certified plastic surgeon. Eugene plastic surgeon Dr. Kiya Movassaghi has over 15 years of experience with cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, and he will be happy to discuss your questions and concerns at a consultation. Contact us today to schedule yours!

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