What to expect after a breast augmentation

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Breast augmentation/enlargement is the number one cosmetic surgery procedure in the UK. Electing to have breast augmentation surgery can create a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement to nervousness. You’ll be looking forward to having fuller and more shapely breasts but also a little anxious about undergoing a surgical procedure.

To help alleviate any worries it’s worth ensuring you’re fully informed and prepared by finding out what to expect from a breast augmentation before and after. Your cosmetic surgeon will discuss the entire process of your breast augmentation in detail.

In your consultation you’ll discuss implant size, type, shape and whether it’ll be placed below or above your muscle. These decisions coupled with your body’s natural ability to heal will affect your individual recovery. It’s important to have an understanding of what to expect in the weeks following surgery so that you can make any necessary arrangements to ensure your recovery is as easy as possible.

A few questions you may want to consider include:


How will I feel when I wake from surgery?

When you wake from breast augmentation surgery, you’ll probably feel tired, sore and a little woozy from the general anaesthetic.


Will I have postoperative pain?

Your chest will probably feel tight and, your breasts and ribs below your breasts will be sensitive. Any postoperative pain can be controlled and your cosmetic surgery team will advise on the best pain relief for you.

How will my breasts look immediately after breast surgery?

You can expect your breast area to be swollen and bruised after breast augmentation surgery. The extent will depend on the type of breast implant you have, where your incisions are and how your body reacts to the surgery. Most of your bruising and swelling should subside within two to four weeks.

Initially you may think your breasts look too high and the skin feels tight. This should settle and a more natural shape will develop within six weeks after your breast augmentation or breast implant procedure.

How do I look after my lesions?

Your surgeon will offer advice on how to look after your wounds and any bandages or sutures. It’d normally be recommended that you keep your wounds dry for 72 hours after your operation so a bath would be advisable as opposed to a shower.

You may have bandages over your breasts after surgery and these will need to be kept in place and dry until your first out-patient appointment. You may also have stitches and these will need to be trimmed in the first couple of weeks.


Will I need a special bra?

You’ll need to buy a surgical support bra, which should be worn day and night for up to four weeks following your breast augmentation.


Will I have permanent scarring?

Your scars will be red for the first six weeks, they’ll change to purple and, then fade to white after several months. Most patients form good quality scars over time. It can take up to 18 months for your scars to fully mature.


How long will my recovery take?

Following your breast augmentation, you may be able to go home the same day, but many patients stay overnight in hospital. You’ll be encouraged to be mobile from day one.

You’ll be able to gradually resume many of your normal activities within the first couple of weeks but don’t engage in any strenuous activity until three to four weeks after your procedure when your breasts have become less swollen and uncomfortable. Only do activities that do not cause you to hurt.

You should be able to assume your normal full exercise regime within six weeks.

How much time should I take off work?

Patients are often able to return to work shortly after the operation. It’s normally recommended that you take around one to two weeks off work following a breast augmentation to allow your body to recuperate fully.

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