What to Expect During Recovery After Breast Augmentation

Speed Up the Healing Process After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Tips and techniques for recovery after breast augmentation. Knowing what to expect after your surgery can help reduce anxiety and improve your healing. You can help improve your surgical results by following your post-operative instructions closely. Here are some ideas to help.

Dr Mark Gittos is a breast surgery expert and Plastic Surgeon in New Zealand who has helped hundreds of patients achieve their aesthetic goals.

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Guide Ultimate Breast Surgery

Breast Augmentation Recovery

Undergoing breast augmentation surgery is a personal decision. While it may take you some time to make this decision, the results of the procedure can have a significant impact on your self-esteem. But before you finally achieve your desired aesthetic goals, there are several factors that need to be considered in the postoperative phase and the lack of understanding of what to expect during the recovery period can make you anxious. Let’s take a look at the different phases of breast augmentation recovery for you to get a glimpse of what to expect postoperatively.

Types of Breast Augmentation Surgery

There are two main types of breast augmentation:

  1. Cosmetic breast implant surgery: this surgical procedure alters the size and shape of the breasts by using a silicone or saline implant that is inserted behind the breast tissue or below the pectoralis muscle (chest muscle)
  2. Breast reconstruction surgery: this surgical procedure reconstructs or rebuilds one or both breasts using breast implants or fat tissue from another part of the body of the patient. Breast reconstruction surgery is usually performed in patients who had surgical removal of the breasts to prevent the spread of breast cancer

For best results in extremely saggy or droopy breasts, breast augmentation can be combined with a breast lift (mastopexy).

Recovery After Breast Augmentation – How Long Does It Take?

It’s important to keep in mind that every patient is unique; therefore, the recovery time may vary from person to person.

In general, a full recovery should be achieved after 6 to 8 weeks.

As a general guide you can fly or drive after a few weeks, back to the Gym and Exercising after 3-4 weeks, and a Spray Tan after 4-6 weeks

After your surgery, Dr Gittos will assess your overall health status and provide you with a more detailed breast augmentation recovery timeline.

Breast Augmentation Recovery Timeline

Immediately after breast surgery, you will likely feel groggy due to the effects of the general anesthesia. If the breast implants were inserted under the pectoralis muscle, you may feel a tight sensation or muscle ache in your chest. As your chest muscle stretches and relaxes, these discomforts will gradually decrease.

After a few hours, you may experience a reduction in sleepiness and breast soreness. Dr Gittos or your nurse will wrap your operated breasts with a special bra or an elastic bandage to support the healing breasts and prevent trauma to the incision line. Once the health care team has evaluated your health condition and there were no signs and symptoms of complications, you will be then discharged from the hospital. However, it is required that you request someone to drive you home because you may still experience confusion and weakness.

In the first 3 to 5 days, you might experience some discomfort. To alleviate the pain and swelling, Dr Gittos will advise you to take the prescribed medication. You may also notice minor bleeding at the surgical site, which is normal. However, if uncontrolled bleeding is present, consult your primary care provider immediately.

After 1 week, the pain and discomfort have almost subsided completely. With Dr Gittos’ approval, you may gradually resume your daily activities. It is recommended to avoid strenuous activities and wear your support bra for better cosmetic results.

In the next few weeks, minimum breast soreness and swelling may still be present but these will not cause significant discomfort. While you may feel that you almost recovered, caution is still needed with regards to heavy lifting and vigorous activities like running and performing high-intensity exercises. If you have a physically-demanding job, you need to take a few days more off work to allow your breasts to heal. See Recovery Exercises after a Breast Augmentation.

After 2 months, the surgical incisions should fully heal with no signs of bruising, bleeding, soreness, or redness. You may still need to wear a support bra during this time but you can get back to work and resume your normal activities. Dr Gittos will let you know what activities will work best for you to prevent complications.


Speed Up the Healing Process And Reduce Scarring after Breast Augmentation

The success of your breast augmentation surgery will depend on how well you heal. To speed up recovery after breast augmentation, you can try the following strategies:

  1. Follow closely the instructions of Dr Gittos and the support team
  2. Rest adequately
  3. Wear support bras as instructed to reduce breast pain and swelling
  4. Take your pain and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce discomfort
  5. Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes to promote comfort and prevent injury to the incision site
  6. Avoid strenuous activities to prevent tension on the healing wound
  7. Maintain sterility – do not pick at your wound or bandages – to avoid risk of infection
  8. Consider Increasing the intake of nutritional and protein-rich foods to accelerate the wound healing process

FAQs about Recovery after Breast Augmentation

Can you still breastfeed after Breast Augmentation?

  • Breast augmentation surgery performed by a plastic surgeon rarely affects your ability to breastfeed. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that women who gave birth after primary breast augmentation with silicone or saline implants were able to breastfeed their infants without complications.

When can I return to work after a Breast Augmentation?

Your ability to return to work will depend on your health condition and ability to heal:

  • Light activities – working from home, computer work or light office work – within 1 -2 weeks
  • Moderate work – moving and lifting things – within 3 to 4 weeks
  • Strenuous work – heavy duty work – within 6 to 8 weeks

What are the possible Risks and Complications of Breast Augmentation?

In addition to the risks of general surgery, just like all types of breast surgery, breast augmentation poses potential risks and complications, such as:

  • Fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • Breast numbness
  • Breast pain
  • Incorrect position of implant
  • Scarring around the breast implant (capsular contracture)
  • Scarring that changes the breast shape
  • Asymmetrical breasts
  • Breast cellulitis
  • Breast or nipple sensation changes
  • Breasts appearing to merge (symmastia or uniboob)
  • Implant is seen or felt through the skin
  • Leakage of breast implants
  • Undesired or poor cosmetic results
  • Breastfeeding problems
  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)

Dr Mark Gittos will discuss the potential Risks and Complications in consultations, prior to surgery.

Is Breast Augmentation with Implants Safe?

  • The safety of the Breast Augmentation procedure depends on your surgeon, the quality of your surgery and on your breast implant. For instance, the use of implants with higher or more cohesive gel is associated with a lower risk of rupture or break. Your surgeon will decide which breast implants will best suit your body anatomy and desired cosmetic results.

Further Reading about Breast Procedures

Medical References

Finding the Best Breast Augmentation Surgeon in Auckland

For many women in New Zealand, having breast augmentation is a life-changing experience. There are many qualified doctors, but it is always best to find one who is experienced in breast augmentation procedures. Breast implants come in many different shapes and sizes, and there are various insertion techniques, so find a reputable practitioner who can give good advice on the right implants for you. Before considering breast implants, it is wise to find a surgeon who is also up to speed with new non-invasive techniques for boosting the breasts, so you can investigate all the options before deciding on permanent surgical implants. It is important to avoid choosing a cheaper overseas option that lacks the ongoing support that a New Zealand surgeon provides.

Always look for an experienced surgeon that you feel comfortable with and get a second opinion.

About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon 

Practice locations in Herne Bay Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga

Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Herne Bay, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.

Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years.  With worldwide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women. 

Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.


Please NOTE: Dr Gittos only performs surgery on non-smoker patients with a BMI less than 30. To check your BMI please visit the NZ Heart Foundation website. For help giving up smoking before surgery visit the Smoke Free website

Do your Research

What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
  • Dress in simple clothes as you may need to undress for examination
  • Bring your medical referral and any relevant medical documents or test results

Book your Initial Surgery Consultation

  • A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
  • Email us or Call on 09 529 5352 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
  • Book a consultation with Dr Gittos by paying the Consultation Fee – $350 incl GST

Traveling for Surgery? – Consider post-surgery luxury recovery in a Hotel with LuxeCare

Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone  09 529 5352  during Clinic Hours