Mr Nigel Horlock

Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

What is the recovery like after a breast augmentation procedure?

Whilst breast augmentations are increasingly common and are generally regarded as routine, it’s still invasive surgery which requires a period of downtime. There are a number of variables that can affect this recovery period. For example, if you’ve had the implants placed on top of the muscle rather than under it then you can expect the recovery to be less painful and quicker by up to half.

Also, it is just a fact that people differ naturally in their ability to tolerate pain. Some plastic surgeons believe that mothers have a higher pain threshold because of the experience of giving birth.

In terms of recovery time, then the type of work you do may mean spending longer at home resting. Office workers could be back within a couple of days whereas nurses who regularly lift people might have to take a period of weeks off.

General guidelines for the recovery period after a breast augmentation

It’s probably fair to say that there’s no complete consensus on how best to approach the recovery period but generally speaking you’ll find that most cosmetic surgeons recommend similar guidelines to these below:

  1. Expect to rest for at least 3 days. This will vary depending on the type of surgery, age, underlying health, type of workplace etc. During this time don’t do any lifting, driving or vigorous exercise. If you’ve got children who want physical contact, then you might want to encourage them to climb on to your lap rather than lifting them up for a few weeks. It can take up to eight weeks for the body to be ready for heavy lifting and full activity depending on your lifestyle and job so just be careful and make sure you discuss this fully with your cosmetic surgeon.
  2. Take the prescribed pain-killing medication but don’t overdo it. n the first few days particularly, you’re going to feel tightness, pressure and some pain. This is perfectly normal and you should be taking enough painkillers to reach a point of tolerable discomfort. You won’t make it go away completely and you should also expect to be more tired than usual during the first week or so as your body heals. Some people have described the pressure as the tight feeling in the chest after a heavy cardio workout or the feeling of engorgement when breast milk first arrives.
  3. Don’t expect everything to look as you want it straight away. It’s surgery after all, so it can take up to six weeks for swelling and bruising to subside. Normally, everything should be as planned after three months other than the scar tissue. Surgical scars take 18 months to fully mature and fade. Until then scar therapy cream might be an option. Your surgeon will be able to advise on this pre- and post-op.

The reality is that although there are general guidelines for recovery each individual case is different and it’s important that you talk in detail to your plastic surgeon about the type of surgery and how best for your body to heal post-op. It’s vital that you follow their advice diligently in this period to ensure that you get the expected results from the procedure.


Mr Horlock's NHS practice is based in the regional plastics unit at Salisbury District Hospital. He covers Salisbury, Southampton and Dorchester. He sees patients in his private practice at Southampton, Salisbury, Dorchester.

CONTACT MR HORLOCK
Spire Southampton Hospital
Chalybeate Close,
Southampton,
Hampshire
S016 6UY
Sophie Freud - CLINIC APPOINTMENTS: 02380 914 504
Julie Martin: 02380 764 969
info@nigelhorlock.co.uk