What’s Normal: Recovering from Breast Augmentation


Undergoing a breast-augmentation surgery can be an exciting yet confusing time in your life. On one hand, you have the look you’ve been dreaming of, but on the other hand, though usually well tolerated by most patients, recovery can be painful, and getting used to your new look can be a challenge. Whether you are already healing from a breast augmentation or you’re considering one, check out these common but little-known side effects that you may never have heard of.

How does it feel?

When Bob Dylan famously asked “How does it feel” in the song “Like a Rolling Stone,” he obviously wasn’t asking what kind of pain to expect following a breast-augmentation surgery. But that is one of the most commonly asked questions we get about recovery from this type of surgery.

The truth is, it feels different for every woman – and depending on the type of placement, it may be more or less comfortable for some. Generally speaking, healing from a breast-augmentation surgery is well tolerated, but it is often better tolerated by women who have already given birth. That’s because the feeling of new breast implants can be quite similar to the engorged feeling some women get when their milk supply first comes in. As for incision pain, that can be well controlled with painkillers and is usually not the chief complaint of most patients.

Does this look right to you?

One thing many women express surprise at following their breast augmentation is how high up, pointy and/or firm their breasts look. Occasionally some patients will experience disappointment that their breasts don’t look like what they wanted or were expecting. All of these complaints are not only common, but also nothing to worry about. As your breasts heal, these side effects will go away. Eventually your implants will drop or settle, making them look more natural and less high and pointy. The firmness will also eventually go away as the implants settle and the skin stretches to accommodate the implants. There is no set time for how long this will take – it varies by patient – but you can take comfort in knowing that it will happen within the first year.

One breast is larger than the other!

Another common complaint many patients have following surgery is that one breast is larger than the other. This is especially common in the first few after surgery – and it’s totally normal. The difference in size is not permanent, it’s caused by swelling, and that swelling will go away as you heal. The best way to minimize post-op swelling is to follow Dr. Chau’s instructions and don’t lift anything over 10 pounds until he says it’s OK.

It’s also not uncommon that the breast on the side of your dominant hand is more pronounced, because even if you aren’t lifting anything, you will still use that hand more to do even simple tasks like eating, writing and brushing your teeth and hair.

My nipple is puckering!

If your breast augmentation involves an areolar incision or reduction, you may notice the areola is puckering, or that it seems to have pulls in it where it meets the rest of the breast. Thankfully this is a temporary side effect of healing, and it will smooth itself out as your breast heals. How long that takes is again dependent on your individual body.

Did you hear that?

Finally, many women are surprised to find that they can hear or feel their implant move when they stand up or sit down. Again, this is a normal side effect that will go away as your implants settle. We can’t promise you’ll never experience this again once it stops, but most people won’t notice it very frequently if at all after the initial healing period.

Got any more questions about what to expect as you heal? Drop us a line at 888-966-9471.