How to Manage Your Pain After Breast Augmentation

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Pain and discomfort are common after breast augmentation surgery. Recovery from breast augmentation typically takes a little over a month. During that time, you may feel tired and sore and experience bruising. However, these symptoms will fade over time.

Sharp, shooting pains, and other discomforts in the breast are also common following surgery. The good news is that you can control most of your discomfort with the medication your surgeon prescribes for you.

Doctor examining bandaged woman
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This article explains what you need to know about the pain you experience after breast augmentation surgery and what you can do about it.

First Week

Immediately after surgery, the nurse will bring you to a recovery room, where you will rest until the anesthesia wears off. You will probably feel significant pain when you wake. Your doctor will help you manage any pain you experience with medication.

In the first week, you can expect to experience the following:

  • Lots of soreness
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

These symptoms will fade over time. Be sure to have a trusted friend or family member with you during recovery. This support is vital in the hospital and in the first few days at home. Follow your surgeon's instructions closely for taking any prescription or over-the-counter pain medications.

After the first few days, your pain will likely decrease significantly. After about a week, your surgeon may clear you to return to everyday activities.

Avoid Strenuous Activities

In the first week, it is essential to avoid doing anything strenuous. In addition, refrain from lifting your hands over your head since this can cause pain and bleeding. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on limitations and pain management.

First Month

After a few weeks, you may not notice any pain or discomfort. In addition, swelling and bruising usually diminish.

That said, everybody is different and recovers at different speeds. So, you may still see some bruising, especially if you had complications.

Full recovery typically takes four to six weeks. That means some people will be fully recovered by the one-month mark, while others may still need a couple of weeks to feel back to themselves.

Some things may impact your recovery:

  • The size of your implants: The larger your implants, the more pain you will have after your surgery. Lighter-weight implants are generally associated with less pain.
  • The position of your implants: Implants placed underneath the pectoral (chest) muscles tend to hurt more post-surgery. This increased pain is because the tissue is experiencing more trauma. The less the tissues are traumatized, and the less bleeding there is, the better your post-op pain level.
  • You’ve previously given birth: Some surgeons report that people who have given birth tend to have less pain.

Second Month

After about a month, most people will experience a full recovery. At this time, with your doctor’s approval, you will likely be able to resume your everyday activities without restrictions.

Your breasts will also have a more natural appearance and feel. You will likely have an appointment with your surgeon to assess your recovery.

Medical experts note that people who have been through childbirth compare post-augmentation to the breast engorgement that new mothers experience after having a baby.

Complications

As with any surgery, breast augmentation may result in complications. These may include:

  • Excessive scarring
  • Hard breasts
  • Ruptured or folded implant
  • Nerve damage
  • Inability to breastfeed

When To Call the Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you notice any signs of a blood clot, excessive bleeding, or infection. These warning signs may include:

  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

Recovery Tips

Most likely, your surgeon will prescribe medication to help you manage your pain. If you are not getting adequate relief from the prescribed medication, it may indicate that you need to see your surgeon.

Here are some post-surgery tips for staying comfortable:

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Avoid lifting or straining for two to three weeks.
  • If your stomach is upset, eat bland foods.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take all prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medications according to your doctor’s instructions.
  • Ask your doctor if mild exercise, like walking, is OK.
  • Ask your doctor before doing stretching exercises (they may suggest some for you to do).
  • Ice your breasts for 10-20 minutes every couple of hours for the first few days.
  • Support your breasts with a surgical bra or bandage.

According to a scientific review, people who had their implants placed underneath the chest wall and then received Botox injections during or after the surgery experienced less pain. However, the review only looked at seven studies, and the authors state that the assessment of outcomes for this practice is inconsistent and needs more study.

Summary

Most people manage pain after breast augmentation surgery with medication, rest, and activity restriction. Usually, people fully recover after about a month, but it could take a little longer.

As with any surgery, breast augmentation holds certain risks. Complications may include nerve damage, scarring, infection, and blood clots. You should contact your doctor right away if you notice any warning signs of infection or bleeding. You can stay comfortable by taking your medication as prescribed, getting adequate rest, staying hydrated, icing, and supporting your breasts.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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