Breast augmentation is one of the most common aesthetic surgical procedures performed in the United States. In this blog, I will discuss the typical healing scenario for the average breast augmentation patient.
After breast augmentation surgery, the patient is seen in our office 24-48 hours post-surgery. This visit is mainly to evaluate the breast for any signs of infection or bleeding. The patient will also start wearing a post-surgical or sports bra at that time, and it is important to evaluate the bra size for an appropriate fit. If the bra is too tight, it may displace the implant upward and the implant may stay in that position, thus necessitating additional surgery.
The patient is then seen 12-14 days after surgery. At that time, the tapes (steri-strips) which are directly over the incision are removed and instructions for implant massage are given. Since my breast augmentations are always sub-pectoral (below the chest muscle), implant massage is important to minimize the risk of capsular contracture.
The next follow up is in two weeks (one-month post-surgery). The purpose of this visit is to make sure the implants remain soft and are “dropping” into place, and the massage is performed properly. Initially after surgery, the swelling tends to displace the implant upward and with proper massage, bra size, and time, the implant will slowly drop into the breast pocket created. During the first month, therefore, some patients are concerned about the shape and size of the breast. Since the implant is not filling the breast tissue, the breast may look smaller than it will be until the implant migrates and fills the breast tissue.
In most cases, the breast is healing properly at this stage, and the next visit will be in two months. After the first month, the patient may start unlimited exercise, if it does not cause significant discomfort. I do not recommend any exercises specifically targeting the chest muscle, as it may affect the final cosmetic outcome.
The next visit will be in three months (six months post-surgery). By then, majority of the healing has been completed and if the breast remains soft and is cosmetically pleasing, no further follow-up is scheduled and will be as needed status.
It is important to realize breasts rarely heal at the same rate, and one breast usually lags the other one. Given enough time (typically six months), both breasts will have had enough time to settle into place. Patience is critical!
I have included pre-operative, one month, three months, and six months post-surgery photos of one of my patients to demonstrate the typical healing process after breast augmentation surgery.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 22 years of experience. His office in located in Orange County, California. To schedule a consultation, please call 714-242-5908.