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What is normal after breast augmentation? Your questions, answered by a board certified plastic surgeon.

Frowning woman places hands around left breast to check breast implants

Breast augmentation is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that you will go home the very day of surgery to rest and start your recovery. For this reason, it’s key to work with your plastic surgeon to understand what is normal—and when something merits a call to your surgeon—in the days, weeks, and months following your procedure.

To help you learn what you can expect, Frederick, MD plastic surgeon Dr. Henry F. Garazo is answering your questions about what is and isn’t normal after breast augmentation.

Note: While this blog is intended to help you to get a sense of what to expect after breast surgery, speak immediately with your own surgeon about any concerns, questions, or unexpected symptoms that arise. Your medical team is there to help you on your journey—and a healthy, stress-free recovery is an absolutely critical part of achieving your goals!

How much swelling is normal after breast augmentation?

After surgery, every patient experiences swelling. At first, your breasts may feel overly large, and somewhat tender. This swelling peaks within a week after breast surgery, and most swelling fades within several weeks. After that, you’ll likely have some residual mild swelling that will continue to resolve over the course of 3-4 months.

Talk to your surgeon ASAP if swelling persists longer than expected, if one breast heals at a noticeably different rate than the other, or if anything about your healing breasts looks or feels abnormal to you.

How to reduce swelling after breast surgery

During recovery, your body is doing the bulk of the work to achieve a beautiful breast augmentation result, so support it as best you can by following your surgeon’s post-surgical guidance. Here are some of the instructions your surgeon will give you that help to reduce swelling:

  • Wear your post-surgical compression garment.
  • In the days following surgery, apply cold packs as instructed.
  • Don’t return to strenuous activities until you are cleared by your surgeon.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, avoiding salt-heavy foods.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and remember to keep your upper body slightly elevated.
  • Drink plenty of water.

When will my breast implants look normal?

Most patients find that their breasts begin to appear “normal” to them after the bulk of their swelling has subsided, a few weeks after surgery.

If implants were placed submuscular, or “under the muscle,” your results will continue to subtly improve for up to a year after surgery as breast implants settle into position. With under-the-muscle implant placement, your breasts are likely to appear high on the chest and feel tight or firm at first. This is due to the pectoral muscle constricting in response to being stretched by the new implant. This muscle will gradually relax over the course of 3+ months, allowing your implants to fully settle—a process also known as “drop and fluff.”

While scars are placed to blend in with the natural features of your breasts, they will initially be more noticeable. With proper scar care on your part, they will become markedly less noticeable by a year, and will continue to fade thereafter.

Is it normal to feel a breast implant move?

Breast implants that are placed under the muscle (or partially submuscular) are likely to move when you engage your chest muscles during recovery. As the muscle constricts, it is perfectly normal to feel the implant shift slightly. This does not mean that your breast implant is in the wrong position, or has been displaced.

When do breast implants feel normal?

Everyone’s definition of “feeling normal” is somewhat different, and there are a number of factors that may influence when your breast implants begin to feel like your new normal:

  • After swelling subsides, your breasts will begin to feel more like a natural part of your body.
  • If your implants were placed under the muscle, they may take a few months to feel normal as they “drop and fluff.” Until then, they may feel unnaturally high on your chest and you may experience a sensation of tightness.
  • You will have pain medication to help you through the initial period of pain after breast augmentation, but you should still expect to feel discomfort in the first week after surgery.
  • Saline-filled implants may have a heavier, firmer feel that takes some getting used to; silicone implants are lightweight and tend to feel more like natural breast tissue sooner.
  • Brief sensations of tingling or prickling, or shooting pains or sensations (that aren’t intensely painful), are normal as your breasts heal and nerve endings repair themselves.

Looking for breast augmentation in the Hagerstown or Frederick, MD area? Schedule your consultation with Dr. Garazo today.

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Henry F. Garazo has been helping women look and feel their best through breast augmentation for over 20 years. He is known for his no-pressure approach, highly informative patient consultations, and skill at achieving patients’ desired outcomes safely. Before and after photos of Dr. Garazo’s patients are available on our website, as well as patient testimonials. To schedule your consultation, call our office at 301-791-1800 or contact us online today.

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Call us at 301-791-1800