Breast augmentation recovery time is one of the most important surgery aspects you need to know about beforehand, given the increased popularity of this procedure in general.

A great number of women undergo breast augmentation surgery in order to obtain a higher level of self-confidence and happiness following the procedure. The extremely high satisfaction with the procedure results has turned it into one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. 

However, learning what can you expect after surgery is done, and how long will it take for you to feel fully recovered, can help you prepare better and even speed up the recovery process. 

Breast augmentation recovery stages and what they depend on

Breast augmentation recovery can largely differ from patient to patient. 

Most patients feel ready to return to work and perform light activity approximately seven days after surgery, with normal activity expected to resume within 2 weeks. However, patients are to steer clear from normal physical activity for at least for 4 weeks, while the 6-week mark is the usual time for the results to settle. 

Now, this is just a breast augmentation recovery estimate and is precisely what varies from one individual to another. This is completely understandable considering the fact that every individual’s body is different, and so are their recovery response and their pain tolerance. 

Understanding your breast augmentation recovery timeline can help you make some important decisions and arrangements such as time off work or childcare, in order to make sure that your breast augmentation recovery goes as smoothly as possible. 

Breast augmentation recovery week by week

Your breast augmentation recovery timeline (and your first week) obviously starts with the surgery itself. 

The procedure lasts about two hours, and is typically performed with a patient under general anesthesia – breast augmentation is also performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that a patient returns home immediately after surgery, and here is what you can expect 1-week post-op breast augmentation.

1-day post-op breast augmentation

The first 24 hours after surgery, once the anesthesia wears off, you will start feeling tired and start experiencing moderate discomfort. The soreness will affect your arm movement, which is why you will need all the help you can get when it comes to everyday activities such as meal preparation and dressing up.

This is also a stage you might feel nausea, swelling, and light bruising, which is why drinking alcohol, smoking, and taking any blood thinning medications is off limits, not to mention that the same applies to physical activity. 

2 days post-op breast augmentation

When it comes to day-by-day breast augmentation recovery, the first 48 hours following surgery should be focused on helping your body in every possible way you can, if you want to end up with successful results. This means a lot of resting, napping, and relying on your friends and family members for helping you perform simple, everyday tasks. 

If you made sure to go to schedule your surgery with a reputable, board-certified surgeon, you are supposed to get very specific post-operative care instructions which might include ice packs, compression garments, silicone strips, vitamins, and medications. Whatever instructions you get from your surgeon, it’s important to follow them to the letter. 

By the end of the first week, or at least for the first 10 days, most patients will experience moderate pain, together with swelling and bruising that can last up to a month. However, when the first week passes you will be able to come back to work, with restrictions regarding any physical activity that involves bending or lifting. 

2 weeks post-op breast augmentation 

When your reach your 10th to 14th-day mark after surgery, your breast augmentation recovery starts being a little easier. 

You can resume some light physical activity, with heavy lifting and intense cardio still being off-limits. At this point, the pain you feel will be milder, but it won’t be gone completely – you will continue to see a decrease in swelling, bruising, discomfort and sensitivity. 

This is a time most patients rediscover an interest in exercising but are not allowed to participate in any strenuous activities for at least six weeks following surgery. 

4 to 6 weeks of breast augmentation recovery time

Once your reach weeks four through six, you will have a fairly accurate picture of how your final results will look like. 

The swelling should wear off completely, with the underlying muscles and tissue healed. After this phase, you will start experiencing very subtle and mild changes, while the scars will keep getting lighter until they eventually become difficult to notice. 

Once several months have passed, you will be able to finally see if the procedure has met your expectations. 

Before and After silicone breast augmentation Boca Raton Patient 3/4 view Before and After silicone breast augmentation Boca Raton Patient side view

The aftermath you can expect during your breast augmentation recovery time

  • Pain. Most patients will feel some degree of pain after their procedure, specifically within the first few days, but the severity of the pain will depend mainly upon your tolerance for pain and the surgical techniques that were involved. 

Some patients might feel mild to no pain at all, whereas some will have to keep it at bay with painkillers. Typically patients who opt for implant placement below the muscle will have a lengthier and more painful breast augmentation recovery, compared to those who decided they wanted implants placed above the muscle.


  • Implant settling. One of the breast augmentation recovery aftermaths is implant nestling. This refers to the awkward position of the implants right after the procedure, when they usually feel hard, with nipples pointing downward. Over time the implants will begin to soften and settle more into the desired position, but the final settled appearance you can expect after 6 months.
  • Stretch marks. This is a rather rare occurrence, and it usually happens when patients insist on larger-sized implants. However, if and when stretch marks do occur, certain laser treatments can help minimize the marks.
  • Scarring. Unfortunately, this aftermath is unavoidable. However, the good news is that a skilled surgeon, like our Dr. Ress, will do his best to place the incision in low visibility areas such as the breast fold, within the armpit, or around the areola. 


Breast augmentation recovery tips

If you want your breast augmentation recovery to go as smoothly and as speedy as possible, make sure to check out the following tips.

  • Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions is critical!
  • Wear a surgical bra or other garments if instructed to do so.
  • Get a lot of sleep.
  • Rest a lot.
  • Attend all your post-op appointments.
  • Eat light and healthy.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Take a full week off from work.
  • If necessary, pick a good caregiver who can spend the first 24 hours with you, especially if you have small children who need to be attended to.
  • Limit any physical movement until you’re fully healed.
  • Sleep on your back and prop yourself with pillows. You should avoid sleeping on your belly for at least 6 months after surgery.
  • Avoid touching or interacting with your scars in any way, as that can reopen your wounds.

Now that you’re armed with proper knowledge and know what you can expect during your recovery, you can along with the procedure, be confident that you’ll be able to manage your breast augmentation recovery. 

If you happen to have any questions regarding safety or recovery time, scheduling a consultation with your surgeon can additionally help you have a better overall experience and achieve better results you will truly be happy with.

Dr. Andrew Ress, M.D.

Dr. Andrew M. Ress, a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 25 years of experience, practices in Boca Raton, Florida. As the founder of [liv]® Plastic Surgery, he specializes in facial plastic surgery and body contouring. Dr. Ress is also a pioneer in skin health, introducing the [liv]® AI SkinScreen, an advanced AI-powered tool for proactive skin cancer screening. Educated at Cornell University and the University of Miami, with residencies at the Mayo Clinic and Indiana University, Dr. Ress is committed to excellence and innovation. Recognized as one of Boca Raton’s Best Cosmetic Surgeons, he is dedicated to patient-centric care and cutting-edge technology.