Ten Best Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips

Dr. Robert Schwartz
October 11, 2022

If you’ve ever Googled “breast augmentation recovery”, you've probably seen some surprising results. Some articles make it sound like you're preparing for an apocalyptic event. Or, at least, a pretty excruciating one. But breast augmentation recovery doesn't have to be difficult or particularly unpleasant. This blog post will outline our top tips for a successful breast augmentation recovery. Following these suggestions can help ensure a quicker and easier healing process.

1. Designate a Family Member or Friend to Take Care of You After Surgery

You will be sore and tired after your surgery, so make sure a reliable adult is available to help you recover. This person will need to drive you home; driving after anesthesia is a complete no-go. They will need to keep an eye on you overnight, assisting you with any tasks that are too strenuous to do on your own.

2. Avoid Strenuous Chores and Heavy Lifting

Heavy lifting and strenuous upper body activities increase your risk of bleeding and the formation of hematomas (blood vessels that leak inside the breast.) Avoid reaching high shelves overhead, carrying grocery bags, or doing other strenuous chores. 

Some rules of thumb:

Week 1: No lifting over 5 pounds.

Week 2: No lifting over 10 pounds.

Weeks 1-3: No activities that increase your heart rate. Exertion may increase swelling, shift your implants, and risk bleeding.

Week 3: Workouts can resume with some restrictions.

If you have children, be sure to arrange for help ahead of time since, after surgery, you may not be able to perform some parenting responsibilities. For example, lifting your child out of a crib or car seat will not be possible until several weeks after your breast augmentation.

3. Wear Loose-Fitting and Comfortable Clothing

After breast augmentation, it’s important not to put pressure on your breasts or wear tight, constricting clothing. Avoid this by wearing loose-fitting clothes such as zip-up hoodies and button-up shirts. You may also need to wear a compression band or surgical bra, which your plastic surgeon typically provides.

4. Prepare Meals for Your First Day

Good nutrition after breast augmentation is a recovery tip frequently neglected.

We believe that healthy food fuels optimal recoveries, so we encourage all of our patients to eat nutritiously after their surgeries.

Day 1 - You may not feel like eating just yet, so aim for Jello, soup, clear juices, water, and Gatorade. Even if you’re hungry, keep your foods simple and easy to digest. Heavy eating and filling foods may make you nauseous.

Day 2 - Your energy levels may be low, so plan your meals in advance. Load up on snacks such as fruit and protein bars, and have some pre-made meals in your fridge. Focus on getting your calories in the best way possible - now is not a time for calorie restriction.

5. Optimize Your Sleeping Environment

Everyone’s healing process is different; while some patients may not be able to sleep sitting up after surgery, others can. Though sleeping partially sitting helps limit swelling, the benefits are probably minimal. If you can’t sleep in that position, lie down. Getting adequate sleep after surgery is a higher priority.

You’ll need to sleep on your back for the first few nights because applying pressure on your side might cause problems. If you can’t sleep on your back, but it’s too soon to lie on your side, try propping yourself halfway onto your side (about 45 degrees) with a long pillow.

Sleeping face-down is not a good idea for many months following surgery.

6. Take Your Medicine

Depending on your surgeon, you will likely receive prescriptions for an antibiotic, one or more pain medications, and possibly an anti-nausea medicine. Get these prescriptions filled at least a few days before your surgery. In the last few years, we have seen supply-chain issues and shortages of common medications. You don’t want to wait until the last second and discover that one of your pills is scarce.

Your antibiotic is your number one priority! Plastic surgeons have differing protocols for post-operative antibiotics, but most will prescribe one to five days of cephalexin. The antibiotic is there to help prevent infection. Take it. All of it. On schedule.

As with antibiotics, plastic surgeons recommend a variety of different pain medicines. We will typically prescribe a combination of Gabapentin and Celecoxib (this program may vary depending on individual patient needs). With the proper surgical technique, these two medicines effectively relieve breast augmentation pain without narcotics. That means fewer side effects and less nausea.

Whatever pain meds your surgeon provides, you have them for a reason - to keep you comfortable as you heal. If you need them, use them.

Like pain medication, anti-nausea pills ease your early breast augmentation recovery. Surgeon’s can choose from several anti-nausea options. We prescribe aprepitant to our patients. It’s given as a single dose before surgery, so it’s already working when you wake up. Aprepitant is sometimes more expensive than other medications, but we’ve found it to be the most effective option. And, since it lasts for 2-3 days, the single dose covers all your needs. If your surgeon uses shorter-acting nausea pills, follow their instructions and take them if you need them.

7. Be Reasonably Active

Take it easy for the first few days after surgery. You may feel more tired than usual so listen to your body. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, don't do it. There’s no need to push yourself harder than you can handle initially.

That said, many of our patients feel pretty good from the get-go. That’s awesome. It's what we want your recovery to be like. But as great as you feel, you still need to remember you just had surgery and not overdo it. Lifting and straining too soon can cause complications and compromise your results. So if you’re not in pain and feeling fine, you’ll need to remind yourself not to overdo it early in your recovery.

While you shouldn’t get overactive just after surgery, you also don’t want to be a complete couch potato. There’s no need to lay in bed endlessly nor is it a good idea. At least periodically, getting up and walking around the house speeds up your healing, helps prevent blood clots, reduces swelling, and helps you feel normal faster.

8. Find a Driver

Most breast augmentation patients can resume driving within the first week. Driving is unlikely to cause problems with healing but can be dangerous if you’re distracted by pain. It’s safe to drive again when you’ve stopped taking pain medicine, and you have, at most, mild discomfort. Until then, you should have someone else give you a ride.

9. Avoid Baths or Water Submerging

We close our breast augmentation incisions in three separate layers. That technique produces finer scars and also makes them water-resistant. But they’re not completely water-tight immediately. Most of our patients can shower two days after their augmentation, but we do not recommend submerging under water (bath, pool, lake, etc.) for at least four weeks after surgery.

10. Listen to Your Plastic Surgeon’s Instructions!

The single most important piece of advice for breast augmentation recovery is to listen and follow your surgeon’s instructions. Googling recovery tips can overwhelm you - and you may be bombarded with a million different ideas. This blog is a general guide, but follow your surgeon’s instructions. They’re designed specifically for you.


We hope you have benefited from the breast augmentation recovery tips. If you have any questions about the breast augmentation procedure or any other plastic surgery questions, please contact the team at RSPS and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Don't forget to read our article about the breast augmentation risks & complications.

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