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Recovering from Breast Implant Surgery

Breast implant recovery is not a simple process. In most cases, the breasts that you see immediately after breast implant surgery are not indicative of the final results. It is not until after six to eight weeks of breast implant recovery that the breasts finally take a shape of their own. Recovery continues until each individual feels comfortable with her new breasts.

Recovery Stages

There are several different stages of the breast implant recovery process, each with many different side effects that may occur.


Discomfort is to be expected. This discomfort can range from mild to severe, and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or more. The amount and duration of the discomfort a patient experiences depends on the size and placement of the implants. The larger the implants, the more uncomfortable they will be. Additionally, placement of the implants under the muscle (subpectoral placement) is likely to cause more discomfort than placement on top of the muscle (subglandular placement), as the muscle must stretch to allow for room beneath it.


The stitches that the surgeon uses to close the pocket around the implant will either dissolve on their own within a week of recovery or they will need to be removed by the surgeon seven to 10 days after surgery.


Compression bandages or a compression bra are used immediately after surgery to prevent blood and fluid accumulation, speed healing and keep the implants in place during the early stages of recovery. If bandages are applied, they are usually removed within a day or two and replaced with a compression bra. This bra is usually worn for the first two weeks or more of recovery. Bras with underwire should not be worn during breast implant recovery.

Swelling and Bruising

During recovery from breast implant surgery, it is common for some women to experience minor drainage, swelling, bruising and tenderness. To control swelling, it is often helpful to use cold packs and sleep with the torso elevated. Pain medication is often prescribed to reduce pain, and limiting activity during recovery will help reduce the risk of bruising. Full activity should not usually be resumed until at least six weeks into the recovery period.


Most women experience patchy areas of numbness from bruised nerves in the breast after breast implant surgery. During nerve recovery, some women experience shooting pains or electrical shock sensations, which indicates that nerve activity is returning. These feelings may last for a month or so during recovery.

Recovery Time

For most women, the full recovery from breast implant surgery usually takes a few months. Everyday activities can usually be resumed with two weeks. However, as with all surgeries, recovery time is different for each patient.