Recovery After Breast Augmentation

First Day Instructions

  • Dr. Yates will contact you through the symplast app.  Send Dr. Yates photos and any questions.
  • ACTIVITY - Get up and walk
  • If you feel muscle tightness, “row” the arms
  • EXERCISE - Refrain from lifting over 10 lbs and significant upper body activity for THREE weeks.
  • Full exercise will resume at SIX weeks
  • SLEEPING - on your back is encouraged for 3 weeks, some patients feel more comfortable propped up
  • Limit side sleeping for 3 weeks.
  • Avoid lying on the stomach for at least 6 weeks (this sleeping position is not ever preferred with implants)
  • BRUISING AND SWELLING - are normal and may last for days to weeks
  • A small amount of incisional bleeding is normal
  • A severe amount of bruising or swelling can be a sign of a HEMATOMA and should be reported to Dr. Yates
  • SUTURES are all internal and will not require removal
  • BATHING - You can take the bra and push down ace bandage off to shower. Water directly over incision is fine
  • BRA - The supplied bra is ideal for support without "push-up" or underwire.   We will ask you to wear this bra for 3-6 weeks.
  • The ace bandage should be above implants and below armpits. Comfortably snug
  • The ace bandage is to be worn for three weeks
  • MASSAGE - No implant massage necessary unless specifically directed by Dr. Yates (unlikely)
  • "High and tight" implants are common for the first few weeks
  • FOLLOW UP - Your next visit is at three weeks. In-person or online.

Three-Week Instructions

  • Remove incision tape if it has been applied (there is typically not tape)
  • Send Dr. Yates photos (front and scars) and any questions
  • Begin scar cream. Biocorneum or Mederma cream. A very thin layer is all that is necessary which should last for 2 months
  • You may soak in a bath, pool, or hot  tub so long as the incisions are closed and doing well
  • You no longer need your push down ace bandage
  • You may wear a bra of your choice but don’t buy too many until you are closer to the final size after the 6-week point
  • You may start to sleep on your side
  • Continue to wear bras at night for support (for at least 6 weeks although for the cautious it is wise to wear bras to bed every night to protect your investment)
  • You are able to resume physical work and moderate exercise
  • Full exercise at 6 weeks
  • Caution with bodybuilding the pectorals. Strong muscles can push submuscular implants to the sides.
  • The breast size may be still a little swollen but nearing the final size
  • Areas of numbness, shooting pains, and discomfort are common. Let Dr. Yates know if they are significant
  • If you feel you have been treated with exceptional care, leave a review!
  • Schedule an online or in-person follow-up visit at 3 months.

Three-Month Instructions

  • You have no limitations. Check-in with Dr. Yates with photos and any questions


  • You have no limitations. Check-in with Dr. Yates with photos and any questions
  • Return to the office for postoperative photos
  • You will plan to replace your implants before 20 years! Preferably in the 10-15 year range
  • Leave a kind review 🙂
  • If you are brave, send us a fun bikini photo to share on our “real patient gallery” on the website. This can be anonymous or include your face, your choice. 🙂

General Recovery Tips

Bruising and swelling occur with almost every surgical procedure. Usually, the swelling lasts for only a few days to weeks. There are steps that can be taken before and after surgery to help minimize bruising and swelling… Read More.

Scars are the necessary trade-off of many plastic surgeries. The goal is a near-invisible, thin, skin-colored scar. Scars are ideally minimized by early attention but there are options for treatment of problem scars as well… Read More.

Prepare your house for surgery
1-2 weeks before surgery you should have your childcare, work arrangements, and caretaker lined up. Depending on the procedure you may have a few recovery items on hand. Start with an organized, clean house and full pantry. If you are making meals, simple prep. meals and disposable dinnerware.

Prepare your body for surgery
The weeks before surgery are a good time to maximize a healthy diet and stay on top of exercise. Yoga and heart-healthy exercises are particularly valuable. For almost every procedure stopping smoking 6 weeks before surgery is valuable. For some it is critical. Avoid excessive alcohol and marijuana prior to surgery as well.

Check your medications and supplements
Some medications such as aspirin, fish-oils and some supplements can contribute to bleeding and bruising after surgery. If you would like to take SinnEcch for bruising you would want to do so before surgery. The benefit is mild in Dr. Yates’s opinion but some patients swear by it.

Stay away from illness
Avoid getting sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid contact will people who are ill.

  • You may resume office work in 2-7 days
  • You may resume physical work at 3 weeks
  • You may resume light exercise at 1 week
  • You may resume moderate exercise at 3 weeks
  • You may resume full exercise at 6 weeks

Dr. Yates will give you most everything you need after surgery including surgical bra, scar cream, and dressings as indicated. A few recommended additional supplies are

  • A bed that reclines, recliner, or extra bed pillows
  • Icy Hot back patch
  • Loose baggy clothes
  • Paper tape 1″
  • Ice packs
  • Stool Softener
  • Ginger Ale
  • Antacid such as Tums
  • Melatonin (not to be used with pain medications)
  • Benadryl
  • Cortisone cream
  • Neosporin
  • Probiotics or yogurt
  • Flexible straws for drinking
  • Water bottles/ Gatorade
  • Entertainment such as DVD or Netflix
  • Cell phone charger near bed and sofa

Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips

You should expect no significant bedrest after breast augmentation. Get up and walk.

We use rapid recovery methods for all patients. Many patients require no narcotic pain medications. The pain is moderate but usually controlled with arm motion, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. If narcotics are necessary they are only for 1-2 days.

There will be surgical tape on the incision. They can be left alone and will be removed at approximately three weeks. They are not “holding” the incision together, which is accomplished by internal sutures. The purpose of the tape is to protect the scar. If the tape comes off early apply new tape or leave it alone. Once the tape is removed you will apply scar cream 1-2 x a day to the incisions. Biocorneum, Biodermis, and Mederma are good options. Plan to use scar cream for 2 months.

You can shower directly over the incision tape and breasts immediately. Any soaking should wait until the tape is removed at three weeks.

For toddlers or children that need a lot of care, you will want assistance for a week after surgery.

You can return to light lifting with the arms and a good walk at one week. You may return to moderate lifting with the arms (10-15 lbs) and heavier lower body lifting by three weeks and full exercise at six weeks.

Office and desk work can be resumed right away. For most physical jobs you can return at 3 weeks.

It is safe to resume sexual activity by two to three weeks after breast augmentation. Caution with handling the breasts for closer to four weeks.

Overaggressive activity can cause problems with healing. In the first week, we are worried about bleeding. This could result in a hematoma and a second trip to the operating room. From weeks 1-6 we are more worried about the pectoral muscle and implant position. Overactivity of the muscle could cause muscle injury or implant displacement.

The breasts will look nice immediately after surgery. They continue to soften and improve in feel and appearance over the next 2-3 months.

This is controversial. Those plastic surgeons who recommend massage do so to prevent capsular contracture. There is no evidence to support this claim and Dr. Yates no longer recommends it for routine cases. There are occasions where we will ask our patients to massage implants for specific indications such as capsular contracture and to help “push-down” a high implant.

We will supply you with a sports bra that clasps in the front. We recommend a bra that does not have padding or underwire for the first 6 weeks.

If the implants are below the muscle, aggressive pectoral muscle exercises can result in implant displacement. We are talking about extreme exercise, normal fitness is OK.

Wait until 6 weeks

It is preferred that you avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as you can. If you are a routine stomach sleeper it is most important to avoid it in the first 6 weeks.

The softening phase of implants occurs from 4 weeks to 3 months for most patients.

It is not uncommon for one implant to drop quicker than the other. Most commonly we find that the implant on the side of the dominant arm drops slower. The muscle is generally stiffer and tighter on that side.

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