Recovery After Breast Augmentation

First day instructions

  • Send Dr. Yates photos and any questions
  • Get up and walk
  • If you feel muscle tightness, “row” the arms
  • No lying on your stomach
  • Sleeping on your back is encouraged, limit side sleeping
  • A small amount of incisional bleeding is normal.
  • Bruising and swelling are normal and may last for days to weeks
  • You can take the bra and push down ace bandage off to shower.  Water directly over incision tape is fine.
  • The ace bandage should be above implants and below armpits.  Comfortably snug
  • The ace bandage is to be worn for three weeks
  • No massage necessary
  • Get off the pain medications as soon as possible
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed
  • Take stool softeners if you are taking any narcotics
  • Take the single dose of Gabapentin if prescribed
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stay active, minimal bed rest is better for a safe and quick recovery
  • Your next visit is at three weeks.   In-person or online.

Three-week instructions

  • Remove incision tape
  • Send Dr. Yates photos (front and scars) and any questions
  • Begin scar cream.  Biocorneum, Mederma or Biodermis cream.  A very thin layer is all that is necessary which should last for 2 months.
  • 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

Minimizing Bruising and Swelling

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.

Preparation for surgery

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.

Time off Work and exercise

  • 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      

Recovery Supplies

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

How long will I be in bed after breast augmentation?
You should expect no significant bedrest after breast augmentation.   Get up and walk.
Tell me about pain management after breast augmentation?
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.
What do I do with the incisions after breast augmentation?
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.
When can I shower or swim after breast augmentation?
You can shower directly over the incision tape and breasts immediately.  Any soaking should wait until the tape is removed at three weeks.
How long will I need help with childcare after breast augmentation?
For toddlers or children that need a lot of care, you will want assistance for a week after surgery.
How long before I can return to the gym after breast augmentation?
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.
How long before I can return to work after breast augmentation?
Office and desk work can be resumed right away.  For most physical jobs you can return at 3 weeks.
When can I return to sexual activities after breast augmentation?
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.
What can go wrong if I don’t follow these recommendations?
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. 

When will I expect to see my final results?
The breasts will look nice immediately after surgery.   They continue to soften and improve in feel and appearance over the next 2-3 months.
Do I need to massage my implants?
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.

What kind of bra should I wear?
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.
Is pectoral muscle exercise OK?
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.
When will I buy new bras?
Wait until 6 weeks
When can I sleep on my stomach?
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.
When do implants drop and soften?
The softening phase of implants occurs from 4 weeks to 3 months for most patients.
Is it a problem if my implants are dropping at different rates?
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.

Get in Touch
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Dr. York Yates
2121 N 1700 W
Layton, UT 84041
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Phone: (801) 525-8741

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2121 N 1700 W, Layton, UT 84041 801.525.8741