Recovery after Breast Implants Surgery

What to Expect during the First 6 Months after Breast Implant Surgery

Getting breast implants is an exciting and big step, but the recovery process is just as important. The first six months after surgery can be a bit overwhelming, but knowing what to expect can make it easier. In this blog, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan will walk you through the first six months step-by-step, so you can recover confidently and enjoy the results of your surgery. 

Month 1 of the Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery

Here’s a closer look at what you can expect during this important first month:

The First Few Days after Breast Implant Surgery

Immediately after breast implant surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours. It’s completely normal to experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising in the days following surgery. These are all natural parts of the healing process as your body adjusts to the implants. You may also feel some tightness or pulling in your chest area, and your breasts might feel tender to the touch.

Here’s how you can manage discomfort and promote healing during these initial days:

  • Follow Anthony’s Instructions Meticulously: Anthony’s post-operative instructions are your roadmap to a smooth recovery. This includes taking prescribed medications exactly as directed, wearing your surgical bra at all times (except when showering), and attending all scheduled follow-up appointments.
  • Make Rest Your Top Priority: While it might be tempting to jump back into your routine, prioritising rest is essential for your body to heal properly. Avoid any activities that strain your chest muscles or raise your heart rate, including lifting heavy objects, housework, and intense exercise. Gentle walking around your home is encouraged to improve blood flow and prevent complications like blood clots.
  • Hydration is Important: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for flushing out toxins and reducing swelling. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also incorporate hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumber into your diet.
  • Nourish Your Body with Nutrient-Rich Foods: Focus on eating a balanced diet packed with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to repair tissues and support the healing process.
  • Manage Pain Proactively: Anthony will likely prescribe pain medication to help manage discomfort. Take these as directed and communicate any concerns about side effects or inadequate pain relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be used as needed, but always consult with Anthony before taking any new medications.

Remember, if you experience any sudden increase in pain, redness or warmth around the incisions, unusual discharge, or fever, contact Anthony immediately. These could be signs of a potential complication that requires prompt medical attention.

Breast Enlargement Augmentation - before and after

Week 1-2 after Breast Implant Surgery

As you move into the second week, you’ll notice a gradual decrease in pain and swelling. You might be able to resume some light activities, such as working from home or preparing simple meals.

Here’s what to expect during this phase:

  • Follow-up Appointment: Anthony will schedule a follow-up appointment, usually around 7-10 days after surgery. During this visit, he will examine your incisions, assess your healing progress, and address any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Drainage Tube Removal: If you had drainage tubes placed during surgery, they will likely be removed during this second week, depending on Anthony’s assessment and your body’s progress.
  • Gradual Resumption of Light Activities: As your energy levels increase, you can gradually resume some light activities around the house, such as preparing simple meals or doing light housework that doesn’t involve heavy lifting. You may also be able to return to a desk job or work from home, depending on your comfort level and the nature of your work.
  • Sleeping Position and Comfort: Continue to sleep on your back with your upper body slightly elevated to help minimise swelling and discomfort. You can use pillows to support your back and arms.
  • Driving: Most women can resume driving after one to two weeks, but it’s essential to consult with Anthony for clearance. You should be able to comfortably sit and wear a seatbelt without experiencing pain or discomfort before getting behind the wheel.

Week 3-4

By now, you’ll start feeling more like yourself. You can gradually increase your activity levels, but avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise.

Here are some things you can focus on during this phase:

  • Introducing Gentle Exercise: It’s time to gently reintroduce your body to exercise! Start with light activities like walking, swimming at a leisurely pace, or stationary cycling. These low-impact exercises can help reduce swelling, improve circulation, boost your mood, and gently engage your chest muscles without putting excessive strain on them.
  • Prioritising Scar Care: By now, your incisions should be fully healed. Anthony will likely give you the green light to begin scar massage, a gentle technique that helps soften the scar tissue and improve its appearance. He may also recommend using silicone gel or silicone sheets, which are clinically proven to minimise scarring.
  • Easing Back into Work: Depending on the nature of your job, you may be able to return to work during this period. If your work is primarily sedentary, you can likely resume your full duties. However, if your job involves heavy lifting, strenuous physical activity, or prolonged standing, it’s essential to consult with Anthony about appropriate timelines and any necessary work restrictions.
  • Resuming Social Activities: It’s time to reconnect with friends and enjoy social outings again! You can gradually resume social activities that bring you joy, but it’s still important to avoid anything too strenuous or that puts excessive pressure on your chest. This might include dancing, contact sports, or activities that involve a lot of upper body movement.

Months 2-3 of the Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery

During this period, your body continues to heal, and you’ll see further reduction in swelling. You can gradually increase your activity levels, but always listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

Here’s what you can expect during this phase:

  • Stepping Up Your Exercise Routine: If you’ve eased back into exercise with low-impact activities, you can now gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Perhaps you’ll try jogging for longer periods, incorporating hills into your walks, or adding light weights to your strength training routine. Remember to consult with Anthony or a certified personal trainer to ensure your exercise plan aligns with your recovery progress and overall health goals.
  • Enhancing Healing with Gentle Massage: Incorporating gentle massage around your breasts can be beneficial during this phase. Using light, circular motions, massage can help soften the implants, promote better sensory integration, and improve blood flow to the area, further supporting the healing process. Avoid any deep tissue massage or applying excessive pressure to the implants.
  • Navigating Sensory Changes: It’s common to experience some temporary changes in nipple sensation during the first few months after surgery. You might notice increased sensitivity, numbness, or tingling. These sensations are usually temporary and tend to resolve as the nerves in your breasts continue to heal. If you have any concerns about persistent or unusual changes in sensation, don’t hesitate to discuss them with Anthony.
  • Maintaining Support with Bra Wear: Anthony will advise you on how long to continue wearing a supportive sports bra, typically for at least the first six weeks, and potentially longer, especially during exercise. This helps minimise movement and provides optimal support to your breasts as they continue to heal and settle into their final position.

Months 4-6 of the Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery

By this stage, most of the swelling will have subsided, revealing your final results. You can enjoy increased confidence and a renewed sense of self as you embrace your new silhouette.

Here’s what you can expect during this phase:

  • Enjoying Your Final Results: By this stage, you’ll have a clear picture of your final breast size and shape. Any lingering asymmetry will likely be minimal and continue to improve over time. Embrace and celebrate the beautiful transformation you’ve achieved!
  • Returning to Normal Activity Levels: You should now be able to participate in most activities, including more strenuous exercises, without restrictions. Whether it’s hitting the gym, trying a new dance class, or engaging in your favourite sports, feel empowered to move your body freely and confidently.
  • Exploring Your Wardrobe: It’s time to have some fun with fashion! You can now comfortably wear a wider range of clothing, including swimsuits, fitted tops, and lingerie, that showcase your new silhouette. Embrace styles that make you feel confident and beautiful.
  • Transitioning to Long-Term Care: While you’ve reached a significant milestone in your recovery, it’s essential to continue prioritising your breast health. Follow Anthony’s recommendations for long-term care, including performing regular breast self-exams and attending scheduled follow-up appointments.

Potential Complications and When to Seek Help after Breast Implant Surgery

Signs of Complications


  • Symptoms: Watch out for signs such as redness, severe pain, swelling that worsens over time, fever, or any discharge from the incision site. These symptoms could indicate an infection.
  • Immediate Action: If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to contact Anthony immediately. Early treatment with antibiotics can prevent more serious complications.

Implant Issues:

  • Unusual Swelling: Some swelling is normal after surgery, but if one breast becomes noticeably more swollen than the other, it could indicate a problem with the implant.
  • Hardening: This could be a sign of capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant and causes the breast to feel firm or hard.
  • Changes in Breast Shape: Any significant change in the shape or position of the breast might indicate implant displacement or rupture.
  • Action Steps: If you experience any of these issues, contact Anthony for an evaluation. He may need to perform imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI, to assess the implants.

FAQs about Recovery after Breast Implant Surgery

When can I start wearing a regular bra again after surgery?

  • It’s generally recommended to wear a supportive surgical bra or a sports bra without underwires for the first few weeks to a couple of months after surgery. Anthony will advise you on when it is safe to switch to regular bras, which is usually around six to eight weeks post-surgery, depending on your healing progress.

Is it normal to feel emotional ups and downs during the recovery period?

  • Yes, it is common to experience a range of emotions during your recovery. The physical changes and the effects of anaesthesia and pain medications can impact your mood. Additionally, adjusting to the changes in your body can be an emotional experience. If you find your emotions overwhelming, consider speaking with a mental health professional for support.

How soon can I drive after my breast implant surgery?

  • You should avoid driving until you are no longer taking prescription pain medications and feel comfortable performing the necessary movements without pain. This typically means waiting at least one to two weeks post-surgery, but always follow Anthony’s specific recommendations.

Can I sleep on my side after breast implant surgery?

  • It’s advised to sleep on your back for the first few weeks following surgery to avoid putting pressure on your new implants. Anthony recommends using pillows to keep yourself in a comfortable back-sleeping position. Once Anthony gives the go-ahead, you can gradually return to sleeping on your side, usually after four to six weeks.

What kind of diet should I follow during my recovery?

  • A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein can support your healing process. Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Staying hydrated is also important. Avoid excessive salt to reduce swelling and limit foods that might cause inflammation. Anthony or a nutritionist can provide specific dietary guidelines tailored to your recovery needs.

Further reading about Breast Implants Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Recovery after Breast Implants Surgery