The ABCs of Breast Augmentation Recovery


Women thinking about getting breast implants often worry more about the recovery than the surgery itself. Online research sometimes highlights only the rare negative stories shared by patients rather than the typical experiences we see at our practice. The vast majority of our breast augmentation patients from Edmonton to Saskatoon are pleasantly surprised with the comfort and speed of their recoveries.

Knowing what to expect during the recovery provides breast augmentation patients with peace of mind and confidence going into surgery. That’s why our Royal College-certified plastic surgeons thoroughly explain all steps of the process during the consultation. In this blog post, we’ll offer an overview of the recovery timeline along with a few tips to make the experience as smooth as possible.

The Day of Surgery

Breast augmentation surgery typically takes about an hour, and you’ll spend at least 2 hours in the recovery room. Your surgeon and the dedicated team of nurses at Macleod Trail Plastic Surgery closely monitor you during this time to ensure your safety and comfort. We provide patients with detailed post-op instructions and encourage them to contact our office with any questions or concerns during the recovery.

The First Few Days

Each patient’s recovery is unique, and your comfort level a day or 2 after the surgery may be different from others’ experiences. Our patients typically say their pain eases within the first few days, and the discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription medication. We recommend women who work at a job that doesn’t require significant physical activity take a full 7 days off work. For a more physically active job such as nursing, 3+ weeks off may be necessary.

It’s normal for implants initially to sit high on the chest and feel somewhat hard. In most cases, breasts soften and the implants settle to a more natural position within a few weeks. You don’t need to massage implants! Plastic surgeons all have their own recovery protocols and some still recommend massage, but this is really an old-school technique that isn’t supported by research as benefiting the healing process in any way.

Weeks 2-6

This can be a bit of a frustrating part of the recovery period for women who are used to working out several times a week. That’s because our surgeons strongly encourage patients to avoid strenuous exercise for at least the first 3 weeks after surgery. At that point, you should limit exercise to some light cardio. Avoid strength training using the upper body for a couple more weeks. Taking care of yourself after surgery is just as important to getting the final results you want as choosing a good surgeon. Remember: It’s much easier to get back to your original fitness level after a break than it is to recover from potential complications caused by pushing yourself too quickly.

After about 6 weeks you’ll most likely be happy with the appearance of your breasts. For some patients, however, the final results can take longer to appear. Again, we want you to contact us with any questions you might have.

Some Tips

You’re going to need plenty of rest during the first few days, so it’s helpful to prepare a spot where you’ll be comfortable and have easy access to anything you might need. That can include:

  • Mobile electronic devices
  • TV remotes
  • Magazines and books
  • Bottled water

Create a nest with pillows that makes it easy to rest in an upright position. It’s also helpful to clean your house before the surgery and have a few days’ worth of meals prepared.

Once you see the results, such as those featured in our gallery of before-and-after photos, the inconvenience of recovery will seem minimal. If you’re considering breast augmentation in Calgary, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (403) 452-7953 to schedule an appointment.