Plastic Surgeon Questions Breast Augmentation

How long is a recovery from a breast augmentation?

I'm considering getting a breast augmentation, but I can't be out of work for too long because of this surgery. How long is the recovery usually for a breast augmentation?

19 Answers

The answer to this question varies dramatically depending on what type of work you do, and your pain tolerance. Breast augmentation, particularly under the muscle, can be quite painful for the first few days. Some take pain medication for 2 to 3 days, others for 5 to 7 days. It will also be painful to use the arms in a strenuous way. If one’s job involves merely desk work, such patients often return to work after a few days. However, if one uses the arms in a strenuous way, such as lifting or working out, it may take 2 to 3 weeks to be comfortable doing this.
1-2 weeks
Generally speaking, you should be completely recovered and released to return to normal activities within a week.
6 weeks
Depending on your job demand, most patients can return to desk work within 3-4 days. Most surgeons recommend 2-3 weeks of light activity including no weights or cardiovascular fitness.
First question is what kind of work do you do? If raising your arms above your head or extensive lifting that would take longer. Otherwise, you should be back to work within 4 or 5 days.
Recovery after breast augmentation depends on the patient. You can do normal activity of daily living in a few days. Usually 2 to 3 weeks for heavy lifting.
After surgery, the breasts swell from the trauma of surgery and the tissues become edematous. This combined with the tightness of the skin and the squeeze of the pectorals muscle on the implant can give the implants a high and flat appearance as the round implants are squeezed like a pancake against the chest. The initial recovery from surgery is a few days to a week. The ability to work depends on your occupation and your pain tolerance. Most patients are able to go back to light duty between 1 and 2 weeks and back to full activity by 4-6 weeks.

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As the swelling subsides and the tissues begin to stretch from the weight of implants, the breasts begin to settle. Over the next few months, the implants settle and the soft tissue and pectoralis muscle relax. The shape changes from high and tight to lower and fuller as the implants round out and more of the implant is in position to provide lower pole projection. This “drop and fluff” often occurs over the first few months after surgery as the edema finally escapes and the soft tissues relax. This process is often asymmetric as the breasts relax and settle at their own rates. It will take 3 to 6 months to see a final result – although for some patients this process occurs faster. A detailed examination will help delineate the best surgical option and provide you a custom quote for your situation.


Dr. David M. Tauber, MD
The recovery means different things to different people. Sounds like you are concerned about when you can return to work after a breast augmentation. If your work does not involve using your arms for strenuous activity, you usually return to work the next day or same day. Larger implant and placement under the pectoralis muscle tend to be more uncomfortable. If you choose smaller implants (less than 350 cc each) and stay above the muscle, you will feel fine within a few hours after surgery and should be able to do paper work at a desk that same day of surgery. If you obtain submuscular implant, you may feel, at the worst like an elephant sitting on your chest for about 24 hours. Then you accommodate and feel progressively better.
Each patient is unique, but generally, we recommend you take 1-2 weeks off following an augmentation to allow your body to heal fully. Patients are generally able to get back to their normal tasks at work very shortly after surgery. Some even in a few days if the job is not physically demanding. No heavy lifting allowed and important to follow all precautions discussed with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
After a breast augmentation, you cannot exercise with your arms for 4 weeks. You may return to work after 1 week, but generally cannot drive for 10-14 days.
Hello, it is one week recovery.
I would say that one week after surgery you may resume daily activities,but not strenuous physical activity. It would be prudent to wait about three weeks for full physical activity. Good luck to you
Generally speaking, about a week for initial recovery in terms of swelling and pain. Another 2-3 weeks until full recovery. It all depends on the technique.

Dr. Yuan
For 2 weeks after the augmentation, I do not allow my patients to lift more than 20 pounds, and desk work is allowed after 5-7 days. Weeks 3-4 allow more movement and a return to normal activity.
Recovery from breast augmentation varies from patient to patient. Most of my patients are able to return to work within the week following surgery. Make sure you are consulting with a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and preferably a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery as we specialize in cosmetic surgery of the breast and body. At Contemporary Plastic Surgery in NJ, we utilize a "multimodal" pain management routine including the use of Exparel, which provides time released numbing medication to speed recovery without relying on the use of opioids. If your job is strenuous, requiring heavy lifting, then 4-7 days may not be sufficient time off from work.
Hope this gives you some guidelines to start your journey.
A lot depends on variables like the surgical technique, the size on the implants (how tightly they fit), your job description, etc. However, a week off work is generally sufficient, and if you are tough, less than that. You need to ask your chosen surgeon these questions in order to be more specific.

Dr. M
A recovery from a breast augmentation is roughly 1 week off from work, particularly a desk job. It can be shorter or longer depending on some factors.
Hope that helps!
Recovery from augmentation surgery, the way we do it is rapid. Surgery on Thursday, back to work Monday. Our patients are happiest with smooth round implants under the breast. If your work requires a lot of arm motion, then recovery may take a little longer -- but otherwise there is little pain with the mecication we use and a quick recovery. We also image you on the Crisalix system to see what you will look like with implants.

William B. Rosenblatt, M.D.