How long does it take to recover from breast augmentation surgery?


What you need to know before an operation

Stages to making a full recovery and getting back to a normal life


I am often asked how long it takes to recover from breast augmentation surgery.

Obviously, you need to know what to expect after the operation, so you can start to plan around other commitments, like work, childcare or holidays.

If you’re considering having this kind of surgery, read on to find out what to expect – both immediately when you come out of theatre and in the weeks and months afterwards.


Or use the following link to learn more about breast augmentation and implants performed at a range of hospitals around the Midlands and Birmingham.

women jogging from breast augmentation recovery to full health
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30-Years of NHS experience – I now run a private practice specialising in breast surgery


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Everyone recovers at their own pace


It’s important to understand that individuals’ ability to recover can vary quite a lot – just as people’s pain thresholds differ too. But, in essence, everyone who has a breast augmentation will go through the same stages after surgery. The timings may vary slightly, but everyone should get to the same result in the end.

The other thing to remember is that it’s essential to choose a reputable, experienced and qualified surgeon who works in hospitals with excellent care and hygiene standards. It’s only by doing this that you can be confident of receiving speedy attention and getting the best possible care in the unlikely event of any problems arising.


There are four stages to the recovery process after breast enlargement surgery:


Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Immediately after your operation


Most patients have breast augmentation done as a day case, which means they are well enough to return home on the day of surgery.

Everybody’s pain threshold is different, so I can’t tell you how painful or otherwise you will find the operation. But most people are surprised by how comfortable they feel when they wake up.

I close my patients’ wounds with buried, dissolvable stitches and dress them with a medical grade ‘superglue’, which means you can bath or shower at any time after surgery. Many of my patients find a warm bath or shower helps them relax.


Overnight stays


Some patients do stay in hospital overnight – either by choice or if they need a drain – to make sure everything is going according to plan before they leave hospital.

Just occasionally, if a patient is experiencing extreme pain, nausea and vomiting or needs a lot of drainage, I will keep them in hospital more than one night. My team of experienced surgical nurses will check on them regularly and monitor any changes, to make sure the patient is comfortable and that symptoms are improving.


Don’t worry if you need to stay in hospital for one or more nights, the cost of this is already built into your fixed cost surgery plan with me.

You can also rest assured that I will never send you home unless I am confident you are fit and well enough to leave hospital.

Stage two


The second stage of recovery is the early post-operative recovery period, which usually lasts about two weeks.

During this stage, you should avoid driving.


I recommend that all my patients stay at home and get plenty of rest for this two week period – the more relaxation you get, the better, as this will help ensure a full recovery.

Over-activity in this early two-week period can cause complications. You really do want to avoid this, so you can get back to leading a full and active life as soon as possible and so your new breasts retain their shape long-term.


It’s important to understand that if you do overdo things, you will be at an increased risk of some possible complications.


  • Bleeding and Seroma (the build-up of fluids where tissue has been removed) – common when patients don’t rest enough immediately after breast augmentation surgery
  • Severe irritation and inflammation – both these problems can occur in patients who try to return to an active life too soon after surgery. These problems can subsequently lead to capsular contracture which sometimes requires further surgery to put right.

Stage three


The next phase of recovery – usually between weeks two and six – is when you start to return to normal life.


You’ll be pleased to hear that at this point, you can go back to driving and do some gentle walking.  You can also get on with some light activities at work.

But – you should definitely not be doing any other exercise and certainly no heavy lifting. By heavy lifting, I mean picking up a suitcase, moving furniture or trying to put heavy objects in the loft!

Again, there are certain risks to overdoing things in this period.

You will increase the risk of one or other breast swelling and may experience discomfort or pain and you are also likely to worry. None of this is good for your long-term recovery or ongoing health.

So, take it gently and don’t overdo it.


Stage four


The fourth stage of recovery – generally between six weeks and six months – is when you can really start to appreciate your new figure and enjoy life with the breasts you’ve always wanted.


It’s important to remember to massage your scars every day during this period. This will help the scars become less visible and will contribute to a full and speedy recovery.

It’s not unusual to find that your breasts are occasionally a bit uncomfortable during this phase.  Don’t worry about this, it’s perfectly normal.


Once you reach six months post-operation, you should be fully recovered.

Your wounds will be fully healed; they will be robust and you’re unlikely to do any damage to your implants.


Focus on getting back to living a full and active life. Embrace your usual activities, whether that be jogging, running, swimming or a trip to the gym – or try something new.

Plus, you can now wear a normal bra again, so enjoy picking out a new style to complement your fuller, firmer breasts and relish the feeling of a new you.


Learn more about a range of breast surgery types available with me.

Mr Guy D. Sterne
MB, ChB, FRCS, MD, FRCS (Plast)
Consultant Plastic Surgeon