What Is and Isn’t Normal After Breast Augmentation

is this normal after breast augmenation
Breast augmentation is an ever-popular procedure with sky-high patient satisfaction rates. Most breast augmentation patients are absolutely delighted with their results and have zero regrets—even so, during the recovery period, many patients wonder if things will really turn out as they hope.

After having breast augmentation, it can be difficult to know what is a normal part of the healing process and what might indicate a potential problem. To help you out, we’ve outlined a few of the most common things that patients experience after breast augmentation. Just one caveat before you read on: talk to your doctor if you see or feel anything that concerns you—there’s no substitute for an in-person look at any concerns.

My chest feels really tight, and my boobs feel like they might explode

It takes time for muscle, breast tissue, and skin to adjust to your implants; until these tissues have healed sufficiently, you can expect to feel (possibly intense) tightness in the chest area, particularly if your implants are placed beneath the muscle. Normal postoperative swelling, which peaks about 3 to 5 days after surgery, will amplify feelings of chest pressure. Some women also report that their breasts feel engorged (tender, heavy and inflamed).

How long this lasts: Typically, the more intense discomfort from tightness dissipates over the first one to two weeks after surgery; however, you may experience mild feelings of stiffness and tightness in the chest muscles for a month or longer. The bulk of swelling should subside within about three weeks, although you can expect modest swelling to last about 3 months.

By the 3-month mark, your breasts will be pretty close to their final shape and appearance, although scars will continue to fade for several more months.

When to call your plastic surgeon: If swelling seems severe, especially one one side, or if feelings of engorgement are accompanied by fever and breasts are very warm to the touch, contact your doctor immediately; these are signs of bleeding and infection, respectively.

My boobs look like torpedos and my nipples are uneven

There is a reason that experienced surgeons prefer to include only breast augmentation “after” photos taken at least 3 months post-op in their patient galleries—it takes time for the breasts to “drop and fluff” or settle into their final position and for scars to fade. Initially, your new breasts will probably appear unnaturally high on the chest and may have a stark “torpedo” shape. During the first few weeks of recovery, one breast may seem bigger than the other, and one may appear to drop lower than the other. You may even wonder if your plastic surgeon made a mistake—chances are the answer is no, and your breasts just need more time to heal. These are all normal occurrences after breast augmentation.

How long this lasts: Again, your body needs time to adjust to your implants; post-op swelling can also contribute to asymmetry, as swelling might go down earlier in one breast than the other. Typically, the 3-month mark is when your breasts will be pretty close to their final shape and appearance, although scars will continue to fade for several more months.

When to call your plastic surgeon: If, after 3 months, one or both breasts still appear misshapen, you are experiencing significant asymmetry, or one breast seems unnaturally hard to the touch, consult with your plastic surgeon—these symptoms indicate a possible capsular contracture. If you are still dissatisfied with your breast augmentation results 6 to 12 months after your procedure, you may need to look into breast augmentation revision.

I’m feeling depressed about this whole thing

Ask a breast augmentation patient if she’s glad she did it, and you’ll most likely hear, “YES! But there were a few days in the beginning….” With so much emphasis on the physical aspects of breast augmentation, it’s easy to forget that recovery has an emotional side, too. It’s actually common for patients to go through a brief period of mild depression after any surgery, breast augmentation included.

Post-op “blues” pass after a few weeks, usually after you’ve returned to your normal routine and you’re noticing that your breasts look better every day.

Why? There are a number of possible causes, from anesthesia to pain medications to the disruption that surgery and recovery inevitably make in a patient’s routine. Add to this a 1 to 3 month period where your breasts may look and feel awkward before settling into a more natural position, and temporary feelings of doubt are understandable.

How long this lasts: The important thing here is to be patient; post-op blues almost always pass after a few weeks, when you’ve returned to your normal routine, post-op swelling and stiffness has subsided, and you’re noticing that your breasts look better every day.

When to see your plastic surgeon: If you are experiencing feelings of severe depression at any time, see a qualified professional. If you still feel unhappy about your breast augmentation many months after surgery, it’s time to visit your plastic surgeon. You may just need more time to heal, but there is a chance you’ll want to consider a revision procedure.

I’m having shooting pains in my nipples

As nerve endings heal after surgery, it’s totally normal to feel sharp but short-lived pangs in your breasts, particularly in the nipples. Other strange yet normal sensations and pains during the first few weeks may include chest muscle spasms and upper back pain (usually stemming from a change from your normal sleeping position or hunching your shoulders over to protect your sore chest).

How long this lasts: Intermittent chest muscle spasms after breast augmentation may last up to three or four weeks, until the pectoral muscle has fully adjusted to having an implant beneath it. Shooting nipple pains can last up to 6 months or longer, although you will notice these becoming less frequent and less intense as time goes on.

When to see your plastic surgeon: While mild discomfort is to be expected for the first two or three weeks, severe or persistent pain or discomfort that disrupts your ability to sleep or perform normal allowed activities needs attention: call your doctor.

I’m bloated, constipated and tired

Having surgery is a shock to the system, including the digestive system. Anesthesia and medication can cause nausea and vomiting in some patients, and you may lose your appetite for a few days. Pain medication, as well as a reduction in activity level, can lead to constipation. Bloating and fatigue are also normal after-effects.

How long this lasts: Typically, nausea lasts just a few days and constipation a week or so at most. You can alleviate digestive distress by staying hydrated, taking pain meds only as long as you need them to keep discomfort at a tolerable level, and taking medications with a meal. Also, while exercise is restricted, taking frequent, easy walks will aid in digestion and circulation and help lift your mood.

When to call your plastic surgeon: If symptoms are severe or persist longer than a few days, see your surgeon. The solution may be as simple as adjusting your diet, or your surgeon may recommend a medication to alleviate your discomfort. Do NOT take any diuretics or laxatives without your plastic surgeon’s approval.

Stay in touch with your plastic surgeon

Everyone heals differently, and you may experience all or none of these effects during recovery. If you’re concerned about anything, even if you think what you’re experiencing is probably normal, it’s best to check in with your plastic surgeon.

In the rare event that you’re unhappy with your breasts after augmentation, don’t live with a look you don’t love. Breast revision surgery with a skilled plastic surgeon can offer improvements.

A qualified plastic surgeon will have you return periodically throughout your recovery to assess your progress and answer questions that arise. Typically, you’ll visit several times in the first two weeks after surgery, and appointments are spaced further apart after your initial recovery period has passed.

In the rare event that you are unhappy with the way your breasts look after augmentation, don’t live with a look you don’t love. Book a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in breast revision surgery. Not all issues require a revision, but many do. A skilled plastic surgeon can make improvements, often using the same incision sites made during your initial procedure.

Questions about what to expect after breast augmentation? Call us!

We’ve specialized in breast augmentation and breast revision surgery since 1992. Whether you’re still deciding whether to have surgery or you’ve had breast augmentation and want to make sure you’re 100% satisfied with your look, we will be happy to help you understand your procedure options at a consultation with our board certified plastic surgeons.

58 Comments Posted to "What Is and Isn’t Normal After Breast Augmentation"

  • June 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm • Posted by Yolanda Butler | Reply

    It looks like my breast is gathered together under the bottom is that normal?

    • June 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      During the early stages of healing, the areas around the incision can look “puckered.” If this doesn’t improve or you have further concerns, we encourage you to contact your surgeon for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything is good.

  • December 20, 2017 at 2:13 am • Posted by Stephanie | Reply

    Wish I would have read this a month ago. Very informative. Seems to cover just about everything I’m experiencing.

    • February 1, 2018 at 10:35 pm • Posted by Kary martinez |

      Thanks for the info. Every day I have questions about the shape the feeling the look of my implants I just hit 6 weeks recovering and am still finding more questions about the whole process, but thanks again for the info cause it’s everything that I am experiencing. Kary

    • February 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Healing after breast augmentation can have its up and downs. We’re so glad we were able to help you understand a bit more about what’s going on with your body.

    • July 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      So glad we were able to help! We hope you’re loving your new curves 🙂

  • February 6, 2018 at 10:09 pm • Posted by sharon | Reply

    Wow!! This was really informative… I just had my breast augmentation a week and a half ago and I have done every thing the papers they gave me said to do, but I still had some questions and this literally just answered them all! Thanks!

    • February 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      No problem! We’re happy we were able to clear up your questions!

  • March 3, 2018 at 2:11 pm • Posted by Alison Muckel | Reply

    I had my augmentation 2 1/2 weeks ago and gave very large and painful swollen lymph nodes in my right armpit and down my side. I’ve been taking ibuprofen and Tylenol nonstop to help and doing warm wet compress but it’s not helping. I called my doctor to see if I need an antibiotic but they said no. How long can I have these and so you suggest anything else. This is also the side that is not coming down very well like the other side.

  • March 19, 2018 at 12:30 am • Posted by Diana Meyer | Reply

    I’ve had to have a double mastectomy 2 years ago and then had to have it fix the very next year.
    Now it has been a year sense the second surgery and I still have lots of pain and what I can only call a torn muscle under my left arm.
    I would really like to know if this is normal.
    If it is not then I don’t know who to turn to for help I have talk to my surgeon and get nothing in return!
    Can you suggest where to start?

  • March 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm • Posted by MARIA LOPEZ | Reply

    I HAD MY IMPLANTS DONE IN 2011 AND WHEN IS THE NEXT TIME TO FOLLOW UP AFTER THE 2ND TIME AFTER SURGERY? AND I HAVE BEEN FEELING A VERY MILD AND TENDER SMALL LUMP AROUND MY INCISION IS THIS SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT? AND WHEN IS THE NEXT LAST APPOINTMENT YOU HAVE AND HOW MUCH IS YOUR CONSULTATION FEE?

    • March 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Hi Maria! Our cosmetic consultations are always free. Please feel free to fill out our contact form or give our practice a call at 610.320.0200. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • March 25, 2018 at 6:12 pm • Posted by Lisa | Reply

    I also had a breast augmentation a week and a half ago and wish I read this early!

    One question I have though. After surgery my areolas became swollen and ‘puffy’. I’m just wondering how long this will last before they go back to normal, if they will?

    • March 29, 2018 at 2:23 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Hi Lisa! Swelling is a normal part of recovery. If you haven’t noticed the swelling going down, we recommend getting in touch with your surgeon to make sure all is well.

  • March 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm • Posted by Johnnatrujillo@gmail.com | Reply

    I just had my breast lift with implants 10 days ago and I was having a lot of painful symptoms and because of this page you’ve answered all my questions now I’m not so worried and just need to have some more patience and more rest thank you very much!

    • April 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Happy to help! Patience is a difficult but necessary part of healing—we get it!

  • April 4, 2018 at 4:59 pm • Posted by Stella | Reply

    Hello, i would like to ask, regarding the tornado- look of the chests that they are too high on the chest in the beginning, I’ve found out that many surgeons give to the patient for the first month to wear a ´belt’ high in the chest in order to puss down the implants. I asked my surgeon who didn’t agree with this.
    Do I have to worry?what is your opinion?

    Thank you

  • April 7, 2018 at 5:27 am • Posted by Monique Monique | Reply

    Thank you so much for This,I’m Mentally at ease.

  • April 19, 2018 at 2:55 am • Posted by Ashelly | Reply

    I am 2 days post breast lifting and augmentaion and I feel strange feeling in the lift breast like motor or electrical current is going in for few seconds then disappear without pain and it happen very frequent looks like there is some thing inside with electrical current

    Is that normal and have any one experince such feeling

  • April 27, 2018 at 4:48 am • Posted by Michela | Reply

    What about resuming sport? Can I start doing lower body exercise like stationary bike after one month of the surgery?

  • April 28, 2018 at 11:15 am • Posted by Kay Brookins | Reply

    Can’t believe my surgeon wasso vagye in what you have shared. My breasts are unchanged from the day after surgery. One is very firm, and the other looks like there is no implant there at all. As a cancer survivor, I dont want to keep being cut on. I hope he can and is willing to fix this. Its very obvious and has really damaged my body image.

  • May 6, 2018 at 4:46 pm • Posted by Jane | Reply

    I am afraid I took implants which are a little too big…
    One week post operation and they look massive …I had a small b and took 300cc I just wanted a full b according to my ps this suited my body. Will they shrink by any chance….these shark tornados?

  • May 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm • Posted by Silvana | Reply

    I just had my breast augmentation done yesterday, it’s been a rough tow day so far with all the pain and pressure. I personally find it a bit difficult to move around, or to sleeping in a recliner chair as advised, just so uncomfortable. I have spoke to a few of my friends who previously did the surgery, and the mentioned the same. They did however said by the third day it should start to get better. It’s day two, I am keeping up with my pain meds, antibiotics, and a muscle relaxer that has been helping quite a bit. All I can say is do not get discouraged, do some research on what to expect. I am very optimistic about the healing process. Hope this helps a bit.

  • May 20, 2018 at 7:39 pm • Posted by Whit | Reply

    So I had my surgery this past Tuesday, May 15th, I had tubes placed in my to drain the blood. Went to my follow up and they did not remove them yet. Today is Sunday, woke up from a nap and have blood coming out from the tube site. I have an appointment tomorrow, so will see what the doctor says tomorrow. I’m just wondering why a lot of females didn’t have this drain tubes in them. What’s going on. Why isn’t my doctor telling me what’s going on.
    Now, my boobs feel really numb, so I’m like depressed. Like what did I just do to myself.
    Please help me.

  • May 24, 2018 at 6:57 pm • Posted by Bianca Flores | Reply

    I am Post OP 21 days, and YES!! each day is a Blessing and Recovering for me.. I experience a little of everything, but still each day its better.. 🙂 so hang in there and it will get much BETTER..

  • May 26, 2018 at 7:02 am • Posted by Chrystal | Reply

    I had my breast augmentation 3 days ago. I was really sick after Anesthesia.bad nausea and vomiting and hot extremely constipated as I wasn’t able to take in fluids or eat much. I’ve been sleeping on my back and find it easy as the pain meds knock me out. Day 3 seems better, I can definitely move more and the pain on my chest when moving is so much better! I wished I’d read this before surgery. But glad it could confirm a few things for me. Just can’t wait for the end product. Still a way to go!

  • June 6, 2018 at 6:32 am • Posted by Camille Samuel | Reply

    Hello one of my breast is infected and swollen I have called my page several times they gave me antibiotics but it’s not getting any better Wat should I do

  • June 6, 2018 at 7:13 am • Posted by Elsita Rhule | Reply

    I had breast augmentation just over week now, healing process was slow at first not being able to lift my arms, house work was piling up, ha ha as a busy woman im not good at “resting” but you have too, glad i read these comments, put my mind at ease now

  • June 8, 2018 at 5:41 pm • Posted by Cynthia | Reply

    It’s been exactly two weeks since my surgery and my right breast is still a lot more swollen then my left one. The left one seems to be falling in place and I don’t see much different on the right . Is this normal?

  • June 10, 2018 at 8:35 pm • Posted by Tania | Reply

    I had breast augmentation 6 days ago, besides the normal discomfort I am feeling, I am also getting shooting pain under my right breast where I have have the incision, the pain only occurs when I move not when I am laying still, is this nornal.

  • June 14, 2018 at 9:56 am • Posted by Tana | Reply

    I am on day 7 of post op and have been having searing burning pain under my right breast. It doesn’t seem to be the incision as my surgeon has looked at it and it’s not infected but I did have to have my fold lowered to accommodate my implants. There is tightness on both sides underneath my breasts with a pulling sensation. That I can deal with it’s the burning searing pain on the right that makes arm movements on that side unbearable. My surgeon says it’s nerve pain that will just take time to heal. I am only taking ibuprofen 600 Mg every 4-6 hours but it really doesn’t do much for the pain. I’ve tried oxycodone with acetaminophen as well but that just makes me feel drugged without relief. What else can I do to help alleviate the pain? I can’t go back to work like this and I am a licensed esthetician who works with my arms on clients all day.

  • June 27, 2018 at 11:23 pm • Posted by Emily | Reply

    Thanks for writing this..
    I am at one week post op and just had my dressings changed today and first photos taken. I was concerned as one breast is sitting higher and appears bigger than the other but this article has eased my worries.
    Thank you

    • June 29, 2018 at 2:25 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Glad we were able to help put your mind at ease!

  • June 29, 2018 at 4:50 pm • Posted by Janice N | Reply

    I am getting close to my 4 week recovery of having breast augmentation done and have experienced that one boob is hard is a normal symptom of recovery?

  • July 4, 2018 at 11:57 pm • Posted by Manda | Reply

    I’m 8 days post OP. Is it normal to have almost a burning sensation when I run my finger across the top of my breast, it’s only on the right. Is this just the nerves healing?

  • July 5, 2018 at 5:39 am • Posted by Lori Ann Headley | Reply

    I just had my saline filled implants replaced with silicone implants due to one of the saline implants rupturing and deflating. Right after removel/replacement surgery I bled out into the capsule around the implant on the side that had previously ruptured. Had to go back into surgery for a second time in the same week to have hematoma removed. That was a little over a week ago and I’ve exspierianced a lot of pain, swelling, bruising and firmness on that side while the other side never swelled, no soreness or bruising and very soft to the toutch. This information was very helpful, especialy since it mentioned that it’s normal for one breast to be mishapen during the healing process. Also I have had sharp shooting pains in my breasts and nipples and relieved to read that that is normal. I’m looking forward to healing and confinite that I will be happy with my final result. My surgeon tells me that due to the original rupture, removel and replacement and then the hematoma removel, it could take up to 6 to 12 months for that breast to shape up, soften and completely heal due to so much trauma to that breast 🙁 I’m trying to be patient. Is anyone exsperiancing anything similar to my situation?

  • July 12, 2018 at 3:43 am • Posted by alma | Reply

    Im 6 days post-op and for some reason i sometimes feel numbness on my left arm and breast is this normal

  • July 12, 2018 at 10:55 am • Posted by wesam | Reply

    i had breast augmentation 8 months ago the shape is good and the touch is soft but during the recent 2 weeks i feel pain in my breasts specially both outer sides of them

  • July 14, 2018 at 9:01 am • Posted by Monica Moore | Reply

    I am almost at the second week and everyday has gotten better but I am still experiencing something new here and there. I have one breast that is slightly bigger than the other which I have ready is normal considering one may settle before the other. My surgeon stated during my one week checkup that I was healing wonderfully and removed my stitches. However, this week I am experiences a few shooting scarp pains in that same left breast. I am having no fevers, I sleep well, it doesn’t hurt to move, no bruising so I am staying optimistic that everything is going to be just fine. I await my 1 month appointment and see what everything looks like.

    • July 24, 2018 at 2:26 pm • Posted by Berks Plastic Surgery |

      Make sure to relay all of your concerns to your surgeon. The healing process can be challenging, and everyone experiences it differently. The first month in particular can be a rollercoaster. Good luck with your follow-up!

  • July 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm • Posted by kathy weigel | Reply

    Implant side is hot and red. Other side, which was reduced is not hot or red. I am concerned about possible infection.
    My doc will not return my phone calls

  • July 17, 2018 at 10:11 pm • Posted by Katie M | Reply

    Did any of you have a warm burning sensations while healing? I’m 2 weeks post op and My breasts are warm to the touch and feel like they’re burning inside, but no fever or suspicious discharge. This just started a couple of days ago. Just wondering if anyone else felt this way?!

  • July 22, 2018 at 4:38 am • Posted by Sefena | Reply

    2nd day post op and Im swollen on my sides so bad. I may have overdone it with the amount of walking ive done but this article definitely helped clear the blues. Thanks so much back to happiness

  • August 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm • Posted by Nicole | Reply

    I am 1 week post augmentation and lift.
    The puckering from the lollipop incision looks like a horror movie around my nipple.
    Is this normal? Will the puckering if the skin even out?

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:51 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      Yes! No worries 😊😊

  • August 12, 2018 at 10:54 am • Posted by Nicole | Reply

    I had a breast augmentation 6 months ago. I was a 34B and had 360cc natrelle inspire implants under he muscle. I feel like it’s been nothing but a headache. I still experience pain mainly in my right breast which is much lower and I can feel rippling along the bottom (I thought with gel that wouldn’t happen) and my left breast is much higher. Neither are hard so I don’t honk capsular contraction? I feel like my surgeon always tells me it’s fine and it will go away but it still hasn’t and I can’t afford to get another surgery on it. Any thoughts.

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:50 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      You need a second opinion. What you describe is not normal. Please feel free to reach out to my patient coordinator

  • August 29, 2018 at 2:17 am • Posted by Sophia | Reply

    I had my surgery yesterday. If I would have known it would be this difficult I wouldn’t have had it. I can’t take pain pills because they make me so sick. It’s good to read that others have felt the same thing. I don’t feel so lonely and scared. I feel like I have two watermelons that are made of cement. Oh the pain!

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:46 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      It gets better! I use Exparel in my patients to minimize the pain. Many don’t need opioids at all.

  • August 29, 2018 at 7:06 pm • Posted by Maria F Bothfeld | Reply

    Two months after my beast implants today I started feeling stitching and burning, is this nornal??? This is new for me, should I worry?

    Thank you, Maria

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:44 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      Nope. Totally normal 😊

  • August 30, 2018 at 12:43 pm • Posted by Michelle | Reply

    I had a breast augmentation done in May. It has been three and a half months. I followed up with my plastic surgeon at the 3-month mark, and he said everything looks good. But I am still having a burning/pain sensation on the lateral side of my left breast. Is there a test that can be done to make sure that it is healing correctly? From a visual standpoint they look normal. But it is painful to sleep on my left side, and it aches even without movement.

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:44 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      Some patients can have mild and intermittent discomfort for 6-12 months

  • September 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm • Posted by Nikki | Reply

    Hi, I had my breast augmentation surgery 10 months ago. A week ago I started getting sharp shooting pains in my breasts. They have been getting worse and I am starting to get worried. Is this normal ?

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:43 pm • Posted by Dr. Brian Reedy |

      It may be normal but I would recommend you be seen by your surgeon to rule out capsular contracture

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