Swelling is a normal part of the healing process after a breast augmentation.
Swelling may cause you some discomfort after surgery but inflammation is actually a good thing!
What causes swelling after a breast augmentation?
Without inflammation (swelling) there is no healing. The fluid that causes swelling after a breast augmentation is your body's way of repairing damaged tissues. Fluid contains something called 'plasma' and that contains all the things your body needs to heal.
Fluid around your breasts after a breast augmentation will make them visibly swollen, tender and possibly warm to the touch.
Normal swelling after a Breast Augmentation
It's impossible to say how much swelling you will get after surgery as every surgery, and every patient, is unique.
It's also normal for swelling to occur in places other than your breasts. Gravity will pull fluid down... this can contribute to a post-op belly bloat, and even your ankles swelling!
Sometimes a seroma (a collection of fluid that builds up under the surface of the skin) can develop after a breast augmentation. If there’s any redness, increased pain and/or lumps (full of fluid) in your breasts after surgery contact your surgeon for some advice.
A seroma is not a serious complication and the body will usually reabsorb the excess fluid over time. They can, however, be quite painful.
If you’re worried about your own swelling post-op pick up the phone to your surgeon. If for no other reason it may give you some reassurance.
How long does swelling last after a breast augmentation?
Swelling starts to occur right after surgery and tends to peak within the first week. Over the next 3-6 weeks swelling becomes less visible but small amounts of swelling can be present for up to 3 to 4 months following your breast augmentation.
What swelling can do in the first instance is make you think your breasts are bigger than you expected.
This is why...
You should never judge your breasts (especially their size) in these early weeks and months!
As swelling resolves you can find yourself then thinking "they've shrunk". You're going to have muster up some patience because what you will find is that, as your breast implants drop and fluff, they start to take shape and the trade-off as swelling subsides is that you start to see your new breasts true shape.
You'll have to wait about 6 months after your breast augmentation before you know the size of your new girls. A good reason to wait before rushing out and buying loads of new bras!
How is swelling after a breast augmentation managed?
During your breast augmentation recovery, the fluid your body has made to heal the surgical area is slowly absorbed.
Some surgeons will use compression dressings and/or bras following breast augmentation to the minimize swelling. And some surgeons also use drains to minimize swelling.
You may also be advised to ice the girls in the early days - but check with your surgeon before you whip the frozen peas out of the freezer and stuff them in your bra! (and make sure there's not a hole in the bag of peas and get pea juice all over your new boobies... like I did...)
The rest is just time. Good 'ol patience! Once everything is better the excess fluid will be fully reabsorbed into your body.
While you're waiting for this breast augmentation recovery milestone you may also experience unusual sounds and gurgles in your chest area - and even a squishy sternum (the bit between your breasts) where fluid has accumulated. These are what the breast augmentation community call 'boob farts'!
Your job (as well as being patient) is to follow the post-op advice your surgeon gives you about activities and lifting (namely, avoiding them!) because... the more active you are in the early days and weeks after your breast augmentation, the longer the swelling stays.
Swelling is normal after a breast augmentation. How much you get will depend on the extent of your surgery, and how your body reacts to injury. It can take several weeks for swelling to subside and for your new breasts to take shape. Be patient, follow your surgeon's advice and you'll have the best recovery.
Thoughts from Dr. Glenn DavisSwelling is an expected 'trade-off' or temporary change after surgery. Each woman will bruise and swell to different degrees, and we know that it mainly just takes time for it to subside.
Generally, within the first 1-2 weeks after surgery the majority of the swelling is gone, and there are certain things that we'll recommend to you to help speed up that process.