If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you got here by Googling something along the lines of “is it normal after breast augmentation?” If that’s you, rest assured that you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place.
Or, maybe you’re still considering an augmentation and want to know exactly what to expect before, during, and after the surgery. Good for you. Research is the first step to success.
Breast augmentation is a widely popular cosmetic procedure that aims to enhance the appearance of breasts, typically by enlarging and lifting them. As with any surgery, the road to recovery can be full of…unique…symptoms and sensations. Knowing what’s normal and what isn’t can be tricky for those who haven’t been down that road before. After all, everything feels a little abnormal at that point, right?
Typical symptoms like minor pain, swelling, and bruising are expected, but what about those more bizarre side effects that no one talks about?
Well, we’re here to talk about it. In this article, we’ll unpack what’s normal and what might be worth looking into.
What’s normal: Tightness in the chest area is completely normal during the first 1-2 weeks following the operation. During this time, your body is healing and getting used to the changes in your breasts. This feeling will likely be most intense during days 3-5 post-op but may linger for as long as a month afterward.
What’s not: If the tightness becomes unbearable or lasts longer than a month, it’s a good idea to contact your surgeon.
What’s normal: While some people experience nausea after receiving anesthesia, this symptom shouldn’t last longer than a day or two at most.
What’s not: Severe nausea and vomiting, while extremely rare, maybe a sign of infection or an allergic reaction. It could also be due to a combination of anesthesia and pain medication, but if you find yourself experiencing severe nausea, contact your surgeon.
Constipation and Bloating
What’s normal: These are some of those symptoms you don’t usually hear about when chatting with girlfriends or your hairdresser. However, constipation and bloating are completely normal and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks post-op. It’s common for your diet and activity level to change drastically during the initial recovery period, which can exacerbate these symptoms. So can pain medications, which can slow down your intestines. Try taking a short, light walk, staying hydrated, and taking some over-the-counter constipation medication for relief.
What’s not: Constipation and excessive bloating that lasts longer than a few weeks. Talk to your surgeon if gut problems persist.
What’s normal: You know that sloshing noise you sometimes hear when you drink a bunch of water right before working out? Well, you might hear something similar coming from your breasts. Is it weird? Yep. Is it normal? Absolutely. This can happen as the silicone or saline settles into place and should only last a few weeks.
What’s not: Weird noises that last longer than a few weeks. Your doctor may need to take an ultrasound to determine the cause.
Uneven Nipples and Abnormal-Looking Breasts
What’s normal: Speaking of weird, don’t worry if your first glance in the mirror post-op reveals breasts that seem a little confused. You’ll probably find that they’re perched up a bit higher than you’d like or that your nipples are uneven. It can take some time for breasts to fall into place after an augmentation, but don’t worry; they typically settle around three months into recovery.
What’s not: If after three months you still feel that your breasts are looking abnormal, consult your surgeon. They may need a bit more time to heal, but if things still aren’t looking right six months to a year after the surgery, your surgeon might recommend a breast augmentation revision.
Shooting Sensation in Nipples
What’s normal: As your muscle tissue heals, you’ll probably feel some pain in the chest area. This can range from a dull ache to sharp, shooting pain in the nipples and is likely to come and go for up to six months after your surgery.
What’s not: Continuous and extreme pain that disrupts sleep and keeps you from carrying out everyday activities could be a sign of infection, so be sure to let your surgeon know if you feel that the pain is unbearable or lasts longer than six months.
What’s normal: While your body recovers, it’s typical to experience mood changes and, sometimes, a bit of the blues. Healing is a process that involves your whole body, emotions included. So, it’s perfectly normal to experience mild mood swings or depression, but this should subside after a few weeks as you return to your daily routine and start feeling more like yourself.
What’s not: Moderate to severe depression or mood swings that feel uncontrollable may be a sign that something is off, so it’s vital to seek professional help right away.
Other Uncommon Side-Effects to Watch For
Though it’s extremely rare, some patients may experience other unusual symptoms following a breast augmentation. Contact your surgeon right away if you notice any of the following:
- Redness or discharge at the incision site
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever or chills
- Discoloration or change in skin’s texture
- Unusual lumps or bumps
Here at Lexington Plastic Surgery, we remind our breast augmentation in Lexington patients that the best thing you can do to aid your body in healing properly is to follow all pre and post-op instructions carefully and to keep in touch with your plastic surgeon.
Remember to take it easy and give your body adequate time to recover safely. Stay hydrated, and don’t be afraid to use over-the-counter pain relievers when needed. Finally, discuss any symptoms you might be experiencing during your follow-up appointments so that your surgeon can give you the reassurance you need.