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Care After Breast Implants

You had a procedure called breast augmentation (enlargement). It's also known as augmentation mammoplasty. This surgery enhances the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. Women choose breast augmentation to:

  • Enlarge breast size

  • Correct a reduction in breast size after pregnancy

  • Balance a difference in breast size

  • Reconstruct the breast after breast surgery or mastectomy.

Here’s what you need to do after this procedure:

Recovery and activity after surgery

  • Don’t raise your arms above breast level until your surgeon or healthcare provider says it’s OK. This prevents the implants from shifting.

  • Don’t lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least 5 to 7 days or as directed by your surgeon.

  • Sleep on your back. Use pillows to keep the upper part of your body raised (elevated).

  • Don’t drive until your surgeon says it’s OK.

  • Don't smoke after surgery. Smoking reduces the blood flow in the skin and nipples and increases the risk of wound healing problems. Nicotine from any source (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, patches, chewing tobacco) slows healing.

Other home care

  • If you smoke, get help to quit. Join a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.

  • Be aware that breast swelling may last for 3 to 5 weeks. Talk with your surgeon about ways to manage the swelling. The implant position and appearance may change slightly as you heal. Follow directions as given.

  • Wear the special bra or bandage you were given before discharge as directed by your surgeon. Expect to wear the bra or wrap 24 hours a day for about 3 to 4 weeks or as directed. You may remove it when you shower, starting 3 days after your surgery, or as directed.

  • Gently wash your incision site. Pat the incision dry. Don’t apply lotions, oils, or creams.

  • Don't submerge your incision in a tub bath until it's completely closed. Doing so may introduce bacteria and cause an infection. Your surgeon will give you more directions about bathing.

  • You will have a dressing over your incisions. Ask your surgeon how to care for your dressing. Your stitches may dissolve on their own. Or they may be removed at a follow-up appointment. If you have small white adhesive strips at your incision sites, don't remove them. They will come off on their own.

  • Make an appointment to have your stitches or staples removed in 7 to 10 days, if needed.

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed.


Make a follow-up appointment with your surgeon or healthcare provider, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if any of these occur:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Sudden shortness of breath or shortness of breath over time that gets worse

  • Sudden chest pain

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

  • Chills

  • Bleeding or fluid leaking through the special bra or bandage

  • Pain that is not relieved by prescribed pain medicine; increasing pain, with or without activity

  • More soreness, swelling, or bruising on 1 breast than the other

  • Redness, or breasts that feel warm to the touch

  • Any rapid swelling in 1 area or breast

Online Medical Reviewer: David Lickstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.