If you are dissatisfied with your small, sagging, or asymmetrical breasts, you may be considering breast augmentation to feel more feminine and confident. You may also be wondering about what happens after the procedure. What will your breasts look like after surgery? Will you have noticeable scars afterward, and can you do anything to reduce scarring after breast augmentation?
To answer these and other questions about breast augmentation results and scars, we’ve compiled this guide about what to expect post-breast augmentation. Read on to learn more about breast augmentation, post-op care, and scar reduction.
What Should I Expect During Breast Augmentation?
During your breast augmentation surgery, your plastic surgeon will make an incision in one of the following areas to place your breast implants:
- Crease under the breast (recommended)
- Around half of the areola (optional)
Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates a space called a “breast pocket” behind the breast tissue and inserts the implant. You can customize your implants’ size, shape, material, and profile depending on your desired results. The procedure can take about 1.5 hours, and you will be able to return home the same day. You can also pair your breast augmentation with a breast lift for more contouring.
Which Incision Type Will Hide My Scars Best?
An inframammary incision in the crease under the breast usually works best to minimize scarring from your breast augmentation procedure and is the cleanest approach to placing an implant, thus it has the lowest risk of capsular contracture (scar tissue tightening) . This incision tends to heal with a very fine scar and blends into the natural crease of your breast, minimizing its appearance. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your incision options during your consultation.
How Do I Care for My Breasts After the Procedure?
Breast augmentation recovery is easier when you prepare yourself beforehand. The day you return home from your procedure, you will need someone to drive you home and be with you for at least 24 hours after general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to take medication or apply ice for discomfort.
When Can I See Results From My Breast Augmentation?
By 3 months post-op, most of your swelling has abated and your implants have settled, revealing your final results. However, you may have some residual swelling for up to 6 to 8 months. While you might feel impatient waiting for your results, it’s important to use this recovery time to rest your body and nourish it properly. Walking immediately after surgery is encouraged, but more intense exercise is usually postponed for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
How To Reduce Scarring After Breast Augmentation
While your surgeon’s skill plays a heavy role in creating well-concealed scars, every patient will scar differently due to their unique genetics. That said, you can help influence the appearance of your scars by taking a few simple actions.
Follow Your Plastic Surgeon’s Aftercare Instructions
Following your surgeon’s instructions will help you heal well and minimize your scars after the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on how to care for your incisions and how long you should wear your surgical support bra. You should contact your plastic surgeon immediately if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as a burning sensation around the site, unusual swelling, inflamed incisions, or a fever of 101 degrees or greater.
Wear Post-Op Garments As Advised
You may need to wear a surgical support bra or a Mermaid® breast strap after your procedure to support your breast implants and reduce swelling. Wearing a supportive garment will keep your breasts stable and place less stress on the incision. Once your incisions have healed, you can often switch to a soft non-underwire bra. You should continue to avoid underwire bras for at least 3 to 4 months after surgery. Some people prefer to wear soft, supportive bras or sports bras for several months longer (or permanently) for comfort and support.
Apply Scar Creams and Patches
If you are concerned about breast augmentation scars, you can use creams specially formulated for scar softening. We generally recommend a topical silicone product (applied twice a day for 3-4 months after surgery) called Biocorneum® which helps to soften and flatten scars. Scar creams should wait until 10 days to 2 weeks after breast augmentation when your incisions have healed.
Gently Massage the Incision
You can gently massage the fully healed incision to soften your breast augmentation scar. Massage increases blood flow to the area and boosts healing. Massaging can also help the body remove built-up collagen fibers at the site, leaving your scar softer and flatter.
Focus on Your Health
Even taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet, hydrating your body, and avoiding smoking and alcohol, are beneficial. All these lifestyle changes improve your healing and help minimize scarring.
It’s also essential to protect your scars from the sun; sun exposure can darken or discolor scars. Make sure to maintain a daily sunscreen routine and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and cover your scars with clothing or a bikini if you will be out in the sun.
Stick To Low-Intensity Workouts
You might be impatient to resume your usual high-intensity workout routine, but you should take it easy during recovery. High-intensity workouts and heavy lifting may strain your breast augmentation incisions and interfere with healing.
Earlier after surgery, it is best to limit your exercise to gentle walking or low-intensity lower-body workouts. If you have implants placed under the chest muscles (dual plane) you should permanently limit chest building exercise like pushups to avoid the implants settling too far to the sides because of the muscle’s forces. You can increase the intensity of your activities after your incisions have completely healed. Read our previous blog post for more information on breast augmentation and exercise.
Your plastic surgeon will work with you to make sure you achieve the best results possible and minimize scarring from your breast augmentation. Our Scottsdale Center for Plastic Surgery team has helped many women achieve amazing results, as seen in our breast augmentation patients’ before and after photos. If you think a breast augmentation is right for you, request a consultation or call us at (480) 423-1973 to schedule an appointment.