Breast enhancement is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in the United States. It’s in high demand, there are many surgeons who are qualified to perform this “basic” procedure, and the results are generally very rewarding, albeit not always perfect and not without the potential for complications. Many patients ask us what it feels like immediately after a breast augmentation at Westlake Plastic Surgery. The following is the “short list” of what you will experience after a breast enhancement:
- Pain. There is always some pain associated with the use of a breast implant. The implant stretches the skin and the muscle which you will feel, and your surgeon has to create a “pocket” for the implant which requires tissue dissection. The pain, however, can often be managed with just oral pain medications for the few days after surgery. Some surgeons offer a “pain pump” that can be quite helpful. It’s a device that soaks the implant area with local anesthesia and lasts for about two days.
- Gurgling sounds. This is weird, but no cause for worry. It resolves itself after 24 hours as the body absorbs the air beneath the skin.
- “Nipples on fire.” The implant stretches the nerve endings of the nipple, and stretches the skin of the nipple areola complex so that it rubs against the dressings and bra. This burning sensation generally passes in 1-3 days. Use skin cream for comfort.
- Swelling. All procedures cause swelling and a breast augmentation is no different. The swelling will take several weeks to subside.
- High implants. Your breasts don’t look perfect “right out of the box.” Immediately after a breast augmentation, the implants sit high on the ribs and take about six weeks to settle and assume a more natural shape. Sometimes a breast band or breast massages can speed up this process. They feel like they are under your chin but they will find their new home in the perfect location soon enough.
- Chest heaviness. This is caused by the implant weight and the generalized swelling to the chest area. It will take about a week for your back to adjust to the new weight on your chest.
- Shiny breast skin. The skin appears shiny because the implant and the swelling tissues stretch the skin. This improves in about a week’s time.
- Itchiness. This is very common, and is an indication that you are healing well. It only lasts two or three days and the intensity varies among patients.
- Breasts feel foreign. They feel this way because they are! An implant is essentially a foreign object placed beneath your breast, but you will shortly get very used to it. One day, you won’t be able to imagine what you had before your procedure!
- Squeaking sounds. This is uncommon, but it does happen. This occurs when the implant shell rubs up against the tissues. It’s actually more commonly noted when flying soon after a breast augmentation, but it goes away quickly.
The good news is that all the issues noted above are temporary, and after two weeks, most patients are getting back to their normal routines, which, in this case, means loving your new assets!