Pain after surgery is expected and normal. Not is the pain only due to the surgery itself, but also to the muscle’s response to the presence of the implant. If the implant is under the muscle, the muscle has to stretch, which is also painful, (like doing the splits). Pain pills (analgesics) and muscle relaxants will help reduce the pain. Ice is also helpful as it not only decreases swelling, but numbs the area.
When the snug surgical dressing is removed and replaced by a surgical bra, usually first day post-op, there is relief from that pressure. However, most of the pain is not from that, but from the muscle expansion. As the muscle stretches, the pain subsides a lot. This takes about a week or two.
If the implant is on top of the muscle, pain is much less, since the implant is not stretching the muscle at all.
Swelling causes discomfort and is maximal at 36-48 hours after surgery. It then gradually subsides. However, although you look fine and feel fine at about two weeks, the swelling continues to resolve, now much less noticeably, for about a full year, surprisingly enough.
Nipples may become quite sensitive post-op, due to irritation of the sensory nerves that supply them. It may be very uncomfortable to let the shower run on them. This will gradually resolve with time.
During that time, I recommend a gentle massage of the nipples and any other sensitive spots, to let the nerves get “accustomed” to pressure. You can do this with progressively rougher materials, as tolerated, from your soapy hand in the shower, to your hand with skin lotion but not in the shower, to no lotion, to a washcloth and then even rougher cloths. It’s like getting calluses on your fingers when you are learning to play the guitar. In time, your nipples will become accustomed to the pressure.