I am often asked by patients what to expect regarding pain, swelling, and sensitivity after breast augmentation surgery. I assure them that these are expected and normal. The pain is caused by both the surgery itself, and from the muscle’s response to the presence of the implant. If the implant is on top of the muscle, pain is much less since the implant is not stretching the muscle. If the implant is under the muscle, the muscle must stretch, which is painful (like doing the splits). Pain pills and muscle relaxants will help reduce the pain. Ice is also helpful as it not only decreases swelling, it numbs the area.
When the snug surgical dressing is removed and replaced by a surgical bra, usually the first day post-op, there is relief from that pressure. However, most of the pain is not from the surgical dressing, but from the muscle expansion. As the muscle stretches, the pain subsides a lot. This takes about a week or two.
Swelling causes discomfort and is maximal at 36-48 hours after surgery, then gradually subsides. However, although you look fine and feel fine at about two weeks post-op, 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.
To obtain more information about breast augmentation, please call my office at (727) 547-9244 to schedule your consultation.