Recovery after Breast Implant Removal

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: February 16, 2024

Timeline and Recommendations for Breast Implant Removal Recovery

The decision to remove breast implants can be as personal and significant as the decision to have them inserted. Whether it’s due to medical reasons, discomfort, or a simple change of heart, the removal can be a complex procedure for many women. Knowing what to expect during the recovery after breast implant removal can make the process less intimidating.

In this blog, Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim will discuss the timeline for recovery after breast implant removal surgery, recommendations for a safe recovery, and potential complications that could occur during recovery.

Download Dr Lim’s 2024 Breast Surgery Guide

Breast Surgery Guide

What to Expect After the Breast Implant Removal Surgery

The initial recovery period after breast implant removal surgery is characterised by a certain degree of discomfort and swelling. This is a typical reaction as your body adapts to the changes it has undergone. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage this discomfort and you may also be given antibiotics to prevent infection.

The surgical area will be bandaged, and you will be fitted with a surgical bra to provide support during the healing process. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had, drains may be placed to help remove any fluid that accumulates after surgery. These are usually removed within a week or two.

It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions following your surgery. You may feel relief, regret, or even a sense of loss. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings, and don’t hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional if needed.

Timeline for Recovery after Breast Implant Removal Surgery

The timeline for recovery following breast implant removal surgery is quite variable and depends on a range of factors such as the individual’s overall health, the specific nature of the surgery performed, and how the body naturally heals. Despite these variations, there are common stages in the recovery process that patients can generally anticipate.

In the immediate days following the surgery, patients will need to focus primarily on rest and limiting their activities. This period is crucial for the initial healing process. It’s highly advisable to have someone available for assistance during these early days, as your ability to move around will be considerably restricted. Activities that involve lifting, stretching, or straining should be avoided to prevent any strain on the surgical site.

Approximately a week after the surgery, many individuals find they can return to non-strenuous types of work and resume some of their daily routines. However, it’s important to continue avoiding any heavy lifting or vigorous physical activities. The body is still in a delicate state of recovery, and care must be taken not to disrupt the healing process.

As you reach the 2 to 4-week mark post-surgery, you’ll likely observe a significant reduction in swelling and bruising. The surgical incisions should be healing and becoming less noticeable. This period often marks a turning point in the recovery process, where patients can start to reintroduce light forms of exercise into their daily regimen. However, it’s important to do this gradually and under the guidance of your plastic surgeon to ensure you don’t overexert yourself.

Complete recovery, which includes getting back to strenuous activities and more intense forms of exercise, typically occurs between 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. By this time, most patients have healed sufficiently to resume their normal level of physical activity. However, it’s important to remember that each individual’s recovery journey is unique, and these timelines can vary. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are essential to ensure that your recovery is progressing as expected and to get personalised advice on resuming activities.

Breast Lift Without Implants Patient 4 — Angle View
Breast Lift Without Implants Patient 4 — Angle View

Dr Jake Lim’s Recommendations for a Safe Recovery after Breast Implant Removal

A safe recovery from breast implant removal surgery is facilitated by following the post-operative care instructions. Here are Dr Lim’s recommendations to have a smooth recovery period:

  1. Follow Post-Operative Instructions Carefully

Adhering to the post-operative care instructions provided by Dr Lim is crucial. This includes guidelines on wound care, medications to take or avoid, and when to return for follow-up appointments. These instructions are tailored to your specific situation and are designed to minimise complications and promote healing.

  • Rest and Allow Your Body to Heal

The importance of rest in the initial stages of recovery cannot be overstated. Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and any form of exercise that could strain your body or disrupt the healing process. Ensure you get plenty of sleep, as this is when your body does most of its healing.

  • Monitor for Any Signs of Complication

Keep an eye out for any signs of infection or complications, such as increased redness, swelling, unusual discharge, or fever. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your medical team or doctor immediately.

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can aid in your recovery. Foods high in protein, for example, can help in tissue repair and healing. Staying hydrated is also essential for maintaining healthy circulation and promoting the healing process.

  • Attend All Follow-Up Appointments

Post-operative follow-up appointments are a critical part of your recovery. They allow your plastic surgeon to monitor your healing progress, address any concerns, and advise when it’s safe to resume certain activities. Do not skip these appointments, even if you feel you are healing well.

Potential Complications that Could Occur During Recovery and What to Do about Them

Recovery after breast implant removal surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries the risk of potential complications. Being aware of these possible issues and knowing how to identify and respond to them is important for a safe and successful recovery. Here are some potential complications to be mindful of:

  • Infection: One of the more common complications following any surgery is infection. Signs of an infection include increased redness, swelling, warmth, or pain around the surgical site, sometimes accompanied by fever or foul-smelling discharge. If you suspect an infection, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately. Infections typically require prompt treatment with antibiotics
  • Bleeding and Hematoma: Some bleeding is normal after surgery, but excessive bleeding can lead to a haematoma, a collection of blood outside of blood vessels. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and a firm, bruised area. If you notice any signs of excessive bleeding or a haematoma, seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Seroma Formation: A seroma is a collection of fluid that builds up under the skin. It can cause swelling, pain, and sometimes infection. If you notice a fluid-filled swelling that seems to be growing, contact your plastic surgeon. Small seromas often resolve on their own, but larger ones may need to be drained
  • Changes in Sensation: It’s common to experience changes in sensation, including numbness or sensitivity around the incision sites. While these changes are often temporary, they can sometimes be prolonged
  • Scarring: Scarring is an inevitable part of surgery. However, in some cases, scars may become thick, wide, or particularly noticeable. If you’re concerned about scarring, discuss this with your plastic surgeon, as there are treatments that can help minimise scar appearance
  • Asymmetry or Changes in Breast Appearance: After implant removal, some patients may notice changes in the shape, size, or symmetry of their breasts. While some changes are normal, significant asymmetry or unexpected changes in breast appearance should be discussed with your plastic surgeon

How to Tell if Something Is Wrong

Knowing your body and how it’s healing is important. Any significant changes or worsening symptoms should be taken seriously. If you experience intense pain, fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or any other severe or unexpected symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

What to Do If you suspect a complication

  • Contact your plastic surgeon or healthcare provider right away. Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment
  • Describe your symptoms in detail, including when they started, how they’ve progressed, and any other relevant information
  • Follow the advice of your healthcare provider, which may include coming in for an examination, taking prescribed medications, or in some cases, seeking emergency care

Keep in mind that it’s always better to be cautious and get symptoms checked out, rather than waiting and potentially allowing a complication to worsen. Your health and safety should always be the top priority.

FAQs about Recovery after Breast Implant Removal Surgery

FAQs

How long will it take for me to fully recover from breast implant removal surgery?

  • The full recovery time can vary from person to person, but generally, most patients can expect to recover within 6 to 8 weeks. It’s important to note that while you may feel better and be able to return to most activities within this timeframe, complete internal healing may take a bit longer.

Will I need to wear a special bra after my surgery, and for how long?

  • Yes, Dr Jake Lim will recommend wearing a compression garment or a special post-surgical bra. This helps to reduce swelling and supports the breast tissue as it heals. The length of time you’ll need to wear it can vary, but it’s usually for several weeks. Dr Lim will provide specific advice based on your individual case.

Can I shower normally after breast implant removal surgery?

  • You’ll likely be advised to avoid showering for the first few days post-surgery until your initial follow-up appointment. Once Dr Lim gives you the go-ahead, you can start showering again, but you may need to avoid direct water pressure on the incisions and be gentle when drying the area. Always follow the specific instructions given by your plastic surgeon.

When can I start driving again after the surgery?

  • The ability to drive depends on several factors, including the type of anaesthesia used, your overall physical condition, and how you’re managing pain. Most patients are advised to wait until they are no longer taking prescription pain medication and can comfortably wear a seatbelt and perform all driving tasks without discomfort. This is usually within a few weeks after surgery.

Is it normal to feel emotional or have mood swings after the surgery?

  • Yes, it’s quite common to experience a range of emotions after surgery, including mood swings. This can be due to a combination of factors such as the physical stress of surgery, effects of anaesthesia, pain medication, and the emotional impact of the change in your body. If you find these feelings overwhelming or they persist, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider or consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

Further Reading about Breast Implant Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Recovery after Breast Implant Removal

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.