Post breast surgery – what should you expect?

Having breast surgery can be a major procedure and it will take its toll on your body. You should allow for adequate healing time following the surgery and be patient with yourself. There are some things that you should anticipate following breast surgery and we have provided some advice on how you can best prepare for your recovery process. 

You will be sore and tender post breast surgery 

In the initial few weeks following your breast surgery, your breasts will be sore and tender. Everyday activities such as walking, bending over and general movements, may cause some pain and discomfort, so it is important that you take it easy. 

You can prepare for managing this pain by asking your surgeon about pain medication. They will either prescribe pain relief or recommend an over-the-counter solution. It can take around 8-10 weeks for bruising and swelling to go away but do try to be patient as every individual’s recovery journey is different.

You will have stitches following the initial breast surgery 

It is standard procedure to have stitches following the breast surgery, they will be located where the scar is under the skin. The stitches are usually absorbable.  It is important to keep your scar fully dry in order to reduce the risk of infection. 

Post breast surgery 2

The scar is usually covered with a waterproof dressing or binder, following the initial surgery. These dressings should be kept on for 7-10 days post op and only removed by your surgeon at your follow up appointment. 

Your scar may also itch whilst it is healing, resist the urge to scratch or rub it as this may cause damage to the wound and hinder your healing process. 

You will feel tired after your breast surgery

Healing takes a lot of energy from you, especially following a major surgery. Be prepared for feeling lethargic and set aside time for some rest and recuperation. Many patients in their initial few days of recovery, will spend the time resting in bed or lounging around the sofa. This is ok and exactly what you should be doing. 

Ideally you should rest for 2-3 weeks  before you can return to work and resume everyday activities though your surgeon will advise further based on your personal circumstance. Be patient with your body’s response to healing and take the time you need to make a full recovery. 

Your results will change post breast surgery

The initial results following your breast surgery will change as you recover and you should anticipate that you won’t see the final results until 2 – 3 months following the procedure. It takes time for the swelling to reduce and for your breasts to fully heal. 

Also, if you have had a breast augmentation, it will take some time for the implants to fully settle into place. Following the initial surgery the implants may feel disportionate, uneven or misplaced, but try not to worry too much in this stage as you cannot evaluate the outcome of the surgery until you are fully healed. 

Watch out for signs of infection after your breast surgery

As with any surgery, there is a risk of an infection developing. You can avoid the risk of infection by keeping your bandages dry, avoiding smoking and avoiding drinking alcohol. 

However if an infection does develop, you should be aware of the symptoms so that it can be treated early. The symptoms of an infection following breast surgery may include: 

  • Tender feeling around the wounds.
  • Swollen area around the breasts.
  • Breasts are warm to touch. 
  • Redness around the area.
  • Fluid / discharge from the wound. 
  • Feeling unwell.
  • Raised temperature. 

Whilst some of these symptoms are to be expected following breast surgery, they can also indicate signs of an infection. If you suspect an infection, you should contact your surgeon immediately. 

Things to avoid in post breast surgery recovery

It will take some time to return to normal life activities whilst you are recovering from breast surgery. The following activities should be avoided: 


Smoking may increase the risk of tissue death, you should avoid smoking at least two months before the surgery and at least one-month post op. 


You should wait at least 2 weeks before making a short-haul flight and at least 6 weeks before flying long-haul. 

Drinking Alcohol 

Alcohol thins the blood and may hinder your recovery time. Avoid drinking alcohol for at least a week leading up to your surgery and at least 2-3 weeks post-op. 

Swimming or bathing

Increased exposure to water may increase the risk of infection. It is best to wait at least 2-3 weeks before swimming or immersing yourself into a bath. 

Lying on your stomach 

For some people it may be entirely natural to lie on your stomach, but you cannot lie this way following breast surgery as it may distort the results. Ideally, wait 3-4 weeks before laying on your stomach. 

Post breast surgery – aftercare is everything!

Breast surgery does not end on the operating table and for the best results the correct aftercare is vital. Prepare yourself for your healing journey and be patient with your recovery process.If you are concerned about your results, always contact your surgeon as they will be able to give you the best advice for your individual healing journey. 
If you’re thinking about having breast surgery, you can find out more information about the procedure by booking a consultation with Dr. Seni here.


What my patients
are saying

I regard feedback on performance as essential to my practice. It informs patients and about my practice and helps to decide whether I am the right surgeon for them. I also review every piece of feedback received to reflect on how I can continue to deliver the highest service and patient experience I can. I use the platform Doctify to independently capture and verify this feedback so you have the confidence in the authenticity of what is published.



Breast surgery as any surgery is not without risk. These risks and the relative chance of them happening for you will differ dependent on the type of surgery you have and also personal risk factors. Risks of breast surgery can be early risks related to the surgery itself or longer term risks such as cosmetic changes related to ageing.

Infection and poor wound healing are a risk in all breast procedures whether it is for breast cancer or for cosmetic reasons. Cosmetic surgery has a lower risk of this but it is increased if you are a smoker or have other medical problems which may effect healing such as diabetes. Every breast procedure will have a long list of possible risks or complications however most of them can be quite rare.

Your surgeon will be able to guide you through the individual risks for your chosen procedure explaining about likelihood of occurrence and what that could mean for you if the complication occurs.

This can be a difficult question to answer. In the cosmetic setting your surgeon will listen to you about what you wish to achieve focusing on shape and volume. They will then examine and assess your chest frame to determine what range of implants are suitable for you to compliment your body shape without risk of long term poor cosmetic results.

Implants vary by brand, surface texture, volume and projection. The choices available within each of these categories can be extensive. The right implant for you will be based on a collaborative discussion between you and your surgeon to select the right implant, volume, shape and projection to be the best fit to meet your cosmetic needs.

Same day cosmetic surgery is generally very safe. Your surgeon will discuss with you specific risks which will be related to the surgery that is to be undertaken and the individual risks that may be more specific to you. This can often be related to any other medical conditions you have or if you are a smoker.

Following surgery you are observed for 2-4 hours afterwards to ensure you have recovered from the anaesthetic and there are no immediate post operative complications. If you are then deemed fit to be discharged you will be able to leave with further post operative instructions to guide you at home and also contact details should you experience any problems at home and need further medical advice. You will be required to have a responsible adult stay with you for the first night after surgery to be eligible to be discharged on the same day of your surgery.

The purpose of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is different. Cosmetic surgery has a goal of improving the cosmetic appearance by complimenting and modifying the shape and/or size of your natural breasts. Reconstructive surgery is primarily considered for patients who may require or have a mastectomy(removal of all breast tissue). This can be for a number of reasons but primarily is for the treatment of breast cancer or risk reduction if patients have a gene defect making them much more at risk of developing breast cancer. Reconstructive surgery involves the recreating of a breast mound and shape. The cosmetic goals in reconstructive surgery can be quite different to cosmetic breast surgery due to the effects of cancer treatments and the loss of all breast tissue often preventing an optimal natural appearance to be achieved.

Both types of surgery can use implants and fat grafting but reconstructive surgery can also be undertaken by moving your own tissue from another area to recreate the breast.

If you are experiencing a breast symptom such as a new lump, skin or nipple change, nipple discharge, breast shape change, armpit lumps or breast/chest swelling in men then this clinic appointment will aim to address these and other breast symptoms. I will undertake a detailed assessment of the symptoms, screen for the need for genetic risk assessment and examine you. Based on this I will give you a clear explanation of that assessment.

I will inform you as to any diagnosis reached or the need for any imaging, which could be a breast ultrasound or mammogram to help reach that diagnosis. This may also be complimented by a tissue biopsy to confirm any diagnosis. Following any diagnosis I will discuss with you a plan of treatment or reassurance as necessary.

Breast symptoms are extremely common and can range from noticing a difference in the appearance or texture of your breasts to new lumps, nipple changes and breast pain. All breast symptoms should be reviewed by either your GP or a breast surgeon. However this does not mean to say that your symptom is likely to represent a worrying change such as cancer.

MOST breast symptoms are either the result of a normal variation in the tissues that comprise your breast or to a family of conditions that are collectively called benign breast disease. In my breast reassurance clinic I will be able to assess you and provide a diagnosis and explanation for your symptoms or if necessary, further assess the symptoms if a cancer is suspected. It is much more likely your breast symptoms are not due to breast cancer but please do be assessed for any new symptoms.

Choosing to have breast augmentation is a very personal decision. Your surgeon should guide you through this process. By doing this they should help you to decide firstly whether it is right for you and then guide you through your vision for the final look and how to achieve it. I always aim to really understand what the final desired appearance is wanted right up to the smallest detail. We discuss this based on the shape including cleavage, appearance in and out of clothes and then also volume. Following this discussion to achieve your look we may also discuss performing a small uplift as well as the use of implants.

I will always be honest about what can be expected and whether your vision of the final look is possible and responsible to achieve whilst respecting your body shape and frame. A library of my work will also be available for you to view. Beyond this it is also crucial that your surgeon discusses with you the potential risks of the surgery which should include short term and what may happen in the long term. With this entire discussion you will develop a rapport and relationship with your surgeon. You can then decide if that surgeon is the right one for you or not.

Breast augmentation surgery can be undertaken as a day case procedure. Hence you can go home the same day once you have had a period of observation after surgery. You will be fitted with a surgical bra and a binder which can be purchased by yourself or provided at the hospital. The binder provides gentle pressure from above the implants ensuring they remain in the optimal position whilst healing occurs. Please aim for about 4-6 weeks of recovery before getting back to anything strenuous such as the gym or long runs. If returning to work this can be done after 1-2 weeks but ensure you only undertake light manual labour activities.

I will ask you to wear the surgical bra as much each day and night as possible for 6 weeks to provide the best cosmetic result. Upon review during your recovery I will inform you as to when to remove the binder.



Breast Reassurance

Breast symptom assessment utilising the national standard of triple assessment (clinical hist...

Breast Cancer Care

Treatment of breast cancer including a full range of oncoplastic and breast reconstruction techniques.

Cosmetic Breast Surgery

Surgery to change the appearance of your breasts adjusting volume, shape and cleavage.