Post-op swelling is NORMAL!

February 12, 2008

In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten loads of nice emails and comments asking me questions about my surgery and my recovery, and I want to answer them because I remember how panicked and worried I was at times before my surgery. And after.
So, one that comes up a lot is worry about size and swelling. Before my surgery I was pretty clear to my surgeon that I did not want to be that big, so when I woke up and groggily looked down I was actually surprised by how kind of high and perky they were. As day 1 and 2 went on they continued to swell. I was then perscribed an anti-inflammatory drug called Difene by my surgeon to reduce pain and swelling. I had 260cc implants put in behind the muscle, remember, so right after surgery I was a D cup. There is more pain and swelling from behind the muscle jobs.
But swelling is completely normal, and actually, one of the nurses told me that it’s more weird if there is NO swelling. (I really need to look up ‘swelling’ in a thesaurus and come up with an alternative…)
If anyone is in their first week of recovery and is sore and swollen, honestly, stop worrying. Talk to your doctor about taking an anti- inflammatory, or maybe take an over the counter one like ibuprofen. But obviously check with a doctor/pharmacist about safety, etc. Use ice-packs to decrease swelling and bruising, or bags of frozen fruit or veg if you like. Sleep upright and keep your arms elevated on pillows or cushions, this will also help reduce swelling.
It won’t last– it can take a month to pass, and even up to 3 months, according to my PS. He told me I wouldn’t see my actual final result until SIX months after my surgery. But I’m over two months now and I’m actually happy with them already. I don’t want them to de-swell more!
Just relax and wait it out, that’s all we can do. We were cut open, had something shoved into our chest, then sewed back up– of course we will be swollen! It’s the body’s natural healing process, and when it’s over, man is it worth it…

32 Responses to “Post-op swelling is NORMAL!”

  1. kate said

    great thanks for the info 🙂
    sorry to be a pain, but at what point did they start to look unswlooen and you kinda knew that would be the general size they would end up, was it at week one or two or at a month?
    Im at week one and im really hoping they are still going to go down way more…but i dont think they will…oh well.
    Hey also if i got 245cc what cup size would you say i should be roughly?

  2. Alex said

    Hey Kate, after two- three weeks mine were almost fully gone down but it’s still happening…they’re still not as soft as they will eventually be but they’re not swollen. It takes a month or even two or three for the whole thing to happen. If you’re only in week one they will definitely drop and go down. I don’t know your build or size but my guess is you’ll be a C cup and maybe eventually even a B? I’m a 36C with 260cc. Good luck and take care xx

  3. Hayley Kim said

    Hello guys,
    ts been two weeks (today), and ive already gone down from a D cup (staright after surgery) to a C cup, and i had 300’s!! so dont panic, my left boob has started to soften and drop a bit more (bless the poor right one is still looking very hard, but ‘m told this is also normal that they change at different time)
    they will still go down, remember its not just the swelling that will change the shape, but when the skin loosens this will look more natural, and the implant will soften and also help with the look too!
    Honest they say the swelling etc can take normally 2 months but fully 6 month!!!! i’m still see the differnce every day!

  4. alex94 said

    Hi Hayley, am delighted to hear you’re doing good and that you’ve already de- swollen! I was the same after two weeks. You sound almost exactly like me, my left one also softened first, I think it’s because I’m right- handed and so use that muscle more, making the right one harder. Soon you’ll notice they settle into your natural breast shape….it’s all good from here! Best of luck with the rest of your recovery and happy bra shopping! xx

  5. Lisa said


    I had my BA 3 weeks agoa and both are still very swollen, high and hard, mixed emotions, hope Ive done the right thing!

    I hope they do drop, soften and shrink. Lisa x

  6. Kristin said

    Great Info:) Kate and Alex what was your pre op cup or bra size? I’m having deep regrets about not going larger. I was a 32 A pre op and I had 339cc Moderate Plus implants. I think I’m a 32 D or C?? Who knows:)

    I’m on almost to week 2 and I feel terrible. They are hard, high up on my chest and painful. I’m starting to freak out and think they will never drop. How do you know how swollen you are? How long did you wear a compression bra? Should I buy a band to push my breast down or should I wear or wear a soft cotton no underwire bra?

    Thanks, just emotional:)

  7. alex94 said

    Hi Kristen. I was a 34A, a small A cup. I had 260cc put in and now I’m exactly a 34C, maybe 36C in some bras. I actually regretted not going bigger. But my advice is, wait it out and enjoy what you do have. They’re still bigger and they’ll look great. Week 2 sucks but it will get better! You won’t really know how swollen you are until they start to drop and soften…I definitely wouldn’t wear anything to push them down, they need gentle support while the implant settles, not pressure. I wore a sports bra solid for a month and then started to wear other stuff. Good luck and hang in there….it’s worth it!!

  8. Kristin said

    Thanks Alex! It’s been exactly 2 weeks and the pain is starting to fade away. Unfortunately, they are shrinking everyday but your RIGHT I need to be happy that I at least have breasts now:) I do believe my right breast is starting to drop! Although they are still really stiff, how long does it take for them to soften up and move? Thanks for the info on the compression bra! I started wearing my silicon scar pads today. What did you use and did it work?

    Thanks again for all the helpful advise:)

  9. Angela said

    I am glad I found this site. It’s been 17 days since my surgery. I have and am still totally freaking out. I wanted to be a C to full C. I was a 34B and had 339 CC implanted. I started crying when I saw how big they were. Everyone told me they were swollen and they have started to de-swell a little, but I’m ready for them t o get even smaller. Mine were submuscular and the pain the first week was unbelieveable. It is not as bad now, but I still have a little of it. I wear the bra my surgeon gave me all day and at night.

    Right now they look like two hard melons on my chest. When will they start looking more nautral and not be as painful?

  10. alex94 said

    Hey Angela, almost 340 CC is a D cup, by my guess…so you WILL probably be a D cup but you shouldn’t cry or worry…they will of course drop and soften– I was over a C after my surgery and now a 34C is slightly roomy on me, depending on the bra. The best thing you can do now is be positive and make the most of your new breasts…they’re going to look fab! you’ll get so many compliments on them that you’ll be glad they look as they do! II hear you on the pain. Soon it will be completely gone I can barely remember mine…. give it another 2 weeks or so. Good luck and take care.

  11. olivia said

    Hi There,

    I’m finding the website very helpful. I had my breasts done 10days ago today. I had the implants infront of the muscle as my muscle was to high to have them underneath the muscle. I have no pain now but i am abit shocked at how big they are. I don’t know whether this is an amercian webpage so the size could vary but I was a 36b before my op, I had 380cc and that has now taken me to a 36dd! The swelling had reduced since my operation and now to look at they don’t look swollen, do you think my breasts will still reduce in size? I am going on holiday in about 7weeks time do you think they will have dropped and softened by then? At present they are still large and quite hard looking! Thank You so much for all of the help everyone has being giving. X

  12. katie eisen said

    My left side hurts…bad. Its on my nipple. Ouch.
    I am not sure what to do. I saw Dr and he said I am doing too much. That is why the pain. Its a shooting pain right through the tip of my nipple on my left side. Right is good. Its 3 weeks. Is this normal?

  13. weekonesover said

    i had mine done about a week about… i was a 34 c cup… well small c cup. and i wanted to be a d cup.. so my dr put in 350 on the right and 375 on the left silicone gummy bear implants. under the muscle, for me the worst part of the whole thing is the sleeping. i normally always slept on my stomach or side so sleeping on my back is hell. i feel like im claustraphobic in my own body and i cant seem to get a deep enough breath. but the pain is not bad at all for me. in fact i only took the vicodins fo r the first few days now im not taking anything since the vicodin made me sick. they still look like hard torpedos and i want to fast forward two weeks so that i can go out and look normal. im not so sure how to massage them either because they are so tight theres no where to push them around.

  14. amanda said

    hi im 19 days gone from op, i was a b cup before and had a 495cc in left and 405cc in right, im so swollen in my left i think due to larger implant, i still get dizzy spells and fell light headed. my right boob has never swollen as it feels soft. i would like to know what size i am they dont seem big too me i asked for a dd cup am i use to them thats why they dont seem big also they are like cones not nice at the mo , hope i like them at the mo wearing a bandage going around the top as implant on right hasnt gone in pocket is this normal . cant go out with out a bra, hope next 2 weeks i get given a support bra had sub muscular op.

  15. Angela said

    It’s been almost 3 months and all my fears are gone. I am a 34C (I was on the small side of a B). No more pain and they have dropped. Y’all were right, I really like them. Very, very happy and my Dr. did a great job.

    How long till all the feeling comes back? I am still slightly numb on the underside of my breasts?

  16. Kerrie said

    I am SO glad to read these comments. I am Day 5 post-op and have spent the morning crying my eyes out and hating myself. My boobs are like two huge alien creatures trying to burst out of my chest. They are gigantic and tight and they are not my friends. I expected to go back to work today, and there is no way. I tried to go off my pain meds and got a horrible headache. I wish I would have known all this before, and I better like the damn things when it’s all said and done.

  17. adele said

    HI sorry im day 5 in and obviously having post op panics so just to clarify is it normal for each breast to take different times de-swelling ?? I has assymetry and 1 implant bigger then the other that on initially looked more swollen but that has settled alot quicker and the other one seems to take longer is this normal ??

  18. alex94 said

    Hey Adele, yes it’s definitely normal! Just so you know mine were different sizes up to 6 weeks after then they both settled. There’s a pic on here somewhere of me a week or so after surgery and you can see one is slightly bigger, it remained swollen after the other one went down. Don’t worry, you had your surgery less than a week ago, your body is still adjusting. Relax, follow your post-op instructions and take care of yourself 🙂

  19. adele said

    Thank you so much Alex, I was thinking to myself the surgeons can only work with the raw materials they are given and when given a crappy package like mine were i guess there is only so much they can do, 10 days in now and they definately appear better i have days when i think great and others when i think the difference is huge!!

  20. Jo said

    I am considering having implants, i am a 34A a small one, and just want to b able to go out and not have to wear chicken fillets or gell filled bra! I was thinking of going up to a B or mayb a C cup, but i don’t want every1 at work noticing? if i take 3 wks off do u think the swelling will still b really bad? i always wear chicken fillets anyway so i prob look like a small B.

  21. Gemma said

    Me too. I probably am not even an A cup and am seriously conidering an operation soon. The problem is getting so much time off work and then when I go back to work , I dont want anyone to notice or comment. I just want to look normal. Any tips or ideas?
    I would like to go to at least a B, maybe a small C. I wear padded bras at the moment, so Im hoping that I already appear to be a B.

    I am so excited but scared at the same time. I have been fretting over the size of my chest for years now and I cant wait to be happy with myself. Although Im excited and I cant see that there would be any way of me not going ahead with the op, I am just worrying about people noticing the change in my bust.

    All your posts have really helped reassure me on a few things, thanks = )

  22. amanda said

    thank you for all the imfol lady. im on my day 3 and i also have the same felling that you lady went though. I think my is too big couse im only a small girl. But after read all these imfo im so ralax and will wait patienly. thank you lady for all this helpful imformations

  23. steff said

    hey guys.i had my boobs done about 7 days ago. my boobs are still swollen but im feeling great. i stoped taking pain killers the second day after surgery. my recovery was very fast ;-).i didnt need any help from other people. i could do everything on my own. i had a 34a and i got 395cc s. im a c- cup now. dont ask other people about which size you should get. ask yout doctor. everyone told me that i should get 300ccs that would be to small for my bodytyp. im 5.9 and 128 pounds. 375cc implants are on my body a c cup. on someone whos smallere it would be probably a d cup.

  24. laura irvin said

    I am 3days post op. I was a 34c and got 700cc to b a 36dd. I took all tape and bandages off today and started crying! They look awful! They look like two big full tube socks where my boobs used to be. They look nothing like boobs! They start under my collarbone and go down. I also gt a lift but my nipples are not perky at all! Help! I’m scared they r messed up!

  25. Suzanne said

    I’m with all you gals. I had a lift with augmentation plus a tummy tuck.

    I began with a small C on the left and B on the right. I made it VERY clear that I didn’t want some Pamela Anderson looking, huge, fake boobs. However, when I came out of surgery & now 5 days later, that’s exactly what I look like. I too am freaking out. I go back to work in 9 days and am trying to figure out how to hide these things. They are HIGH – about two finger widths from my collar bone, huge and tight.

    They’d better shrink substantially!!!

  26. michelle said

    hey I am 1 week post-op & today was the first day I went back to work. I was b cup to 465cc- which I belive is about a D-DD. They look great but my whole body looks bloated, especially my stomach it looks like I’m pregnant & even my hips & thighs look bigger! has anyone ever experienced this? I got my drains taken out 3 days after opp & my right breast hasn’t stopped
    bleading where the stiches are!I’m so worried I’ll get capsular hardening or an infection. my doctor said my body has to heal itself up & I need to take it slow! I still can’t drive as I’m worried this will make it worse.

  27. ron said

    hello I had my implants, 5 days ago I wish i realised how much pain it would involve i was an 32a I had 410 I wanted a DD cup but my surgeon said i would more then likely end up having a D cup, behind the musle. I have been in alot of pain and the swelling is very bad, I feel like ive been possessed im hoping all this has been worth it what a killer, Im a little concerned as ones alot bigger then the other but it could be the swelling. I am looking forward to my first check up, for piece of mind. Im a bit unsure im thinking that im going to end up bigger then a D cup as well. Im glad im unemployed at the moment as there is no way i could work like this, only time will tell.

  28. sarah said

    i am SO PLEASED to find this site!i wish id found it before i had mine done as was worried sick with the amount of pain iv been in but reading all your comments has made it sound all normal! i had my breast implants 12 days ago now i was a 32A and wanted to be a 32C iv had size 280cc implants under the muscle and am now a 32d with the swelling but no doubt going down to a c, i love them but kinda wish id gone for bigger size now my swelling is going down! my nipples are especially swollen and one breast has less swelling than the other too. Iv had shocking back n shoulder pain n stabbing pains in my chest when i get up from sleeping n weird sensations where my scars are, hate having to sleep on my back as so used to sleeping on my front, also where the drains were hurt a bit at first too! couldnt lift my arms properly cos of how the pectoral muscle which links to the top of your arm had to be stretched still cant lift my left arm above level now! so girls if your thinking of having this done make sure u prepare yourself for how much pain your going to be in beacause i didnt expect as much pain as iv had! the first few days is the worst then u start to feel more normal again, but of course its been worth it n i cant wait to go bra n dress n bikini shopping n enjoy actually having boobs! and jo u will defos need at least 2 weeks off work, if u decide to have it done good luck and take care

  29. Eli said

    Jo, I just recently got a BA and I was actually a 32A, so I think I might have been even smaller! I actually asked to be a C after and I believe I got 420cc and I still think they’re not as big as I had wanted them to be (I know a lot of the ppl on the post are saying they got them in the 300’s but I’m thinking the lower the number the bigger?). Well anyway I think I’m a B now, but it’s still noticable regardless. I think you really have to be mentally ready. It’s a really difficult and painful first week in recovery. I mean you Literally can’t do Anything with your arms. You’ll be amazed at how much each one of our tasks involves using our pecs. Of course this is assuming you go under the muscle and I think you get better results and less chance for the implant hardening. Anyway, also be sure that if you’re gonna do this, you’ll need to have someone committed to helping you after the surgery with just about EVERYTHING. I was fortunate to have my mom and sister helping me out, they were the BEST!!! But as for my super subjective opinion, from one former A cup to another. Yes, do it. You feel so much more confident and better about yourself. I’m sure my boyfriend will LOVE them (even though he said he loved them just the way they are). I’m sure it’ll get our sex life kicking even more. As for the ppl at work and friends and whatnot. I decided to get mine done in the winter b/c that’s when you have a lot of layers, it’s only when I put on fitted things that it’s really noticable, but only at the beginning, As the seasons change and you start shedding your layers I think ppl will have gotten used to it, subconsiously. So long as you don’t wear a bikini to work. lol…kidding. I hope this helped.

  30. sharon ferrary said

    had a boob job 5 days via nipple. put in 375ml and reduced an onversized aola, am panicking because nipples look really wierd . i am very swolen and in a lot of pain. do you think nipples will look normal after the swelling goes down?


  31. megan said

    oh i am so glad i found this site!! i had my surgery 6 days ago. i was a 34B and had 500cc high profile saline implants put in. i am freakin out cause my swelling is so bad i worry they will look like this forever. the pain in finally bearable but i keep getting these “charly horse” type pains in the right one. it hurts very bad and makes it super painful to even move my arm. is this normal at all?? Help!!

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