Woman in black suit and low-cut white top pulls her glasses down and smiles at the camera.

The arrival of warmer months—and swimsuits—often prompts questions about breast augmentation in St. Louis. While many questions concern implant types and size, just as many are about the surgery itself and recovery. Here are some of the most common questions we get from patients about this popular procedure.

My new implants feel really high on my chest. Is this normal? How long do breast implants stay high? 

The most common reason for breast implants appearing to be “too high” shortly after a breast augmentation surgery is swelling. Different parts of the breast are more prone to swelling than other areas. The upper poles of the breasts will usually swell more than the lower poles of the breasts, giving the overly full appearance to the new post-augmentation breasts. Also, the tissue of the lower poles of the breasts is usually firmer and more glandular than the upper breast and take longer to stretch and adjust to the implant size.

As the swelling settles and the tissues relax and remodel, the upper poles of the breasts decrease in fullness and the lower poles fill out. This is often termed  “letting the implants drop,” but in reality, it more the tissues adjusting to let the implants sit in the optimal place for the best aesthetic result. The process of letting the implants drop takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for most patients. You can see how the end results appear by looking at our patients’ breast augmentation before-and-after photos.

I just had surgery and I feel gross! How long after breast augmentation can I take a shower?

Every plastic surgeon has their own, unique post-operative care routine, so there is a great deal of variability to this answer. In my practice, if the patient has a pain pump, the patient can start showering 72 hours after their surgery since the pain pump cannot get wet. Once the pain pump has been discontinued, the patient is free to shower daily.

If the patient does not have a pain pump, then the patient may start showering 48 hours after surgery.

How long after plastic surgery can you swim or bathe?

Taking baths, swimming after breast augmentation, or using hot tubs does require a longer time before the patient can proceed. For most patients, they can start these activities at 3 weeks or so after their procedure. The delay is because the healing tissues of the incision need longer before they can be soaked in water for any length of time. So most patients can plan to return to swimming or taking baths around 3 weeks after their breast augmentation.

How long do you have to wear a compression bra after surgery?

Because every patient is different and every plastic surgeon has their own post-operative recovery routine, there is no one correct answer for this question. Most patients will be asked to wear a post-op bra that we provide for the first 5 to 7 days after their breast augmentation surgery. Under most articles of clothing, these bras cannot be seen and give the extra support needed right after surgery. After the first week, most breast augmentation patients can begin to wear a sport bra with cups.

At 3 weeks after surgery, most of our patients are allowed to start wearing regular bras during the day and can go without a bra when sleeping if they desire to do so. Because your breasts are larger and will need more support after surgery, most plastic surgeons encourage their breast augmentation patients to limit the amount of time during the day spent braless.

I had surgery yesterday, and I feel a “gurgling” sound in my breasts. Do I need to be seen?

During breast augmentation surgery, the plastic surgeon creates a “pocket” under the breast or under the muscle that lays beneath the breast for the breast implant. To minimize the risks of infection, the plastic surgeon will bathe the pocket with antibiotic solution before placing the implant into the pocket. Some of this antibiotic fluid will remain in the pocket after the incision is closed and will be absorbed slowly over the next few days. During the time it takes for the fluid to be absorbed, patients will often hear gurgling sounds as they shift and move. This will go away as the fluid disappears. So the sensation of gurgling in the breast pocket shortly after breast augmentation is not unusual and does not require an urgent visit to your plastic surgeon’s office. Of course, if you have any questions after your surgery, please call.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeons in the St. Louis area, use our online form to request a consultation or call us at (636) 530-6161 to schedule an appointment.

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