Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK, with over 10,000 procedures carried out in 2019 alone. Many women often hesitate to take the next step as they may be fearful of potential pain associated with the procedure. When women have their consultation at Centre for Surgery, one of the most common questions is “is breast augmentation painful?”. We can understand why women may be concerned about this. No one wants to be in severe pain after a planned cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve the appearance of the breasts and boost self-confidence.
Breast augmentation is considered a major surgery because it is an invasive procedure involving incisions being made. The requirement for surgical incisions and tissue dissection means that an anaesthetic will be required to ensure your comfort. General anaesthesia is the most common type of anaesthetic used for breast augmentation surgery. Sometimes, IV sedation combined with a local anaesthetic may be used.
Our specialist cosmetic surgeons have many years of experience and utilise advanced surgical techniques which help to minimise any pain or discomfort after breast augmentation surgery. The vast majority of patients who have had surgery with us tell us they experienced very little pain and recovered quickly, which enabled them to start enjoying their breast augmentation results straight away.
Does breast augmentation hurt?
Breast augmentation is not as painful and uncomfortable as most people believe. As with any surgical procedure, there is always a minor amount of discomfort associated with making surgical incisions. The most common incision used for breast augmentation is the inframammary incision which is positioned in the inferior breast crease and is no more than 5 cm in length on each side. The surgeon will need to dissect a breast pocket which may be positioned either on top of the chest wall muscle or beneath it. The breast tissue and fat will be gently separated from the pectoralis muscle during the surgery using cautery. This process will often result in minor inflammatory changes and associated bruising and swelling after the procedure.
Fortunately, these are well-known breast augmentation side-effects and are to be expected after any breast implant procedure. Having these symptoms means the body is actively healing after the surgery to give you the best results.
What does a breast augmentation feel like?
Every patient has a different level of tolerance to pain, and the sensations patients will feel after breast augmentation will differ between patients. Every procedure involves a series of slightly different steps. Some patients who choose to have larger breast implants may experience more tightness and potential discomfort than those who choose smaller implants. In most cases, most patients feel mild soreness after the procedure and do not describe it as painful. Some areas may feel sorer than others, but in general, most patients will localise the discomfort to the whole breast area.
A feeling of tightness in the breasts is very common after surgery. Some may describe a pulling or stretching sensation due to the tightness caused by the breast implants. The breasts themselves may feel firm to the touch and have a smooth-looking appearance from the stretched-out skin. The initial firmness will soften over time, and any tightness will improve over the first two weeks after surgery.
Some patients may describe a shooting sensation with radiating discomfort after breast augmentation, which is entirely normal. Most patients will describe shooting sensations after having breast implants. The symptoms take up to a few months to resolve and will become less intense over the first four weeks after surgery. If you find you are still having sharp shooting pains affecting your breasts for months after surgery, please discuss this with your surgeon.
How long does pain last after breast augmentation?
Most discomfort after breast augmentation is felt during the first 48 to 72 hours after the procedure. After this period, you should feel much more comfortable with less reliance on prescription painkillers.
Breast augmentation complications are rare as long as you fully follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. If you suddenly develop severe sharp pain in one or both breasts after surgery, you should contact our post-operative support team immediately. We may call you for a clinical assessment to ensure your breasts are healing as they should. At any point during your breast augmentation recovery, you develop severe and sharp pain that does not go away with rest or painkillers; this may be a sign of a potential complication.
Other symptoms to watch out for after breast augmentation include a constant burning sensation affecting the breasts, redness and inflamed skin that is getting worse and breasts that look and feel different in size and shape.
How painful is breast augmentation under the muscle?
In some types of breast augmentation, the surgeon may recommend placing breast implants underneath the chest muscle. The recovery period for this type of surgery is longer than for breast implants placed on top of the muscle. This is because the surgeon will need to make an incision in the muscle in addition to the breast tissue. Implants placed under the muscle may result in patients having a slightly more uncomfortable recovery. Choosing to place breast implants under the muscle is done to create a more natural-looking appearance. Breast implants under the muscle are most commonly recommended for patients with very little breast tissue and minimal soft tissue coverage.
When does the pain stop after breast augmentation?
Most patients will have minor discomfort after the procedure, most commonly felt during the first 3 to 5 days after the procedure. After this period, pain after breast augmentation gets significantly better, with most patients having no pain after four weeks. If you develop severe and sharp pain that is continuous, you should get in contact with us straight away for a clinical assessment to make sure you are healing correctly.
What is the best sleeping position after breast augmentation?
We recommend lying on your back with the other half of your body is mildly elevated. Sleeping on your sides or front is not recommended after surgery to prevent the risk of implant malposition. It is normal to experience minor discomfort during the first few days after surgery which may interrupt your sleep. This will settle down after a few days. If pain consistently interrupts your sleep after one week, please get in touch with us for a face-to-face clinical assessment.
Breast augmentation in London
If you are concerned about potential pain and discomfort after breast augmentation surgery, our surgeons have a wide range of techniques to minimise or even eliminate post-operative pain, including local anaesthetic pain pumps, which deliver controlled amounts of a local anaesthetic to your wounds. Please contact us to learn more about breast augmentation in London to get customised advice and recommendations from an expert surgeon. Centre for Surgery is one of the top UK cosmetic surgery clinics with years of experience carrying out all types of breast augmentation surgery with excellent outcomes.
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