Many breast augmentation patients have questions about what they’ll experience during the recovery period. Fortunately, recovery time tends to pass fairly quickly with this procedure. Most patients are able to return to work in about one week. During the first few days post-surgery, rest is extremely important. Use of the arms should also be limited during the first week, which means no driving, lifting, or reaching. The breasts will likely feel tender and swollen, but most patients report that their pain is mild to moderate. You’ll be sent home with a prescription for medication to address any pain issues. Breast massage is an important self-care technique that will improve your body’s ability to heal from the surgery—you’ll be taught this technique at your post-op appointment.
Because breast augmentation is such a safe procedure, complications are infrequent and tend to be minor. However, possible complications include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin), sensory changes of the breast or nipple, firming of the breasts due to scar tissue, infection, poor healing (often related to tobacco use), and reactions to the anesthesia. Additionally, there is the potential for leakage or rupture of the implant itself—about a 1-2% chance of rupture per year.
While breast augmentation is similar for trans and cis gender women, transgender women do have some special considerations to keep in mind. Generally, the transgender woman has a broader chest and shoulders, so a larger implant may look more natural and proportional. Additionally, transwomen tend to have slightly lower nipples, which means that the natural breast crease may need to be lowered during surgery so that the nipple is properly centered on the implant. Finally, compliance with after-care measures is particularly important for the trans patient. Transwomen typically have a larger pec muscle that causes the implant to be held higher on the chest wall, but diligent breast massage and compression will allow the implant to “drop” into a more natural position.