When Does Tightness Go Away After Breast Augmentation?

It’s normal to feel some tightness after breast augmentation, but how long should this feeling last? When should you schedule an evaluation? Learn more here.

February 12, 2022

4 min read


Breast augmentation surgery remains one of America’s most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. In 2018 alone, over 313,000 US patients underwent breast augmentation. 

If you are unhappy with your breasts’ shape, size, or volume, breast augmentation may be the right solution for you. With the latest technology, it’s less invasive than ever and leaves you with authentic-looking and feeling breasts. However, the results aren’t immediate.

After breast augmentation, you will need to follow a recovery regimen. One of the symptoms almost every patient experiences is a tightness around the newly-augmented breasts. 

Why does this occur? How long can you expect it to last, and how can you ensure that you have a smooth recovery? Read on to find out everything you need to know about breast augmentation recovery and tightness.

Why Does the Chest Feel Tight After Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Tightness in the chest is one of the most common side effects patients experience after breast augmentation. While the feeling may be uncomfortable and even cause alarm, the explanation is quite simple.

The muscle, tissue, and skin around your breasts all need time to adjust to the new implants. They all must stretch to accommodate your new breast size and, with time, the sensation of tightness will dissipate.

There are a few other common side effects you may experience, as well. For example, you may notice swelling around the breasts that tends to subside after about three weeks. (Bear in mind that some patients experience a small amount of swelling for up to three months.)

It is also worth noting that for up to three months after your surgery, you may not feel satisfied with the shape of your breasts. At first, your breasts may appear to be too high on your chest. With time, your breasts will lower and settle into a natural-looking shape and position. We call that the “drop and fluff” process that happens after breast implant surgery.

It’s normal to feel a bit anxious about your breast implants in the weeks and months after your surgery. Keep in mind that 98% of patients are happy with their breast implants once they’ve healed and settled into place.

How Long Will This Tightness Last?

How long it takes to feel relief from tightness after breast augmentation can vary based on several factors. The most significant factor is your new cup size compared to your original cup size. For example, if you have always been an A cup and want to increase to a B cup, you may recover faster than someone going from an A cup to a C cup. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you as you choose your breast implant size.

That said, we tend to predict that the sensation of tightness will subside after 3-4 weeks. For most patients, the feeling dissipates a bit each day, making it less uncomfortable and easier to manage as time goes on.

When should you worry about tightness after breast augmentation? If one breast seems far more swollen than the other, you have developed a fever, or one or both breasts feel hot to the touch, get in touch with your plastic surgeon. These are not typical symptoms of breast augmentation recovery and should be addressed.

How Can You Improve Your Recovery Experience?

The way you approach aftercare can have a substantial impact on your recovery experience. By taking the proper steps, you can minimize undue side effects and allow the healing process to occur in a timely manner. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can recover from breast augmentation surgery with ease. You’ll also want to read our do’s and don’ts after breast augmentation surgery.

Wear the Proper Post-Surgery Garments

For at least two weeks, you’ll want to wear a surgical bra that covers and protects the breasts without constricting them. After that, you can switch to sports bras and other soft bras but stay away from underwire for at least two months. The underwire puts pressure on the sensitive, sutured skin, causing unnecessary pain and irritation.

Avoid Strenuous Movements

When your chest feels tight, it’s natural to want to stretch it out. However, keep in mind that the tightness stems from the skin, tissue, and muscle feeling over-stretched, as it is. Avoid strenuous movements such as exercise and lifting heavy objects for several weeks.

Some patients find that moderate exercise that impacts the arms and legs becomes doable after about 3-4 weeks. Talk to your plastic surgeon before you get back to exercising (or strenuous labor of any kind).

Get Plenty of Rest and Stay Hydrated

Your body is prepared to recover from surgery as long as it’s given the right tools. In this case, resting and drinking plenty of hydrating fluids will go a long way. Remember, you should lay on your back (and not sleep on your stomach or sides) as much as possible during recovery to avoid displacing or flattening your implants. 

Follow Any Specific Aftercare Instructions 

Every breast augmentation surgery is different. Every patient is different. That’s why our team at the Advanced Institute of Plastic Surgery strives to provide case-specific aftercare instructions for each of our patients.

If you have any questions about your aftercare instructions or about the side effects you’re experiencing, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our dedication to your satisfaction doesn’t end when your surgery is complete!

Recover Smoothly and Lessen Chest Tightness After Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular procedures in the US, with a high patient satisfaction rate. However, that doesn’t mean that patients experience zero side effects. Chest tightness is one of the most common side effects after breast augmentation surgery, but with care and patience, it will subside.

Are you ready to learn more about how our surgeons can help you achieve the confidence you deserve? Fill out this form to request a consultation, and we’ll be in touch right away.

Share this

Discover how plastic surgery can change your life

Schedule an appointment with our board certified plastic surgeons

Request a Consultation

Related Articles