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Why am I so bloated after my cosmetic surgery procedure?

If you've recently had breast enlargement surgery and are experiencing stomach bloating, don't panic, this is a common side effect of surgery. 

March 9th, 2022 |Ask an Expert

Why am I bloated after breast enlargement surgery?  

Following any cosmetic surgery procedure, it is not uncommon to experience bloating, swelling and constipation post-op; this can be a concern for many patients, but there is often a simple reason for this.  

What causes stomach bloating after surgery? 

Abdominal bloating may feel swollen, hard, and uncomfortable and is often associated with gas or wind. Symptoms can occur following any cosmetic surgery procedure and can last for a few days or sometimes weeks as a result of a number of things: 

  • Bloating due to anaesthetic and medicationfollowing surgery 
    Bloating can occur following surgery that required an anaesthetic and is a common side effect of the antibiotics and pain relief medication that you receive. The anaesthetic and medications can affect people in different ways, but some patients report that they often struggle with bowel movement or loss of appetite. This can make the body retain water, resulting in the appearance and feeling of the stomach being bloated; this will subside after 1-2 weeks post-surgery. 

  • Bloating due to constipation following surgery  
    A combination of the anaesthetic and medications you are given during surgery, tend to slow down the gut activity. Causing patients to experience post-operative constipation, which can lead to bloating and discomfort. Patient's bowel movements should return to normal within 7-14 days, if you are not able to go to the toilet beyond this time period, you should contact your MYA clinical team for advice. 

  • Bloating due to reduced physical activity following surgery 
    Following any cosmetic surgery procedure patients are advised not to exercise for up to 6 weeks post-op and to take it easy and rest while their body heals from surgery. During recovery, patients tend to spend more time on the sofa or in bed relaxing as their movement is somewhat restricted, resulting in reduced physical activity. The body can feel sluggish, and the reduced mobility can lead to fluid retention, swelling and bloating. 
    Patients that are very active and exercise regularly may even notice a small weight gain following their procedure. After your 6 week surgeon sign off, you are allowed to introduce yourself back into physical activities at a beginner's level to gain strength and fitness without causing injury or discomfort. Light walks are recommended during recovery to encourage circulation and prevent DVT.

  • Bloating due to a change in diet following surgery 
    After surgery, patients may experience a change in diet, due to a loss of appetite or choosing easy quick meals to cook while they aren't feeling 100%. Often when you are feeling tired and a bit run down it's tempting to pick sugary foods or carbohydrates, if these comfort foods aren't eaten in moderation, they can lead to bloating. 

How long does bloating last after surgery? 

Everybody is different when it comes to recovery, so try not to worry too much and let your body heal as its own speed. Abdominal bloating following cosmetic surgery should subside after 7-10 days. If you are concerned about your symptoms post-anaesthetic, contact your MYA clinical team for advice.  

How to get rid of bloating? 

Stomach bloating will typically go away naturally within a few days or weeks but there are a few things you can do to help with the bloating and ease any discomfort it may be causing. MYA's top tips to help get rid of bloating are: 

  • Keep moving, plan a light walk with a friend or do some simple and easy tasks around the house. Make sure you don't overexert yourself, but the more you move your body the better. 

  • Maintain a healthy diet and incorporate healthy foods that are good for your gut and promote healthy bowel activity. 

  • A hot water bottle or microwavable lavender bag is great for easing any discomfort.  

  • Wear loose comfy clothing that doesn't dig into your stomach.  

  • If you are struggling with constipation, laxatives can help- we recommend always seeking advice from a pharmacist or your MYA clinical team. 

Why have I gained weight since my breast enlargement? 

If you've had a breast enlargement or augmented mastopexy procedure, you may notice a change in the weight of your breast’s post-op, especially if you've had larger implants! You may notice when you weigh yourself that your new breast implants will add extra weight to the scales, for example, a 500cc implant will roughly be the equivalent to 500 grams in each breast.  


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