Social media frames breast augmentation as one of the breezier procedures in plastic surgery. Surgeons’ posts commonly play up the in-and-out OR stints (teeth cleanings, it would seem, take longer), the shorter-than-a-Band-Aid incisions, and the “rapid recovery” protocols aiming to transition women from the surgeon’s table to a table for two within 24 hours.

Wanting to pulse-check the post-op period, we asked five women to compare the expectations they had for their recovery to the reality of what they experienced in the days after breast augmentation surgery. These are their stories, edited for length and clarity.