Recovery Series: The Info You Need About Breast Lift Recovery

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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By Sacha Obaid

Breast lift recovery usually takes one to two weeks, depending on your general health and whether you decide to combine any procedures with your breast lift. Recovery may also take longer or have different results, depending on the kind of breast lift you have.

On the Day of Surgery

When you have a breast lift, you’ll be under a general anesthetic during the procedure. After you wake up, you’ll feel groggy from the anesthetic and have some pain and tenderness in your breasts and the surrounding area.

Once you’re up and awake after surgery, you’ll notice the immediate change in your breasts. Their size and shape will change more over the next few months, but you’ll be able to see some results immediately!

Most women can go home on the same day as their procedures.

One Week Later

One week after your procedure you’ll see your nurse for a follow-up. The nurse will check your incisions to make sure they’re healing properly and remove bandages and stitches if you have them. If you have a breast lift only, there may be no stitches or bandages to remove, but these steps will be necessary if you have had implants placed along with your breast lift.

The nurse will also discuss scar cream and when to start applying it.

After five days—providing their scars are healing well—most people can return to work, as long as their job doesn’t involve any strenuous activities.

The First Month After Surgery

For the two weeks of recovery, you’ll likely feel some discomfort and tenderness in your breast area. There will be swelling and bruising too, which will start to reduce after two to three weeks. Your surgeon will prescribe some pain medication for you to take during the first few days of your recovery, but many women find that they only need pain relief for two or three days.

Many women experience unusual sensations in their breasts after a breast lift, so don’t be alarmed if you do too! These are often tingling or burning sensations, and they occur because the nerves in the breasts are recovering from surgery too. You may also have some numbness in the skin over your breasts and in the nipple areas. As the nerves return to normal, these unusual sensations will gradually cease, usually over the course of four to six weeks. It’s very rare for loss of sensation to be permanent.

During your recovery, your surgeon will provide you with instructions to help you take care of yourself. Limiting your activity level in the first few weeks of your recovery will be one of them. It’s very important for several reasons:

  1. High-impact exercise can put stress on your incisions and your chest area in general.
  2. Strenuous activity often leads to an increase in swelling.

Here are some more common instructions:

Your Diet and Health

  • You may be asked to avoid bathing or showering for the first two or three days. This is to ensure that your incisions remain dry.
  • Following a low-sodium diet can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoid sun exposure during the first few months. Your incisions should be protected from the sun until the scars are fully healed because sun exposure can cause irritation and discoloration of scars.

Your Activity Level

  • Avoid strenuous tasks and bending over for the first week. In fact, avoid lifting anything over 10 lbs. for 6 weeks, as this strains your chest muscles.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach for the first two weeks, so you’re not putting any pressure on your breasts.
  • Sexual activity should be avoided for the first week or two.
  • Avoid high-impact exercises for six to eight weeks.

Your Dress

  • If you’re given a surgical bra to wear, use it exactly as instructed. This garment provides essential support and protection for your breasts in the first few days of your recovery.
  • After the first few days you’ll wear a sports bar or support bandage to support your breasts as they continue healing. This garment may need to be worn 24/7 for several weeks, and it’s important to wear it as instructed to ensure your recovery proceeds as smoothly as possible.

One thing that surprises many women during breast lift recovery is feeling emotionally vulnerable. This is a natural emotion after surgery, especially when it involves changing the way your body looks. If you know anyone who’s had a breast lift or any other kind of plastic surgery, talking to them about it may help. And a support system of friends or family you can rely on for help around the house, as work coverage, and with the kids is a great thing to have in the first few weeks after your surgery.

Six Weeks Later

By six weeks after surgery, most swelling is gone, and your incision scars are changing too. You can likely return to wearing underwire bras if you choose.

One thing you may notice is that as the swelling goes down, your bra size is smaller than it was before your procedure. This is because your breasts are firmer and rounder as a result of the excess tissue being removed.

As well as returning to work, most people can also return to a full level of normal activity by four to six weeks. This includes high-impact exercise and any other physical activities you enjoy.

Six Months to a Year After Surgery

Breast lift scars change dramatically in the first six months or so after surgery. Initially, they will be very noticeable: pink or red in color and puffy or lumpy in appearance. Over the next few months they will gradually fade in color, first to light pink and eventually to white. The puffy or lumpy appearance will also recede over time. Eventually, your breast lift scars will look like thin white lines and will be much less noticeable.

Breast lift scars almost always remain slightly visible, even though they fade considerably. This procedure has a high satisfaction rate, and most women consider the results and the confidence that come with it worth the minimal scarring.

If you think a breast lift is just what you need, or you’d like your questions answered, call 877-537-7220 to set up a convenient consultation with North Texas Plastic Surgery!

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