Breast Lift Recovery
What to Expect after Mastopexy
Patients can increase their chances of being satisfied with the results of breast lift surgery by being more informed about what to expect afterwards. Below you will find important information on breast lift surgery, including the recovery process and the scars that the surgery leaves behind.
As with any surgery, breast lift recovery takes time. To better prepare you for the recovery period, we have provided information on what to expect just after surgery, as well as the changes that will occur during the months following.
The First Two Weeks
Following breast lift surgery, patients may experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising, which typically last from two to three weeks. Prescription pain medications may make patients more comfortable during the first week of breast lift recovery. Patients are required to avoid sleeping on their stomachs for the first two weeks, and are advised to take sponge baths until the sutures are removed. Your doctor will make other suggestions to maximize comfort during the recovery period.
During breast lift recovery, patients are required to wear a surgical bra for the first few days following surgery. This bra is then replaced with a support bandage or sports bra which is to be worn at all times for several weeks. The sutures are removed from the breasts after a week or two. Patients are normally able to return to work and light activities after about a week. However, during the first week, it is important to avoid bending over or performing any strenuous activities that put unnecessary pressure on the chest. Strenuous activity too soon after surgery can slow healing and cause excess swelling and bleeding.
Because smoking reduces circulation, you should stop smoking for two to four weeks prior to your breast lift to reduce recovery time.
The First Several Months
During breast lift recovery, it may take a month or more before all swelling and bruising disappears and the final breast lift results are apparent. Patients should avoid wearing underwire bras for the first month after surgery, and instead wear a supportive bandage or bra at all times.
There tends to be some numbness in the nipples and skin after breast lift surgery; this should disappear in approximately six weeks; in some rare cases this numbness can be permanent. Some patients experience a burning or tingling sensation in the breasts during breast lift recovery as the nerves begin to return to normal function. Breast lift surgery patients should not lift anything over their head for three to four weeks following surgery, and should avoid lifting anything heavy for four to six weeks.
Breast Lift Scars
Breast lift scars will be very noticeable for the first few months, often appearing red and lumpy. The scars will continue to fade into thin white lines over the next several months, but will never go away completely. Cortisone cream and silicone sheeting may reduce the appearance of scars. When considering the long-term results of breast lift surgery, many women feel that scars are a fair trade-off for firmer, younger-looking breasts. However, in some cases, abnormal breast lift scars can form, causing undesirable results.
It is also important that women who choose to undergo breast lift surgery do not plan to have more children, as pregnancy can cause additional sagging of the breasts. Though undergoing another breast lift is a viable option, it will probably result in more noticeable scars.
The surgical technique used during your breast lift procedure will also influence the appearance of your scars. Your surgeon will explain the typical scarring associated with each technique, including the standard (anchor) breast lift surgery, doughnut mastopexy, and laser bra lift techniques; together, you can determine which is appropriate for you.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view breast lift before and after photos.
Photo credit: Dina Eliopoulos
Consult a Plastic Surgeon in Your Area
For more information about breast lift recovery and the scars it leaves behind, it is important to consult an experienced plastic surgeon. DocShop provides a directory of surgeons from across the United States who are skilled in the breast lift procedure. Visit DocShop’s online directory to find a surgeon in your area.
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