08 Dec 2023

Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, is a popular cosmetic procedure that enhances breast shape and position by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue for a youthful, contoured look.

The method varies based on individual breast tissues and desired results, aiming for firmer, uplifted breasts. It's favored by women over 40, new mothers, those with heavier breasts, and anyone experiencing significant weight fluctuations affecting breast skin elasticity.

This guide outlines the breast lift recovery timeline, from the first post-op day to the full healing period.

Right after Breast Lift: The First 24 Hours

Immediate Sensations Post-Surgery

Immediately after the surgical procedure, patients may experience mild to moderate discomfort, which may be the result of the surgical incisions made during the procedure. It's a normal part of the healing process and should significantly subside by the end of the first week. This temporary discomfort can be effectively managed with prescribed medication, such as mild pain medication or alternative medication to acetaminophen, provided by your surgeon. 

Proper Care for the First Night

On the first night after surgery, it's important to take care of the incision sites by keeping them clean and dry. Patients should avoid sleeping on their stomach or side, as this can put pressure on the surgical sites. Instead, sleep on your back in a slightly elevated position to minimize swelling.

First Week after Breast Lift: Critical Recovery Period

Days 2-3: Initial Swelling and Bruising

Patients can expect some swelling and bruising in the first few days following surgery as the body heals. Limit your salt intake and take short walks to improve circulation to manage this. In addition, it's important to wear a compression bra to support your breasts and minimize swelling.

Days 4-7: First Glimpse of Results

By the end of the first week, discomfort should be significantly reduced, and the initial swelling and bruising will start to subside. This is when patients often get their first glimpse of the breast lift results. However, keep in mind that the final results will not be visible until the breasts have completely healed.

Pain Management and Medications

During the first week, it's normal to experience mild to moderate pain. Your surgeon will provide you with prescriptions for pain medications to help manage this. It's essential to take these medications as directed and attend all follow-up visits to ensure no signs of infection or complications.

Weeks 2-4 after Breast Lift: Substantial Healing and Return to Activities

Reduced Swelling and Regaining Sensation

Most of the discomfort should be gone by the second week, and the incisions will begin to heal. The majority of the swelling should subside after the second week, and the sensation in the breasts will start to return.

Resuming Non-Strenuous Activities

At this stage, patients often feel ready to return to normal activities. However, avoid anything that puts stress on the chest area, such as lifting heavy objects or raising your arms above your head. Continue to wear a compression bra for support and aid in the healing process.

Weeks 5-8 after Breast Lift: Re-introducing Vigorous Activities

During weeks 5 to 8 post-surgery, patients typically feel more like themselves and are ready to reintroduce more vigorous exercise into their daily routines. However, consult with your surgeon before doing so to ensure your body is ready for this transition.

Exercise and Physical Activity Guidelines

By the fifth week, you may be able to resume light exercises that do not strain the chest area. Always wear a supportive sports bra during workouts to protect your breasts. By the eighth week, you should be able to return to your regular exercise routine, including activities that involve the chest muscles.

Ensuring Scar Care and Minimization

During this period, it's important to focus on scar care to minimize their appearance. This includes keeping the scar area clean and moisturized, protecting it from the sun, and potentially using scar-minimizing products recommended by your surgeon. 

Months 2-6 after Breast Lift: The Journey to Full Healing

The period from 2 to 6 months post-surgery is a significant phase in the breast lift recovery timeline. During this time, patients will continue to see physical and aesthetic changes as their bodies heal.

Continued Physical and Aesthetic Changes

The final results of your breast lift will become more apparent by the end of the second month. Most of the swelling will have subsided, and your breasts will settle into their new shape and position. The incision lines will also continue to fade, becoming less noticeable. By the sixth month, your breasts should be fully healed, and you can enjoy the full results of your breast lift.

Long-Term Care for Lasting Results

Long-term care is crucial for maintaining the results of your breast lift. This includes maintaining a stable weight, following a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly. It's also important to continue wearing supportive bras to maintain the position and shape of your breasts. Regular check-ups with your surgeon can also help ensure that your recovery is progressing as expected and that you are maintaining your results.

Breast Lift FAQs: Addressing Common Queries

How long before I can return to work after a breast lift?

The timeline for returning to work after a breast lift surgery varies greatly depending on the nature of your job and your personal healing times. If your work doesn't involve strenuous activity or heavy lifting, you may be able to return within 1-2 weeks after surgery. It's also important to consider the potential complications that could arise from returning to work too soon, such as blood clot formation or unnecessary stress on the healing incisions. 

Will I experience a change in breast sensation after the surgery?

Some patients may experience changes in sensation in their breasts or nipples post-surgery. This could range from increased sensitivity to numbness. However, these changes are typically temporary and should resolve over a few weeks to months as the nerves heal.

How can I best minimize the appearance of scars after breast lift?

To help minimize the appearance of scars post-surgery, it's important to keep the scar area clean and moisturized. Avoiding sun exposure and following your surgeon's recommendations for scar care products can also be beneficial. Although scars from breast lift surgery will fade over time, they won't disappear completely

What are potential complications during the breast lift recovery period?

A breast lift procedure, performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, reshapes and lifts breast tissues for firmer, contoured breasts. However, despite the surgeon's expertise and advanced techniques, potential complications can arise, including infection, poor healing, changes in breast sensation, and dissatisfaction with results. Following aftercare instructions like keeping incisions clean and dry may prevent further complications.

Can I combine a breast lift with other procedures, and how does it affect the recovery?

Combining a breast lift with other procedures, such as breast augmentation or liposuction, is possible. The impact on the recovery process will depend on the specific procedures performed. Your surgeon can provide more detailed information based on your individual situation.

Back to Blog

Work at Boston Center for Plastic Surgery

Joining the Boston Center for Plastic Surgery means becoming part of a team dedicated to enhancing the lives of our patients. We are periodically seeking talented professionals for positions in various areas of our practice. Explore current job opportunities below:

View Listings

Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (617) 402-2768.
Job Listings

Join the Team

Joining the Boston Center for Plastic Surgery means becoming part of a team dedicated to enhancing the lives of our patients. We are periodically seeking talented professionals for positions in various areas of our practice. Explore current job opportunities below:

View Job Listings
Contact Us