Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

Best Tips & Timeline for Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery by Dr Scott Turner Plastic Surgeon

A breast lift surgery or mastopexy is a cosmetic procedure that raises and reshapes descending breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue. This procedure includes nipple repositioning, which can help if you suffer from advanced breast ptosis where nipples point downwards. This may be eligible for a Medicare rebate.

The final results of a breast lift may take a while to appear and may be masked by swelling & bruising during the recovery period. To facilitate the healing process and ensure optimal results, follow these tips from Dr Scott Turner – a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Newcastle and Sydney NSW.

How to Prepare for Better Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

A breast lift is an extensive surgical procedure and you should be both physically and mentally ready to handle it. If you suffer from certain medical conditions or are taking medications, you will need to speak to your primary care physician to have their doses adjusted.

To prepare for the procedure, you should quit smoking six to eight weeks in advance. Smoking dehydrates your skin and impairs its ability to heal properly. This can result in complications after the surgery. Moreover, smoking can increase your chances of post-op infection.

You should ask a friend or loved one to stay with you during the early days of the recovery period. If possible, you should go shopping and prepare a recovery area at home, and have all your essentials, including ready-made meals, already arranged beforehand.

Tips for Better Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

After the surgery, you may expect discomfort, pain, swelling, and bruising over the next couple of weeks. All of these will subside after 6 weeks. To help you go through these six weeks smoothly, the following tips are recommended:

1. Drink enough water

Hydration is key for the normal functioning of your body. If you dehydrate yourself, you may risk complicating the results of the breast lift procedure.

2. Get a good night’s sleep every night

It is only when you sleep that your body heals itself. If you deprive yourself of sleep, you are also depriving your body of time to heal itself, resulting in slower healing. Sleep deprivation may complicate the healing of the incisions.

How you sleep also has an impact on the results of your procedure. To avoid putting pressure on your incisions, you should sleep on your back for the duration of the healing process. Avoid sleeping on your side or your stomach.

3. Keep your incisions dry

If your wounds get wet, you risk getting infections and other skin complications. This is why it is necessary to avoid this as much as you can. If you need to take a shower, especially during the first week, opt for a sponge bath and avoid the incisional area completely. Avoid pools until wounds are healed.

4. Take your recommended medications as instructed

The recovery period after any surgery is usually accompanied by discomfort, pain, swelling, and bruising. To address them, Dr Turner will prescribe you painkillers. You should take them as directed.

Moreover, the risk of infection after surgery is quite high for which your surgeon may prescribe you antibiotics. You should take these as instructed and avoid alcohol consumption while on these medications.

5. Do not self-medicate

Unless your surgeon tells you it is okay to take a medication to help with your symptoms during the recovery period, you shouldn’t choose your own medications. Sometimes, your surgeon may not prescribe a painkiller and ask you to take over-the-counter painkillers, which is OK. Apart from that, you should be very careful as self-medication puts you at risk of medications reacting with each other, resulting in complications.

6. Avoid blood thinners

Blood thinners like aspirin may be a part of your daily medication and you should speak to your primary care physician to adjust the dose. This is because blood thinners put you at a higher risk of bleeding during and after the breast lift procedure.

7. Take enough time off work

You should relax and allow your body to heal after the procedure. You should be relaxing and resting physically and mentally, so working from home may not be a good choice either. Stress is equally bad for your overall healing as any other physical factor.

8. Avoid Strenuous Exercise

Exercising can put pressure on your incisions which can result in separation of the incision, thick scar formation, or loss of sensation in the skin. This is why you should refrain from straining & exercising, and begin with light exercise after two to four weeks followed by a more regular exercise plan from six weeks onwards.

9. Watch for any unpleasant side effects or complications

While you heal, there are certain symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. These include the following:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Haematoma (collection of blood around the surgical site)
  • Infection (fever or pus draining from the incision sites)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Increased pain
  • Severe bruising or swelling

10. Attend Regular Follow-up with your surgeon

To ensure that you are healing properly, you should attend follow-ups with your surgeon. If you are required to have your stitches removed, you should go in on the day of your appointment.

11. Avoid sun exposure

The sun can damage your skin. In addition, exposing your incisions to the sun can result in darker, thicker scars that are more clearly visible. Keep incisions out of the sun.

What to Eat during Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

One of the best ways to ensure proper healing of your incisions is by eating healthy and nutritious foods:

  • High-fibre whole grains
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Lean protein
  • Smoothies

Smoothies are a perfect solution for a quick, healthy, and nutritious snack. It can be especially beneficial if you are going through the recovery period alone. In case you are taking care of yourself, you should arrange easy-to-cook or pre-cooked meals that just need to be heated beforehand. This will help you gain the nutrients you need and not put any pressure on your healing skin and muscles.

Just make sure you are consuming enough fibre as a lack of it can result in constipation. Straining on the toilet can put pressure on the incisions. While you ensure which foods to take, it is important to note that the following foods should be reduced as much as possible:

  • Processed foods
  • Dairy Products

Exercising after Breast Lift Surgery

Exercising is important for a healthy body and mind. However, you should refrain from exercising early in the recovery period. During the first two weeks, any form of exercise can result in complications such as wound separation or a poor result. The main reason why exercise should be avoided is that it can put excessive pressure on the incisions, and complicate the healing process.

After two to four weeks, you can begin light exercises but be careful not to do any exercise involving your chest. It is only after six weeks that you can resume your normal exercise plans and continue on your fitness journey.

An important point to mention here is that although you are supposed to be resting and not doing any exercise, you should maintain circulation in your lower limbs by moving your legs and feet every now and then. This is mainly because immobilisation for a long time can compromise normal blood flow and result in blood clots, also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Timeline for Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

Day 1 post-op

You should rest as much as possible, eat healthily, get a good night’s sleep, and drink enough water. There will be swelling, bruising, and discomfort that can be managed with prescribed medications. You should not shower or have a full bath during this period.

Day 3 post-op

Your swelling and discomfort should decrease, but you should still be resting. You can have a sponge bath at this point.

Week 1 post-op

Your swelling should almost be gone, and while you should be resting, you can go back to light work if you work a white-collar job. If your job requires a lot of physical involvement, it’s best to take a few more days off. You can have a shower now, but you should take care not to make your incisions wet.

Week 2-3 post-op

By week 3, you can start wearing a normal sports bra. If non-absorbable sutures were used, they may be removed during this period or even earlier. You can also start doing light exercises.

Week 4-6 post-op

This period marks the end of your recovery period, but that does not mean the results are going to be visible after this period. It can take up to a year for your results to be visible. At this point in your post-op period, you can resume your daily routine and go on about your exercise plans and training programs.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek help immediately and go to the emergency room. You may cause yourself significant harm by ignoring these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Redness, tenderness, or pain at the incision
  • Bleeding at the incision
  • Oozing of fluid from the incision
  • Breathing problems and lung issues
  • Sudden, pain in one leg (possible sign of DVT)

FAQs about Recovery After Breast Lift

How long does it take to recover from breast lift surgery?

It takes approximately six weeks to fully recover from a breast lift procedure but it takes longer for the results to appear. It is important to point out that recovery and results do not always happen at the same time. While the recovery period only lasts for six weeks, on average, it can take over a year for the result to appear.

How painful is breast lift recovery?

A breast lift is a surgical procedure and the recovery period after any surgery is marked by pain and discomfort. However, they can be managed by taking the prescribed medications. By the end of the first week, the feeling of discomfort disappears almost completely.

When can I wash my hair after breast lift surgery?

You can wash your hair two days to three days after the surgery. Please make sure to avoid getting your incisions wet. If you want to have a shower, you should wait for a week or two after the surgery.

How long do I wear a sports bra after a breast lift?

After your breast lift procedure, you should wear your compression garment for four to six weeks then swap to a sports bra or a bra without wire.

Medical References on Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

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Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Download a Procedure Guides to find out more about your surgery.
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure.

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral.

Making The Most of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive early for your in-person consultation.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Book a Phone Call for More Info

To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2.

Contact us or call 1300 437 758 to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

Email us for more information: [email protected]