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 performed with the purpose of lifting and enhancing your breasts by making them look perkier. Large breasts, due to their weight and the effects of gravity, can become saggy and begin to droop. Breast Sag or ptosis can also happen after losing a significant amount of weight or post pregnancy. 

Saggy breasts can lower your self-esteem and confidence. To give your breasts back their perkiness, you can undergo a breast lift procedure which can remove excess skin and breast tissue. The uplift 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.

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 the best results, it is highly recommended to follow these tips from Dr Scott Turner – Plastic Surgeon in Newcastle and Sydney NSW.

How to prepare for better recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

You should be preparing for your recovery before you undergo the procedure. A breast lift procedure is a complex 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 for your conditions, you will need to speak to your primary care physician to have their doses adjusted.

In order to prepare for a better recovery, you should be either a non-smoker or 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 significantly. 

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 corner of your house and have all your essentials, including ready-made meals, already arranged beforehand. 

Tips for Better Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery

After your surgery, you may expect discomfort, swelling, and bruising over the next couple of weeks. All of this will subside on its own and by the end of 6 weeks of recovery, you will be back to your normal self. 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 your surgery’s results.

2. Get a good night’s sleep every night

It is only when you sleep that your body really heals and rejuvenates 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 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 completely.

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 the bath, spa or pool until wounds are healed.

The recovery period after any surgery is usually accompanied by discomfort, pain, swelling, bruising, and so on. These are only mild side effects but they can be quite uncomfortable for you, which is why Dr Turner will prescribe you painkillers. You should take them as prescribed.

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 with 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 of 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 side effects or indications of complications

While you heal, there are certain symptoms that you should be on the lookout for as they are a sign of larger, potentially fatal, underlying pathology. Be aware of any unusual changes or pain (see below).

10. Attend Regular Follow-up with your surgeon

To ensure that you are healing properly and everything is going well, 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 and not delay.

11. Avoid sun exposure

Sun can damage your skin and exposing your incisions to the sun can result in darker, thick 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 and a great result is by eating healthy and nutritious foods. 

  • High fiber whole grains
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • 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 lack of it can result in constipation and straining on the toilet can put pressure on the wrong parts of your body. 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 a healthy mind. However, you should refrain from exercising while 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 have passed, 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 immobilization for a long time can compromise normal blood flow and result in blood clots, also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT or PE. 

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 required 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 life, 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 resultsdo 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 slight pain and discomfort. However, this pain can be easily managed and 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 siz weeks then swap to a sports bra or a bra without wire.

Further Reading on Breast Lift Surgery

Medical References on Recovery after Breast LIft Surgery

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Enquire 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 GP Referral is required to Consult with Dr Turner (under new AHPRA Regulations)
  • 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 slightly early for your in-person consultation
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • 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


  • 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 on  1300 437 758  to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

Email us for more information: