What to Expect After a Breast Lift: Recovery Tips & More

The best remedy for low-hanging, saggy breasts: a breast lift. If you are researching the final details before scheduling your surgery, we feel it’s important that you know what to expect after a breast lift. At VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center we believe that a happy patient is a well-informed patient, which is why we created this breast lift recovery guide to help you prepare for the hours, days and weeks following the procedure.

Women who have lost fullness and roundness in their breasts are often frustrated. Although we all know that losing some firmness in that area is completely natural as we age, it can go beyond our comfort zone after breastfeeding or losing weight.  If you are among one of the thousands of women frustrated with their less-than-stellar cleavage, a breast lift can take you back to the golden age of your boobs. Fast forward to the day after the surgery, what now? How long will you need to make a full recovery? Will you be in pain? Are breast lift scars too obvious?

Breast Lift Recovery Stages

To help you understand what goes on after this cosmetic procedure, we organized the breast lift recovery timeline in 3 simple stages. As with any surgery, expect your recovery to take some time. You’ll have to adjust certain things from your routine, take some time off and enlist help.

Stage 1: One week post-breast lift. The moment your VIDA surgeon is done with your stitches and you are waiting on the effects of the anesthesia to wear off, you are officially at the beginning of recovering from a breast lift. Within a few weeks, you’ll be ready to show off your rejuvenated and perky breasts. Yay! How do you know everything is going to plan? Well, as our doctors point out, you may notice that your breasts are sore, numb and swollen immediately after the procedure. During breast lift surgery the surgeon removes excess skin and remolds the underlying tissue, positioning the breast in a higher position.

Your body will react to that by swelling and bruising. 48 hours after surgery you might notice that the swelling increases and your bruises are more evident. This is completely normal though, but you can only expect that things will get better from this point. In order to help you manage pain, discomfort, and tenderness, you’ll be required to wear a surgical bra for a couple of days and get prescription medication. One more note on the surgical bra: it’s not exactly Victoria’s Secret but wearing it does a lot for recovering!

During this first week, you need to get help from a friend or a relative to do regular chores and activities, such as showering or cooking. Most patients find it easier to take sponge baths to avoid getting water in their sutures, which can lead to infection and itching. You also need to refrain from sleeping on your stomach, to avoid putting any pressure on your breasts. This is tricky for some, but during this first week, you are not allowed to raise your arms fully above your head. Again, ask for help! (Extra thanks to those friends who help you with your hair!) After going home, and during the first week you should try and get as much r&r as possible, with the exception of short walks throughout the day as instructed by your surgeon.

Stage 2: Two to three weeks post-breast lift. According to our VIDA surgeons, this is their patients’ favorite period! Stage 2 is when you will go back to feeling like yourself and you’ll start to really see the incredible results from your breast lift. For patients who get a breast lift and implants, between weeks 2 and 3 is when the breast implants start to settle and position naturally. Swelling decreases dramatically as do bruises. As long as you avoid strenuous movements, vigorous activities and lifting heavy objects, you’ll be cleared to go back to your daily routine. While we’ll cover the topic of incisions towards the end of this breast lift recovery guide, you should know that stage 2 is also when doctors will remove sutures and your incisions will fully heal. What else do our patients love about stage 2? No more surgical bra! You will still need to wear a sports bra, something that will feel and look more natural to you.

Stage 3: Three to twelve weeks post-breast lift surgery

At this point, most patients will see that 80% of more or the swelling and bruising has disappeared. Our doctors usually allow patients a return to physical activity during this stage too, depending on how they are feeling and how fast their incisions and breast tissue heal. For patients who experience tingling or numbness in their nipples, this usually disappears at this time as well. Unless otherwise noted by your surgeon, the recovery process is complete at this point.

Breast lift scars and incision patterns.

After learning more about the breast lift recovery process is only natural to wonder about scars. As opposed to breast implants, were incisions can easily be hidden at the areola or under the folds of the breasts,  breast lift scars tend to be a bit trickier.

Our expert plastic surgeons always consider aspects such as your anatomy, the degree of sagging of your breasts, and your aesthetic concerns when deciding the best incision pattern for your breast lift. You and your surgeon will decide together if an incision in your areola, underneath the breast fold or a vertical incision will yield you the best results.

Thanks to the lifting techniques our surgeons expertly use, incisions and scarring are very thin. As a rule of thumb, as long as you protect your incisions by not scratching or exfoliating them and protecting them from direct sun exposure, they will fade and become barely visible. Don’t try any OTC ointments or balms, since they could interfere with the natural scar tissue that your body will form. Always consult with your surgeon! If you had a substantial breast lift with vertical incisions, ask your doctor when you can visit Medispa so they can apply a dermal or laser treatment specifically designed to minimize scars.

Bonus Breast Lift Recovery Tips

Pain management: While you might be uncomfortable the first days after a breast lift, your doctor will prescribe pain medication. If pain does not subside, do not take any OTC medication before consulting it with your surgeon. Some of the most commonly available pain medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can create unnecessary risks of complications. Your VIDA medical team will gladly help you be comfortable with safe pain medication.

Follow-up care: Don’t skip follow-up appointments! Even if you feel as good as new, it’s important to follow-up with your surgeon to check that swelling and scaring are progressing as they should.

Surgical bras and compression garments. Wear them for as long as the doctor recommends. They are designed to provide wire-free gentle support to your breasts, which can go a long way to reduce pain and swelling.

Stop smoking before and after the surgery. Smoking decreases oxygen levels and reduces circulation, which is particularly risky during a surgery and can slow down your breast lift recovery.

To get more expert information about breast lift recovery, call us now at (619)738-2144 to consult one of our expert cosmetic surgeons.

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.