Breast Lift Recovery Timeline

April 21, 2015

A breast lift procedure (mastopexy) is designed to lift up sagging, drooping breasts to give them a more youthful and full appearance. Although the procedure can be done in conjunction with a breast reduction or a breast augmentation procedure, the recovery for just a breast lift is generally shorter than for either of the other two procedures alone. Recovery time will depend on the amount of work needed to meet the patient’s goals. Breast lifts can involve a simple repositioning of the nipple higher on the breast, tightening of the skin envelope, and reducing the size of the areolas. Drs. Marcus Crawford and Steven Bailey provide breast lift patients with a prospective timeline for the healing process after surgery

One to Three Weeks after Surgery

The first one to three weeks following surgery are the most critical part of the healing process. This is when most of the initial healing takes place. Patients may experience some pain or discomfort during the first week, which can be alieved with prescription pain killers. There will be some bruising and swelling during the first two weeks. Taking the herb Arnica montana and using cold compresses or ice once the sutures have healed over can reduce the amount and duration of bruising and swelling. Patients will also be given a special compression bra to wear for the first few days after surgery. This can then be replaced by an Ace bandage or a snug-fitting sports bra. The incisions will usually close during these first two weeks, and most patients can have their sutures removed within one to two weeks following the procedure. Patients should be able to return to work and light activity after the first week or two, but should not lift heavy objects or bend at the waist.

Four Weeks after Surgery

Patients should begin to see the final results of their breast lift procedure after four weeks. By this time, the initial bruising and swelling will have diminished. Drs. Crawford and Bailey recommend that patients avoid underwire bras for the first four weeks following surgery. Instead, patients should continue to use the Ace bandage or sports bra at all times, even to bed at night. Patients should also avoid sleeping on their stomachs for the first three to four weeks after a breast lift procedure.

Six Weeks and Beyond

By this point, patients should have a clear idea of the final results from the breast lift procedure. They can also resume normal activities, including exercise and lifting heavy objects. There may be some residual numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation around the breasts and nipples. This is the normal part of the final stages of healing, as the body re-establishes nerve pathways that were severed as a result of the procedure.

Patients who opt to undergo a breast lift procedure have likely invested a great deal in improving their appearance. With patience, and an understanding of the healing timeline following surgery, patients are more likely to be happy with their results and proudly show off their new physique. 


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