Recovery from having a
breast lift can take up from two to four weeks - sometimes longer, in which you
will see some swelling and bruising. It is very important to follow all of your
own plastic surgeon’s recommendations post operatively. The new shape and
position of your new breasts will be seen immediately, however the final result
with the overall appearance will settle in the coming weeks.
Breast lifts take more
than a month before all the swelling and bruising disappears. It is also during
this time that the final breast lift results will be seen. Follow your
surgeon’s post operative instructions and also ask him before doing anything you
might find questionable.
Arnica Montana, bromelian
or vitamins A and C all help reduce swelling and discolorations and improve
healing. Ask your plastic surgeon if this is right for you.
Applying a warm gentle
compress can also help with some of the bruising. By dilating the superficial
blood vessels – the body will remove the blood and damaged tissue from the
bruising is a risk – but it is very rare. If you see discolorations after
several months post op, then you should inquire aboutIPL (Intense Pulse Light
Treatments). These treatments are a non-invasive method of targeting the
hemoglobin in the blood that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissue and
body. Intense Pulse Light helps with broken capillaries on the face and other
parts of the body. It is a computer generated light pulse to a specific
wavelength range – which in turn will heat the visible targeted blood vessel
without compromising the surrounding healthy or normal tissue.
During the initial
recovery the patient will experience discomfort, bruising and some swelling
which can last anywhere from two to three weeks. Your plastic surgeon will
prescribe pain medication to help with the discomfort or you might be able to
have a pain pump. Making sure you take the medication as directed is paramount,
as it helps with keeping the body from any “break through” pain.
extremely important for patients to make sure they take their
antibiotics on time and that they finish off the entire
prescription. By stopping the antibiotic before you are
finished, you run the risk of a possible resistant infection
with the pain medication as written will help your body overcome any
break through pain episodes. Instead of waiting until you
experience pain, taking pain medication at certain regular times
will help keep the pain under control. It is harder to control
pain once it has started. One of the most common side effects of
the medication is gastrointestinal upset. This means you could
have either an upset stomach or diarrhea.
surgeons will prescribe an anti-enemic medication to help prevent
nausea, which can be brought on by taking the antibiotics and the
pain medication on an empty stomach. Make sure you take all
medication with some food in your stomach, preferably something that
is bland like toast, crackers, etc.
Constipation is a very
common side effect of narcotic pain medications, so you may want to
take a stool softener (such as Colace) around the time of surgery
and after will help tremendously. Eating a lot of high fiber foods
and drinking plenty of water will help get everything going again.
The sooner you are off the narcotics and sleeping tablets the
better. Make sure you are not drinking alcohol at the same
time you are taking narcotics. And also because narcotics can
make you drowsy make sure you are not driving while still taking
may be inserted to help reduce the fluids in the breast. A drain will prevent
this fluid from building up pressure behind your incision, and helps reduce the
occurrence of a seroma. You will be asked to record the amount of fluid from
the drains so that your plastic surgeon can see if when you should be having
these removed. Drains are normally removed at your first follow up
appointment. Removal is pain free for the most part. There might also be a
slight irritation around the wound edges of where the drain was inserted. This
goes away quickly once the drains are removed.
are common to have on top of your incision line and sutures – or if you have
internal sutures with tissue glue to help bind the external incision edges. Your surgeon will remove these when you have your sutures removed, and more than
likely re-apply the strips to the incision after the stitches are removed. Most
surgeons will ask their patients to leave these strips on the incision to help
keep tension off of the incision line during recovery. By doing this you will
allow your scar to heal into a thin line.
Sutures (mostly the
dissolvable ones) will work themselves to the surface of the incision. This
happens quite commonly, and actually when a stitch does pop out, it can come to
the surface with an inflamed red spot. Usually you can feel something like
‘fishing line’ around this area. It is best to call the Plastic Surgeon when
any suture makes it way to the surface for removal. You really do not want to
attempt to do this yourself, as this is way that infections can start, and you
have to make sure you are removing a suture that is not something that is
permanent. Dissolvable sutures are usually clear color (like fishing line), and
permanent sutures are dark blue in color.
There are various types of
suture material that is used in closing an incision. Some
patients do have problems with sutures, and some sutures are more likely to
cause this than others. Braided sutures (such as Vicryl) can cause this and,
for that reason, many surgeons have switched to monofilament (unbraided)
sutures, such as Monocryl or PDS. Vicryl is an excellent and strong suture
material, but it has been associated with "spitting”.
It is very important that if
you see any discharge around this area, if the area feels inflamed or is hot to
the touch. Please call your Plastic Surgeon immediately, as this could mean
that you have an infection started, and you will need to start on antibiotics
More than likely you will
not be able to shower for the first couple of weeks, as most surgeons like to
keep the suture area dry. Normally taking a sponge bath will be okay as long as
the sutures do not get wet. Sutures are normally taken out anywhere from 7 – 14
days, depending on the patient’s own healing ability. Every plastic surgeon has
their own preferences with what their patient should do regarding this, so make
sure you check with your physician.
Usually there is to be no
sleeping on the stomach for the first two weeks as well. This is to allow no
external pressure on the surgical area. Most patients find that sleeping with
your shoulders elevated with a lot of pillows or using a recliner chair helps
relieve pressure in the chest area.
It helps tremendously to sleep on your back in
a more upright position for the first few days following surgery. One member on our forum has used the
for her recovery, and it
helped her tremendously with sleeping. You can also create a
pillow fort out of several pillows to help support you as you rest. Elevation of the upper body and chest reduces the swelling and
aching of the breasts.
Patients are required to
wear a surgical bra for the first few weeks following surgery. This bra will
help support your breast so that you can keep tension off of the incision line.
Do not wear an under-wire bra or sports bra for the first several weeks because
these tend to cut into your incisions (inverted-T Mastopexy – or
An under-wire bra may push your breasts to set in a location too high. Each
surgeon has his or her preference in regards to a post operative bra, so make
sure you ask what they would want their patient to wear.
Although the results of a
breast lift are typically long lasting, significant weight fluctuations can have
an impact, along with subsequent pregnancies. Most plastic surgeons will not
even recommend a lift for those patients who are not done with child bearing, as
the results can be compromised with a birth and breastfeeding of a child.
During the first several
days it is important to monitor your temperature. This is done so you can check
to see if you might have an infection started. It is very important to make
sure you take the antibiotics on time. If the breast becomes increasingly warm
or hot to the touch and you see redness occurring – call your plastic surgeon
No strenuous exercises are
advised during recovery, in fact check with your own surgeon to find out what
you can and cannot do. Any unnecessary bending or exercising can put undue
pressure on the chest and slow the healing down. It is important to make sure
you are not doing too much during the recovery process. By doing activities too
soon could lead to swelling or edema in the breast area. Also making sure your
blood pressure is not elevated during the recovery process, as this can lead to
bleeding or a possible hematoma.
It is not
uncommon for your menstrual cycle to be altered for a month or two
after you undergo surgery. The stress of the surgery and
anesthesia plays havoc on your system. Your period will return
to normal within a couple of months.
Numbness in the nipples
and the surrounding breast tissue after breast lift surgery is normal. This
will go away after a few weeks or so. In some rare cases this numbness can be
permanent. Plastic surgeons will tell their patients to give this at least a
year before diagnosing this as permanent sensation loss, as nerve fibers grow at
a very slow rate and can take months before the feeling comes back into the
Shooting pain from the
nerves and tingling during breast lift recovery is also normal. This means the
nerves are trying to regenerate, so these sensations are a good sign that the
nerves are returning to normal function.
Breast lift scars can be
noticeable for a few months following surgery. To have the scars appear red and
bumpy at first is normal, but as they heal these scars will fade into thin white
lines over the next few months. There are many scar treatments available to
reduce the appearance of scars. Patients find that having some scarring is a
trade off for getting firmer younger looking breasts.
The more invasive the
breast lift is - the more noticeable the scars will be, however each patient is
different with their healing.
Hypersensitive nipples can
occur after breast surgery. To help with the discomfort patients should try
wearing some sort of gauze pad or Band-aid to help prevent the clothing from
rubbing the affected area.
Depression after any
plastic surgery procedure is very normal. Most patients experience some sort of
“let down” after the procedure simply because there was so much anxiety and
excitement preparing for the surgery. It is important to realize that having
cosmetic surgery is exactly what the word implies – surgery. Every patient
going through a cosmetic procedure wants to feel and look better instantly even
though in the real world, this is not the case. Plastic surgery is anticipated
with great expectations because we are trying to improve a certain body part.
It is perfectly normal to
question your own motives for having the surgery during the first few days
following the procedure. This is a very natural phase of the healing process
and understanding this let down or depression will help you cope with your
you are discharged from the surgery center after your procedure, you
will be sent home with instructions and important phone numbers to
call if there is any unforeseen problem or complication that should
arise. These are important numbers to have close by, as they
will be how to contact your surgeon and or the on-call surgeon.
If you experience anything that hasn’t been covered in what to
expect after surgery, call the surgeon immediately. This is
why they have given you the phone numbers in the first place.
Any elevated temperature or excessive bleeding from the incision
needs to be communicated immediately to the surgeon. You need
to remember that the instruction sheet that your plastic surgeon has
given you should always be adhered to. If the instructions you
are given are different that what you see on this website, do not
waiver from what your plastic surgeon has told you. Always
follow your own plastic surgeon’s instructions!