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Dr. Lloyd Van Wyck

What to Expect during Breast Lift Recovery

By Lloyd G. Van Wyck, M.D. on April 06, 2016

The profile of a woman with lifted breastsIf you wish to improve the appearance of drooping, sagging breasts, you may be considering breast lift surgery. Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, can improve the profile of sagging breasts, creating a perkier, more youthful bust line. Before undergoing breast lift surgery, it's important to understand what to expect during recovery. For answers to your specific questions about breast lift recovery, schedule a consultation with Ottawa, ON plastic surgeon Lloyd Van Wyck.

Initial Recovery after Surgery

During the initial recovery period, it is common to experience pain, swelling, bruising, and general discomfort around the breasts. Pain, swelling, and bruising should subside after two to three weeks. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage pain during the first week of recovery.

Patients will also need to wear a surgical bra for a few days after surgery, followed by a support bandage or a sports bra for the remainder of the recovery period. During the first two weeks after surgery, patients must take care not to sleep on the stomach. Showers will need to be avoided for the first day or two after surgery.

After about a week, most patients will be able to return to work and undertake light activity. Strenuous activity and bending over must be avoided as this puts pressure on the healing breast tissues and can lead to complications.

Recovery in the Months Following Surgery

A full recovery from breast lift surgery can take more than a month. Swelling can persist during this time and may not fully resolve for three to four months after surgery. Patients should continue to wear a sports bra or a support bandage and refrain from wearing underwire bras for at least a month after surgery to help reduce swelling and improve recovery.

Additionally, patients should avoid lifting anything above the head for three to four weeks after breast lift surgery. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity must be avoided for a full four to six weeks. Some patients may experience numbness in the nipples and surrounding skin. Sensation generally returns around six weeks after surgery. Although rare, some find numbness to be permanent.

Tips to Help You Recover

It's important to take care of yourself during recovery to ensure proper healing and reduce discomfort. Follow these tips to improve your recovery.

  • Arrange for help during the first days of recovery: Patients should arrange for a friend or family member to stay with them for the first two or three days after surgery because most patients will require help.
  • Prepare ice packs: Prepare ice packs before surgery for use during recovery. Gently applying ice packs to the chest for a few minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and ease pain after surgery.
  • Drink plenty of water: Drink plenty of water after surgery to help keep the body hydrated.
  • Limit salt intake: Salt causes the body to retain water, which can increase swelling after surgery. Limit salt intake to keep swelling down.
  • Don't smoke: Patients should stop smoking a few weeks prior to surgery and during their recovery because smoking inhibits healing.
  • Wear compression garments: Wearing compression garments, like a support bandage or sports bra, helps reduce swelling and supports the tissues as they heal.
  • Take light walks: Patients should begin to take light walks early in recovery to help blood circulation and improve healing.
  • Follow surgeon's instructions: Follow all of your surgeon's instructions to reduce the risk of complications and ensure a speedy recovery.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about breast lift recovery, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Wyck.

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