Breast Reduction Recovery and Breast Lift Recovery: A Week-By-Week Guide
What is recovery like after plastic surgery to give your breast a lift and more youthful shape? Breast Reduction recovery and Breast Lift recovery can vary from person to person depending on many factors including the extent of the surgery, the patient’s overall health, and the type of surgical technique used. Board-certified female plastic surgeon, Dr. Shruti Tannan put together some general guidelines for what to expect during the recovery process. Learn how to manage pain and swelling, navigate activity restrictions, driving recommendations, and when you can expect your final results!
You may be wondering why we are discussing Breast Lift and Breast Reduction surgeries together in one post. This is because a Breast Reduction always includes a Breast Lift. We hope that you can find some useful information, and as always, we are a phone call away for questions!
Recovery after Breast Reduction / Breast Lift: Week 1
The first week of Breast Reduction recovery and Breast Lift recovery is all about managing swelling. By keeping the swelling down with ice packs, we can reduce pain and discomfort after the procedure. We often include liposuction to the bra fat. Applying ice to the areas treated with liposuction can really minimize swelling and pain during early recovery.
If we used an internal bra as a part of your surgery, you may have pain along your breast fold (where the underwire of a bra supports your breast). This happens because we have to anchor the mesh to your chest. In these situations, we recommend rotating ice packs and over the counter lidocaine patches to your chest.
Do not drive this first week. Resist lifting toddlers. Do not walk your dog this time. Your exercise regimen is still on hold week. Your tissues are delicate and still healing. We will provide you with a compressive bra that should be worn around the clock. This garment works to reduce swelling and maintain the shape in this early phase of healing after breast reduction or breast lift.
Recovery after Breast Reduction / Breast Lift: Week 2
During the second week following surgery, the swelling should be improving. Don’t overdo it though! As you start getting back to work and your normal routine, you absolutely should not engage in strenuous activity. This means you may not start lifting weights or using exercise machines just yet.
It is normal to notice some numbness in the skin between your nipple and the surgical scar at the lower part of your breast. This will improve over time. Nipple sensation can be slightly increased or decreased in the first few months, and this tends to normalize at around 6 months. Surgical tape placed in the operating room on top of your surgical incision starts to peel off around the three-week mark. Maybe the tape hasn’t peeled all the way by then? Don’t worry, it will be removed at your next appointment. If you notice or feel a knot at the edges of your incision, it’s okay. I will trim that when you come for your 4-week appointment.
You might be ready to start driving a car again during this week. Most women feel comfortable driving when they no longer take narcotic pain pills, and they can turn to check their blind spot without pain. Typically, that is around day 7 – 14 of the Breast Reduction recovery or Breast Lift recovery timeline.
Perhaps you had implants as a part of your breast lift, or an internal bra placed in your Breast Lift or Breast Reduction. This may increase your return to drive time by 5-7. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot more internal work completed with implants and the mesh. It takes time for that swelling and pain to resolve. Plan on having someone drive you for that second week if you have that flexibility. Working from home is even better so you don’t have to worry about getting to and from your workplace.
Recovery after Breast Reduction / Breast Lift: Weeks 3 to 6
From weeks 3 through 6 of Breast Reduction recovery and Breast Lift, things should be looking great. If we did not place implants, most of the swelling should be gone and you should begin arriving at your final breast size and shape. When we include implants with our breast lift, it takes at least six months to start to see your final shape.
You should be able to drive without difficulty at that this point. When you return for your 4-6-week follow-up appointment, I will release you to full activities and will let you know exactly when you are cleared to exercise. Please wait until then to resume your fitness activities. We want to let these tissues heal without developing swelling from working out too soon.
When you come to my plastic surgery office in Raleigh, North Carolina, for your 1-month follow-up, we will give you Biocorneum Silicone Scar Cream. This is the highest quality medical grade Silicone Scar Gel available, and clinically proven to minimize scars. This Silicone Scar Cream that I give you is made by the same company that makes the Sientra Breast Implants – only available for patients of board-certified plastic surgeons like us. I will instruct you to apply the scar cream on your scar twice a day and let it air dry before you put your bra back on.
What about bras?
Regarding bras, we recommend using wireless bras that are snug for the first four to six weeks after surgery. We place you in one of these bras in surgery. For examples of some back-up bras you can order, I recommend you read this post on post-surgical bras. After that first six weeks, feel free to go braless or switch gears and go shop for your new bra size. Underwire bras are ok six weeks after your breast procedure.
For those of you with implants under the muscle, it takes several more months (sometimes even a year) for the breast implants to settle into place. This process of breast implants settling is longer under the muscle. The swelling is predominantly in the upper part of your chest and pec muscle for the first few months. This lasts until the breast implants settle and stretch out the lower half of your breast, where the breast implants belong for a natural look. Until the breast implants drop, your upper breast might be swollen with a more rectangular shape, outlining your swollen pec muscle. This is completely normal and will subside with time.
Breast Reduction Recovery and Breast Lift Recovery Summary
At Tannan Plastic Surgery, we want your breast reduction and breast lift surgery process to be as smooth as possible. Our all-female team is all about helping you make the right decision. We are conveniently located in the Triangle of NC.
We are happy to care for our local folks who are looking for the best plastic surgeon for them in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill and those of you from surrounding areas like Apex, Morrisville, Garner, Knightdale, Graham, Roxboro, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Benson, Wake Forest, Oxford, Henderson, Roanoke Rapids, Clayton, and our military families in Fort Bragg. Our office sees folks traveling greater distances to find the best plastic surgeons for them in the North Carolina and South Carolina Coasts and Southern Virginia, like Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Danville. Be sure to mention how far you drive to see me during our consultation so we can plan out your recovery specifically as it pertains to you.
Ready to learn more about Breast Reduction or Breast Lift Surgery?? Call (919) 797-0996 now to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tannan.