Breast Lift Recovery & Aftercare
Undergoing a breast lift can be a transformative experience, enhancing both your appearance and confidence. However, the recovery and aftercare phase is equally important as is the surgery itself.
That’s why I’ve created this comprehensive guide for you to share some valuable insights and recommendations to ensure a smooth, and safe recovery.
What to Expect Before Breast Lift Surgery
- Initial Consultation: During your first meeting with your plastic surgeon, you’ll discuss your aesthetic goals, medical history, family history of breast cancer, medications, and lifestyle habits.
- Physical Examination and Assessment: Your surgeon will perform a comprehensive physical examination of your breasts, measuring their current size, shape, and sagging level. They may use markings and photographs to plan the surgery effectively.
- Reviewing Breast Lift Options: Your surgeon will explain the different breast lift options and recommend the one that best suits your needs and goals.
- Anesthesia and Risk Discussion: You’ll receive information about the anesthesia type for your surgery and discussions about pain control measures.
- Informed Consent: If you choose to proceed with the breast lift, you’ll be presented with a consent form. By signing it, you grant permission for the surgery, acknowledging the risks and having realistic expectations of the outcome.
- Pre-Surgery Preparations: Your surgeon may request you to undergo medical assessments such as blood work or physical exams. In some cases, a mammogram may be recommended. You’ll also be advised to quit smoking and discontinue certain medications, like aspirin and herbal supplements, to minimize surgical risks.
What Happens During a Breast Lift
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what occurs during a mastopexy:
- Hospital Gown and Positioning: Upon arrival, you will be provided with a hospital gown to wear. The surgical team will position you comfortably on a surgical table, ensuring you are in the optimal posture for the procedure.
- Anesthesia Administration: To manage pain and ensure your comfort throughout the surgery, anesthesia will be administered. Your anesthesia type will have been discussed with you during the pre-surgery consultation.
- Skin Preparation: Before the surgery begins, the surgical team will meticulously clean and prepare the skin in the surgical area to maintain a sterile environment.
- Marking the Surgical Plan: Your surgeon will use a pen or marker to draw specific markings on your skin, indicating the planned incisions and areas of focus.
- Incisions: The surgeon will make incisions around your areolas, and in some cases, these incisions may extend downward or outward, depending on your unique needs. These incisions are strategically placed to minimize visible scarring.
- Tissue Reshaping and Repositioning: The surgeon will then sculpt and reshape the breast tissue and remove excess fat as necessary to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome.
- Muscle Tightening: To enhance the lift and support of the breasts, muscles may be tightened and sewn in place.
- Areola and Nipple Repositioning: The areola and nipple complex will be moved to a higher, more youthful position on the breast.
- Excess Skin Removal: Any surplus skin, tissue, or muscle will be trimmed away as required to achieve the desired contour.
- Incision Closure: Once the surgical adjustments are complete, the surgeon will carefully close the incisions with precision to promote proper healing.
- Post-Surgery Support: Bandages and, in some cases, a surgical bra will be applied to provide essential support to your breasts during the initial stages of healing.
What Types of Breast Lift Incisions Are Available?
- Breast Size and Shape: The unique characteristics of your breasts, including their size and shape, will influence the choice of incision to ensure an optimal outcome.
- Skin Elasticity and Sagging: The degree of skin elasticity and the extent of sagging in your breasts are crucial considerations. These factors guide the surgeon in selecting the most appropriate incision pattern.
- Areola Size and Placement: The size and placement of your areolas also factor into the decision-making process, as different incisions can affect their appearance.
Here are the common incision types used in breast lift:
- Crescent Lift: This incision takes the form of a half-circle along the top half of your areola. It is typically used for breast augmentation with minimal sagging.
- Donut Lift: The donut incision encircles your entire areola and is a common choice for breast lift procedures.
- Lollipop Lift: Another common incision type. This incision begins with a circular path around the areola and extends vertically down from the areola to the breast crease.
- Anchor Lift: Anchor incision starts with a circle around the areola, continues vertically down to the breast crease, and then extends horizontally along the breast crease. This incision is often selected for women with significant sagging or those undergoing breast reduction in addition to a lift.
What to Expect After Breast Lift Surgery
In the initial stages of recovery, you might have a small tube near one or more of the incisions. These tubes are there to help drain excess fluid and reduce swelling.
Your surgical team will provide you with clear recovery instructions, which may include:
Caring for Drains and Bandages: You’ll learn how to take care of the drains and change bandages when necessary to keep things clean and prevent infections.
- Movement and Activity: Take it easy and be cautious with your movements. You might be advised not to lift your arms above your head. Keeping your elbows close to your sides can make your daily activities more comfortable.
- Watch for Complications: Stay vigilant and report any unexpected issues to your medical team promptly. Early communication can lead to timely solutions if needed.
- Sleeping Position: It’s usually recommended to sleep on your back initially to reduce pressure on the healing breast tissues.
- Medications: You may be given medications, like ointments or pills, to manage pain and minimize infection risk. Following the prescribed medication plan is essential for a smooth recovery.
- Special Support Bra: You might be advised to wear a specialized support bra designed to reduce swelling and provide comfort as your breasts heal.
What Will Your Breast Lift Scars Look Like?
- Around your areolas
- In the breast crease
- Following natural breast contours
While these scars are permanent, they tend to fade significantly over time. Initially, they might be noticeable on the surface of your breasts, but as you heal, they’ll become less conspicuous. With months and years passing, these scars typically blend into your skin, resulting in a subtler appearance.
It’s important to remember that scar healing can vary from person to person. To help scars fade and minimize their long-term visibility, diligently follow your surgeon’s post-surgery care instructions.
What are the Benefits of Breast Lift?
After the surgery, you’ll immediately notice that your breasts look firmer, perkier, and more youthful. Additionally, many individuals find that their bras and clothing fit better, enhancing both their comfort and appearance.
What are the Risks and Complications of Breast Lift Surgery?
- Your breasts may not appear identical in shape or position following the surgery.
- There is a risk of bleeding or the formation of blood clots.
- You may experience changes in sensation, such as numbness in your breast skin, nipples, or areolas. In addition, your left and right nipples and areolas may feel different.
- Complications related to anesthesia, like nausea, vomiting, or difficulty waking up, can occur.
- Surgical procedures always carry a risk of damaging surrounding structures.
- A hematoma, which is a pocket of blood under the skin, may develop and could require drainage.
- There is a possibility that you may not be able to breastfeed in the future.
- Incisions may not heal correctly, leading to potential complications.
- Infection is a risk associated with any surgical procedure.
- There is a slight risk of losing the nipple or areola.
- Pain or swelling may persist longer than expected during the recovery period.
- There is a remote risk of experiencing problems with your heart or lungs.
- In some cases, the results may not meet your expectations, necessitating follow-up surgery.
- Scarring, rippling, or discoloration of the skin may occur, along with skin irregularities.
What is Breast Lift Recovery Like?
Following a breast lift, it’s natural to experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Your skin may feel tight, but these effects typically improve in about two weeks.
If your procedure involved the use of drains near the incisions, your healthcare team will typically remove them a few days after the surgery. Keep in mind that incisions may take several months to fully heal. Additionally, some surgeons recommend sleeping on your back for a few weeks to facilitate a smoother recovery.
While the recovery process can involve some temporary discomfort and restrictions, following your surgeon’s guidance and taking good care of yourself can help ensure a smooth and successful recovery.
When Can I Resume Work and Daily Activities?
- Desk Work and Light Activities: Many individuals can typically return to desk work and engage in gentle activities like walking within approximately a week after surgery.
- Vigorous Activities: It may take up to six weeks before you are cleared to participate in more strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, or exercise.
- Regular Bra Use: Generally, most women can start wearing a regular bra around eight weeks after their breast lift surgery.
How Long Do Breast Lift Results Last?
Breast lift results are generally long-lasting, offering an extended period of satisfaction with your breast appearance. However, it’s important to understand that as time goes on, your breasts will naturally undergo some changes. Additionally, factors like pregnancy and fluctuations in weight can also affect how long your results last.
When Should You Reach Out to Your Healthcare Provider After Mastopexy?
- If either breast becomes red, hot, swollen, or painful.
- Experiencing bleeding, drainage, redness, or swelling at the incision site.
- Chest pain.
- Fever exceeding 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Unmanageable, severe pain despite taking prescribed medications.
- Persistent nausea or vomiting.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms; they are there to ensure your safety and wellbeing during the post-operative period.