5 Tips for Breast Lift Recovery

Christie Auyeung Plastic Surgery Leave a Comment

As with any surgery, recovering from breast lift surgery takes time, proper care, and patience. Part of preparing for breast lift surgery includes knowing what to expect after your time in the operating room, for at least the first weeks and months after your procedure. By understanding what the recovery experience will be like, you’ll be better equipped for a smoother and quicker recovery.

Here’s an idea of what you can expect after breast lift surgery, and tips to help you during the transition to recovery.

The First Few Weeks:

You’ll feel discomfort, swelling and bruising around the surgical site, which will last for up to three weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will give you medication to help with the pain. You’ll also be required to wear a surgical bra for a few days after surgery. For the remainder of your recovery, you can use a support bandage or sports bra instead. These supports usually stay on at all times for a few weeks. Sutures will be removed after a week or two. Take it easy during this time – usually, patients are able to return to work and light activity after a week.


  • Pain: Cold compresses can help reduce swelling. However, it’s a common mistake to use cold compresses longer than recommended, which can actually reduce its effectiveness. To reduce swelling, ice the area for 20 minutes using a towel or cloth as a barrier, then remove the compress for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, you can then re-apply the compress.
  • Sleeping: Avoid sleeping on your stomach for the first two weeks. Its best to sleep at an incline for the first few days so you can stay elevated – this will also help with the swelling. An incline between 25-45 degrees is best. You can use a few fluffy pillows to prop up your body. You can also use a pillow between your knees to prevent you from rolling onto your chest during the night.
  • Bathing: Keep your wounds dry for at least three days after surgery. After that, it’s best to take sponge baths until the sutures are removed. You may need assistance washing your hair, since you won’t be able to lift your hands above your head.
  • Activity: During the first week, avoid bending over or any rigorous activity, especially any activity that puts pressure on the chest. Too much strain on the body right after surgery can cause swelling, bleeding and slow down healing.
  • Smoking: Stop smoking before having surgery. Smoking interferes with your body’s recovery process.

The First Few Months:

It will typically take more than a month before the swelling and bruising fully disappears. Until then, you will not be able to see the final results of your breast lift. Any numbness you feel in your breasts should go away after about six weeks. Sometimes, patients feel burning or tingling, which is a good thing – it means the nerves are beginning to recover!


  • Bras: Avoid wearing underwire bras for a few months after surgery. Instead, go for a gentler support system such as supportive bandages or a wireless bra at all times.
  • Activity: Don’t lift anything over your head for three to four weeks after surgery, and don’t lift anything heavy for at least six weeks.
  • Diet: It’s important to provide your body with the nutrition and hydration it needs to prevent infection and recover. After surgery, you may lose your appetite, but you should make an effort to drink plenty of water.

Hopefully, these tips can help you have a smoother and quicker recovery after your breast lift. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surgeon. For more information on breast lift surgery and to schedule a free consultation, contact one of our surgeons today!

Christie is a UChicago grad currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she enjoys tap dancing, learning to windsurf, and trying new foods.