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How will the breasts feel after a breast lift?

After a breast lift surgery procedure, the breasts will be supported in the bra; they will be swollen, firm and lumpy in the first few postoperative weeks.

Tagged: Recovery & Aftercare

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 11th December 2020

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 15th December 2023

After a breast lift surgery procedure, the breasts will be supported in the bra; they will be swollen, firm and lumpy in the first few postoperative weeks. 

The breasts start to soften after around 6 weeks, and by 3 months the swelling should have gone down, leaving you with your new shape. 

What can I expect after a Breast Lift? 

For the first 2 to 3 days after surgery, you will likely experience light to moderate pain, although this can be managed through prescription medication. Many individuals may experience some nausea from the anaesthesia used during the procedure, although this typically subsides relatively quickly and without intervention. 

From this point forward a typical breast lift recovery week by week timeline might look like something like this: 

  • 1 week following the surgery pain levels will be significantly less, although moderate bruising and swelling of the breasts may continue to persist. At this point, many individuals are able to return to work and perform light daily activities such as walking.
  • 2 weeks after the surgery most patients will feel normal and able to perform all daily activities, although lifting heavy objects and bending should be avoided. At the 2 week mark, most incisions will have likely healed.
  • After 4 to 6 weeks most individuals will be okay to complete daily exercises once again as full recovery is made. 

How long does it take to recover from a breast lift?

Within 6 weeks of the surgery, you will have fully recovered, although it’s important to rest for at least the first 4 weeks, avoiding any intense exercise or heavy lifting. Most individuals are able to return to work after the first week and see improvements from there. 
Breast lift recovery time varies between individuals but a full breast lift recovery rarely takes longer than 8 weeks. 

Where can I see breast lift before and afters?

You can see a full array of breast lift results and breast lift before and afters here 

What you should know before a breast lift?

Before embarking on a breast lift (mastopexy) journey you should make sure to have consulted with a GMC registered surgeon, qualified to respond to a full array of questions about the procedure, and its benefits, risks and recovery.  

You should understand what realistic breast lift results might look like as well as the importance of undergoing your surgery in the best possible shape and frame of mind, and continuing this level of self care in the breast lift recovery phase.  

It is important to also understand the various surgical techniques, and the potential scarring patterns associated with each, as well as the potential for temporary changes in nipple sensation. You should be aware that in some rare cases, additional surgery may be required to achieve the results you desire.  

You should have a strong grasp of the costs associated with breast lift surgery, as well as a handle on the non surgical alternatives.  You should also assess whether you are suitable for breast lift surgery

Finally you should research the breast lift recovery period well and make sure you have planned for the associated downtime.  


How should I treat my breasts following a breast lift?

For the best breast lift results you should follow a careful post operative routine 

  • Massage/moisturize – Treat the whole breast, including scar. Use the palm of your hand in a gentle circular motion, using a moisturising cream for dry skin, e.g. E45. This helps to soften your skin, adjacent tissue, and adjust to its new contour. Experience how your breasts feel before letting anyone else touch them.
  • After the first 2 weeks, start returning to your normal activities of living. Be sensitive to your body and try not to do too much too soon. Therefore, if you experience any pain, stop and try again another day. You can drive and start lifting light objects if you feel comfortable. Gym activities, aerobics or sports that involve using your arms should be avoided for 6 weeks. You may start lower leg exercise after 4 weeks. You can start lifting your elbows above your shoulders, washing your hair, getting the washing off the line, etc. 

What are some breast lift recovery tips?

Recovery for a breast lift procedure is a process that you need to take day by day.  

Here world renown plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, our founder and performer of thousands of breast lift procedures shares his best breast lift recovery tips for achieving the very best breast lift results: 

‘I have performed over 50,000 surgeries in my many years as a plastic surgeon. I enjoyed them all, but none more so than breast lifts for the incredible lifechanging results you can achieve. I tell my patients to follow a five step breast lift recovery plan  

  1. Follow the Script: think of your personalised post op instructions as a personalised script for you to follow. Make sure to play your part well and stick to it  
  2. Take it Easy: rest is your best friend during breast lift recovery. Make sure you don’t do any heavy lifting or overdo it with any arm movement. Keep movements gentle in the early stages of recovery  
  3. No Smoking and No Sun: your incisions and scars need to heal and these two things are the very worst things you can do for this. Think long term with your breast lift recovery and you body will thank you  
  4. Bring Friends & Family in: you’re going to need a support squad in these early days and weeks both in an emotional and practical sense – friends and family, can help make this journey far smoother
  5. Practice the Art of Patience: breast lift recovery time can be long. Be patient, have realistic expectations, and celebrate the results as they are revealed” 

Do the breasts get smaller after a breast lift?

Your breasts will not get smaller after a breast lift. 

A breast lift is designed to provide the breasts with a more youthful and toned appearance by removing excess skin, tissue and fat. During a breast lift, breast tissue is repositioned, decreasing the volume in the lower region whilst increasing breast volume in the upper region. 

The overall effect is a more lifted and youthful perkier appearance, however the size of the breasts, in terms of cup size, is not significantly altered unless. 

On some occasions breast lifts can be combined with a breast reduction or breast augmentation procedure, in which case the size of the breasts are altered.  

Does a breast lift affect sensation?

A breast lift can reduce nipple sensitivity, but only in rare cases is this nipple sensitivity extreme. The sensitivity is mostly temporary and your breasts will gradually regain their natural sensation again over time. The incisions from a breast lift can carry the risk of change in nipple sensitivity as the incisions have the tendency to harm or damage the nerves. 

Changes in sensitivity are only a temporary side effect of the surgery and the majority of patients regain their natural nipple sensitivity again over a period of around 6 months after the breast lift procedure. It’s important to note that extremely large implants can also cause a change in nipple sensation which may not necessarily result from the incisions. 

How painful is breast lift recovery?

Breast lift recovery typically involves some degree of discomfort, with the immediate postoperative period being the most intense. Whilst pain varies between patients, pain levels for breast lift recovery are not generally considered excessive. 

For those who do experience some level of pain, pain medication, elevation, and cold compresses can all help manage swelling and soreness.  

Whatever pain level may be experienced in the opening days of breast lift recovery, most patients will experience improvement in the days that follow. If you do experience any severe or persistent pain you should report this to your surgeon immediately.  

Where to go for a breast lift

At the Cadogan Clinic, we offer comprehensive advice to individuals with regards to breast lifts and the recovery process. For more information, reach out to us via the contact form on our website where a specialist will be able to get back to you. Aftercare is also on offer to all our patients through a 24/7 on-demand nursing service. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

After Mastopexy, it's common for patients to experience some tightness or temporary loss of sensation in the breasts during the initial recovery period. Following your surgeon's aftercare instructions is crucial to ensure the best possible results. With time, sensation often returns, and any initial tightness subsides, allowing patients to enjoy the natural and enhanced appearance of their breasts with confidence and comfort.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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