Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a popular plastic surgery procedure that raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding breast tissue. During a breast lift, the nipple and areola are also repositioned to a more youthful height and orientation on the breast.


While the aesthetic results of a breast lift can be transformative by helping to restore a fuller breast contour, many women are understandably concerned about the potential pain and discomfort involved in the recovery process. Here we will discuss in detail what you can expect with regards to pain after a breast lift at Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre.

Overview of the Breast Lift Procedure

There are a few different techniques our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Perlman may utilize during a breast lift – depending on the degree of lift and firming you require. The most common is the anchor lift technique, which utilizes three incisions – one around the areola, one vertically from the areola down to the inframammary fold or breast crease, and one horizontally along the inframammary fold.


A breast lift is performed to elevate sagging or uneven breasts and involves surgically removing excess skin and tightening the breast tissue to reshape and support the breasts. During the procedure, Dr. Perlman will make precise incisions, remove any excess skin for tightening, lift the breast tissue upward, and reposition the nipple and areola into a position that is higher up (and more youthful looking) on the breast. The mastopexy surgery usually takes two to three hours to meticulously complete under general anesthesia or local anesthesia plus intravenous sedation.


After closing the incisions with sutures, the doctor will place soft surgical dressings and tape over your breasts to promote healing. You will then be taken to a recovery area where you will be closely monitored as you wake up comfortably from anesthesia.

What to Expect with Breast Lift Pain Levels

The amount of pain or discomfort experienced during the recovery period after a breast lift can vary significantly between individual patients. However, most women report the pain as manageable with prescription oral pain medication during the first week following surgery.


Here is an overview of the typical pain levels and sensations at different stages of breast lift recovery.


Immediately after surgery: It is normal to feel some pain and soreness in your breasts and incisions due to the surgical procedure and internal sutures. This initial pain is usually well-controlled with the intravenous pain medication that is administered during or just after surgery.


First 1 – 3 days after surgery: The most significant discomfort is often felt within the first few days of your breast lift as the anesthetic wears off and peak swelling occurs. Pain during this time is often described as a generalized sore, stiff, or achy feeling in the breasts. Prescription oral pain medication taken regularly, as well as the application of cold compresses, can help effectively manage pain.


The first week after surgery: Discomfort in your breasts gradually improves during the first postoperative week but some tenderness and pain are still common – especially with movements like raising or lowering the arms. Oral pain medication taken as prescribed will keep your pain under control during the first week.


2 weeks after surgery: Around the two-week point after a breast lift, many of our patients report a noticeable improvement in their pain levels, with only mild to moderate soreness remaining. Pain medication is still often needed, especially before sleep.


3 – 6 weeks after surgery: In the weeks following the two-week mark, your pain will continue to diminish in intensity. By 3 to 4 weeks any discomfort you may feel is usually minor and intermittent. Only the occasional use of pain medication may be necessary.


6 – 12 weeks after surgery: By 6 to 12 weeks after surgery, any incision-related pain and tenderness has fully resolved for the majority of breast lift patients. Only mild, temporary soreness may be felt with vigorous stretching or activity at this stage.

What Factors Can Affect Pain Levels After a Breast Lift?

While the above provides a general overview of breast lift pain, it’s important to understand that specific pain levels and duration can vary significantly depending on individual factors.


Surgical technique used: More extensive breast lifting with anchor incisions tends to involve more postoperative pain compared to a smaller crescent lift with fewer incisions.


Degree of correction performed: Patients requiring a more considerable lifting and tightening of their breast tissue during mastopexy tend to experience greater residual pain and soreness.


Individual pain tolerance: Everyone has a slightly different innate tolerance and threshold for pain, which affects their perception of and response to any discomfort.


Compliance with post-op instructions: Closely following your plastic surgeon’s instructions for rest, medication usage, activity modification, and care of your incisions can help minimize normal pain during recovery.

Tips to Help Manage Pain After Your Breast Lift Procedure

While some pain is to be expected after any invasive surgery like a breast lift, there are ways to proactively help minimize your discomfort during the recovery process.











What is the Recovery Timeline After a Breast Lift?

While recovery from a breast lift procedure is a gradual process that occurs over several weeks, most of our patients report feeling notably better as each week passes.


1 week after surgery: They are no longer reliant on prescription pain medication and can return to lighter administrative desk work. This is when the early stage of pain improvement begins.


2 weeks after surgery: The incision sites feel less painful when changing dressings. Any stitches are removed at this time and the patient can resume very light activities like walking.


4 weeks after surgery: Only moderate residual soreness around incisions is experienced when moving. There are noticeable improvements in swelling and discomfort.


6 weeks after surgery: Most of our patients report minimal residual pain or discomfort at rest or with their normal daily activities.


6 – 12 weeks after surgery: Full recovery with complete resolution of swelling, bruising, and incision-related pain or tenderness.


Remember that following all the written post-operative instructions provided by your plastic surgeon is crucial to ensure proper healing and minimize discomfort throughout the recovery period.


FAQs: Breast Lift Pain and Recovery

How long does pain & soreness persist after a breast lift?

Most of our patients have experienced manageable pain controlled with oral medication for 1 week. Residual soreness and tenderness continue to gradually improve over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Significant pain beyond 6 weeks is not typical if you are recovering normally.

Which day is most painful following a breast lift?

The first 24 to 72 hours tend to be the most painful period for most patients, as the anesthetic wears off and post-surgical swelling reaches its peak. The pain is often described as an intense sore, stiff sensation.

What medications are typically prescribed for breast lift pain management?

A combination of prescription medications like hydrocodone, as well as over-the-counter options like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are recommended for short-term pain control.

When is it typically safe to resume normal activities after a breast lift?

Light routine activities can often be resumed in 1 to 2 weeks but it is best to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks for adequate healing before performing any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. Most patients need 6 weeks for complete recovery.

What helps breast lift scars fade and mature best after surgery?

Proper scar care, staying out of the sun, avoiding smoking, using scar treatments, and following all your plastic surgeon’s incision care instructions helps them heal optimally.

Does a mastopexy help relieve back or neck issues caused by sagging?

Yes, by elevating and supporting your breasts, a breast lift procedure can help alleviate chronic headaches, neck tension, and back pain caused by heavy, sagging breasts.

About Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre: Your Trusted Breast Lift Specialists

At Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre in Houston, Dr. Joseph Perlman has over 20 years of experience skillfully performing breast lift procedures and other cosmetic surgeries. He is dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans and achieving the most natural-looking results possible for every patient.


We understand that deciding to undergo a breast lift is difficult. Our caring staff will take the time to listen and provide you with complete information to fully understand what to realistically expect for your recovery and pain management.

Come in for Your Consultation Today!

If you are considering a breast lift or have any other cosmetic concerns you’d like addressed, we invite you to schedule a personalized complimentary breast lift consultation with Dr. Perlman and view the before and after results from real patients. Email us or call 281-655-8200 today to get started.


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