Guerra Plastic Surgery Center
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Breast Lift Recovery Specialists

Our post-op team is ready to help you recover.

Actual Patients

Recovery Step-by-Step

Overview on the recovery process.

We consider the breast lift recovery period as occurring in stages or phases. We have categorized the postoperative breast lift recovery into 4 phases in order for you to better understand the recovery experience. The 4 major phases of breast lift surgery include:

  • Breast Recovery Phase
  • Breast Renewal Phase
  • Return to Activity Phase
  • Clearance Phase
actual patient photo
Dr. Aldo in a post-operative recovery room with an actual breast augmentation patient.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • How far apart will my Post-Operative Appointments be?
  • Our patients are seen at Guerra Plastic Surgery Center within the first three days after surgery. A second visit will be made for 7-10 days post-op for suture removal along with a third visit 7-10 days later for final tape removal. If you had an augmentation with your breast lift a fourth visit will be made for 3-4 weeks post-op for follow up and breast massage training and then a final visit is made for 6-10 weeks post-op for final follow up with the doctor, photos and discharge.
  • What happens if I have any questions or concerns after hours?
  • Our patients are instructed to call our office at 480-970-2580, at which time a member of our after hours on-call service will decide if the nurse/physician will need to be contacted asap. If the matter is urgent and cannot wait until the following business day the after hours service will contact either the doctor or the nurse and have them call you back within 15 minutes. We have someone on call 24 hours a day.
model with breast band
Model wearing a breast band.

Phase 1: Breast Recovery

Let's get it started.

The first phase begins as soon as surgery is completed and you enter the anesthesia recovery unit. The nursing staff in the recovery unit will make sure you come out of anesthesia gently and have the appropriate level of pain control before going home.The Breast Lift Recovery phase lasts about 2 to 5 days and focuses on post-op comfort. When you arrive at home, you can begin taking prescription medications such as muscle relaxants and oral pain medications. There is a constant amount of pressure in the breast area after breast implants and muscle relaxants work best. The combination of prescribed pain reliever and muscle relaxant is noteworthy for creating the most relief after surgery. Many patients can stop the pain medication after 2 to 3 days and can typically return to some activity, including light-duty work. Five days after breast surgery the vast majority of patients have resumed limited work activity. We do not recommend vigorous exercise which raises your heart rate above 100 beats per minute until 15 days after surgery. This includes no heavy lifting.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • When can I take a shower after my Breast Augmentation?
  • You can take a shower 48 hours after your breast lift surgery. The external gauze can be removed but the steri-strips or tape need to remain intact.
  • How long do I need to use ice packs?
  • Ice therapy is very beneficial if applied for 20 minutes at a time with 20-40 minutes in between each application. It is best when used for the first 72 hours. Using ice decreases post-operative inflammation (swelling) which in turn decreases post-operative pain.
  • What type of medications will I receive for my surgery and how often should I take them?
  • For a breast lift, you will receive an antibiotic, an anti-nausea, a narcotic pain reducer, and a muscle relaxant. For efficacy we recommend that patients alternate the pain medication with the muscle relaxer every 4 hours to maintain a consistent level of medication in their system to avoid any pain spikes. We recommend patients stay on a continual dosing schedule through a 24 hour period for the first 1-3 days then eventually wean off of the narcotic pain medication. If you have a breast lift with an augmentation we recommend that our patients continue taking the muscle relaxer at least every night before bedtime for the first 30 days after surgery to assist in decreasing the amount of muscle spasms that may occur. In doing so, this will help to bring the implants down quicker. We also recommend that for patients who have a tendency not to tolerate narcotic pain medications to take the anti-nausea medication 30 minutes prior to their pain medication to decrease the risk of nausea/vomiting.
  • What type of medications will I receive for my surgery and how often should I take them?
  • For a breast lift, you will receive an antibiotic, an anti-nausea, a narcotic pain reducer, and a muscle relaxant. For efficacy we recommend that patients alternate the pain medication with the muscle relaxer every 4 hours to maintain a consistent level of medication in their system to avoid any pain spikes. We recommend patients stay on a continual dosing schedule through a 24 hour period for the first 1-3 days then eventually wean off of the narcotic pain medication. If you have a breast lift with an augmentation we recommend that our patients continue taking the muscle relaxer at least every night before bedtime for the first 30 days after surgery to assist in decreasing the amount of muscle spasms that may occur. In doing so, this will help to bring the breast implants down quicker. We also recommend that for patients who have a tendency not to tolerate narcotic pain medications to take the anti-nausea medication 30 minutes prior to their pain medication to decrease the risk of nausea/vomiting.

Phase 2: Breast Renewal

Most important phase.

After 5 days, you begin the Breast Lift Renewal phase. This is the most important phase of the recovery process and requires a great degree of patient participation. The breast renewal phase focuses on breast shape and expansion by allowing the implant to settle appropriately. After the implants are placed, regardless of size and tightness, every patient must create additional space to accommodate their breast implants while making the breasts grow. It is important to begin breast massaging to relax the breast tissue and pectoralis muscle, reduce swelling, and allow the breast implants to settle nicely. Breast massaging starts on about day 5 of the breast renewal phase and is performed at least 5 minutes per side twice a day. Initially, massaging is done gently in the first few days, but by the second week a more vigorous massage technique will be encouraged. These breast massage techniques must continue to be performed by the patient in the comfort of their own home for a minimum of 6 weeks. All of these massage techniques are taught after surgery by our postoperative team of nurses. The Breast Lift Renewal phase last until 3 months after surgery and overlaps with the Return to Activity phase of the recovery process.

model breast massage
Breast massages are recommended for MemoryGel® and saline breast implants.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • When do I wear my breast band?
  • With a breast lift you will not require the use of a breast band. If you have a breast lift with an augmentation your Breast Band will be given to you at your first post-op visit in the office. A member of the Post-Op team will teach you how to properly wear it. The band is worn high in the front above the implants and low in the back to induce counter pressure to help the implants drop into place. The breast band is typically worn for 24 hours a day for the first 1-2 weeks, then for 12 hours a day for the next 2-3 weeks to ensure the best result.
  • What is Lymphatic Drainage Therapy (LDT) or Lymphatic Massage? How is it beneficial to my recovery and is it required?
  • LDT is a gentle hands on therapy used to manually move the lymph fluid out of the body speeding up your recovery time. It is a specialized technique provided by a Lymphatic Drainage Specialist. Not only does this speed recovery by reducing toxins in your system and decreasing your swelling, it improves post-operative results. We recommend at least 3-6 treatments if you are experiencing mild to moderate swelling after a breast lift/augmentation. Check with a Post-Op team member for a list of practitioners we refer to.
  • When do my sutures come out?
  • Sutures are removed along with the steri-strips 7-10 days post-op. At this appointment new steri-strips will be applied and will be removed within 7-10 days at your next post-op visit.
  • When can I drive after my Breast Lift surgery?
  • When you feel you can react in an emergency situation AND do not have any narcotic medication in your system. For the majority of our patients this is likely within 5-7 days post-op.
  • What type of Breast Massage will I be performing and how frequently?
  • Breast Massage is not required with a breast lift. But if you are having a breast lift with an augmentation, the breast massage is another essential element within the recovery process. At your first post-op visit a member of the Post-Op team will teach you a very gentle breast massage that will help to relax the pectoralis muscle. These massages are performed for 5-10 minutes twice daily until your next Post-Op visit. Around 7-10 days after surgery after the sutures are removed, a member of the Post-Op team will teach you more aggressive breast massage by showing you how to “walk down the muscle” and start training the internal scar tissue around the implant to stay away from the implant. You will perform this massage for a minimum of 5 minutes twice daily unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Aldo. At your next visit approximately 3-4 weeks after surgery a member of the Post-Op team will teach you additional breast massage that will help with more movement of the implant. The more you massage, the softer the breasts will feel. Patients will perform this massage for 5 minutes twice daily until their final visit with Dr. Aldo.
model at desk job
Return to light activity after breast augmentation surgery, Model.

Phase 3: Return to Activity

Back to your routine again.

We allow patients to begin a gentle return to more vigorous activity after 14 days from breast lift surgery. This is when the Return to Activity phase begins. Before this time, we encourage breasts lift massaging and avoidance of vigorous exertion. Once this phase begins patients are allowed to perform limited physical activity like aerobic exercise and limited weights. When performing aerobic exercise, we recommend not to raise your heart rate above 125 beats per minute. In some cases, if a patient wishes to perform a particular strenuous activity it is better to call the office before proceeding.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • What do I need to put on my scars to help them heal better & when can I start this?
  • embrace® Active Scar Defense is our #1 scar therapy treatment for breast lift incisions. Typically, within 2-3 weeks after surgery and when all of the sutures, tape or surgical glue has been removed you can start your embrace® treatment. You can also consider using Vitamin E oil, Bio Oil, topical scar creams or liquids, or apply silicone sheets. This will help the scar to appear less pink and decrease in thickness and texture.
  • What is "Scar Massage?"

  • Scar massage is taught to each patient during post-op visits by a member of our Post-Op team. Scar tissue forms whenever there is an incision made in the skin. As scar tissue heals, it tends to contract and get thick. We know that the nature of scar tissue as it’s healing is to contract but we also know that scar tissue is very malleable and trainable so we teach scar massage to help our patients achieve the best outcome possible with their scars. By placing pressure on scars or by rubbing/massaging them, the fibrous tissue gets broken down and trains the scar tissue to heal more flat. The more frequently it gets massaged, the flatter the scars will heal. This process takes anywhere from several weeks up to 6 months, at which point scar tissue matures and becomes less malleable or permanent.
  • When can I resume Vitamins and Herbal Supplements after Breast Lift?
  • Depending upon specific supplements, within one to two weeks post-op you can resume Vitamins and Herbal Supplements with the exception of weight loss supplements in which case you need to wait at least six weeks to resume.
  • I need help filling out paperwork for my employer, who can help me with this
  • A member of our Post-Op team will assist you with this. Please bring your paperwork in at your pre-op appointment so they will have sufficient time to complete the documents required. If you have specific forms that your employer requires, there is a $25 fee for each form to be completed and will be collected prior to the form being completed. If you only require a letter for your employer there is no fee for that.
  • When can I workout/exercise after my Breast Lift surgery?
  • We encourage every post-operative patient to start walking short distances as soon as they arrive home from surgery. Typically we like you to keep your Heart Rate under 100 Beats Per Minute (BPM) within the first two weeks. At week two, you can increase your Heart Rate to 120 BPM, at three weeks you can increase your Heart Rate to 130 BPM and at four weeks you can gradually work back into your normal regimen with the exception of lifting anything over 20 pounds. After six weeks you may return to your regular fitness regimen. Please discuss the specifics with one of our Post-Op Team Members.

Phase 4: Clearance

Oh yeah. We're going out tonight.

Patients are considered healed from their breast lift surgery when the breasts have fully expanded to their desired cup size or when their breast implants have fully settled into place and the patient has been fitted for a regular bra. We tell patients they are cleared to live a completely normal lifestyle, when this occurs. This is called the Clearance Phase. The rate of healing with a breast lift is based on each individual’s ability to heal and the size of the breast implants placed. For some patients, especially those with elastic breast skin the ability to expand their breast cup size and the settling of the breast implants occurs at a faster pace. Patients without a history of pregnancy who have tighter skin should expect that implant settling and breast expansion will proceed at a slower pace. In addition, with tighter skin and larger breast implants you can expect to have a longer breast renewal phase and have to perform more breast massaging exercises to obtain full cup expansion. After you are healed, we recommend wearing a strong supportive bra for the first year to avoid the risks of skin overexpansion. This is especially pertinent to those women with elastic skin before breast lift surgery.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • When can I wear my normal underwire bra?
  • Generally, at this point in time patients can resume the use of a normal underwire bra.
actual patient photo
Actual patient, breast augmentation with silicone breast implants.

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