Congratulations – your breast lift is complete! You’re on your way to a look you’re pleased with and a body you’re comfortable in! Your results of breast lift surgery can be game-changing, and your self-esteem may also get a boost.
If you’ve felt self-conscious due to the sagging state of your breasts, or if you experience rashes under the breast area and pinching bra straps that leave grooves, your life is about to change when you undergo a breast lift.
Of course, you may wonder when you will feel like yourself again. In particular, many breast lift patients ask when they can work out the way they normally do.
As with any surgery, recovering from a breast lift takes time. You’ll be able to get active fairly soon, but you will need to do so in stages so your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
Here’s what you can expect and when you can get moving again.
Activity After Your Breast Lift: The Timeline
Let’s start right out with what you can expect during your recovery and what movement you can do at the different stages of your recovery.
- You will probably emerge from your anesthesia feeling groggy. Make sure you have help to walk a bit to prevent blood clots. You will also need a ride home from your surgery.
- You may feel nauseous due to the anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon can prescribe medicine for this if your nausea is severe.
- Your plastic surgeon will send you home with a prescription for pain medication. Take it only as directed by your doctor.
- You will probably feel very sore, and you may be stiff as well. Take medication only as directed by your surgeon.
- You may take gentle walks beginning the first day (the day of your surgery). Very light, gentle activity such as walking is recommended to prevent blood clots.
- DO NOT lift heavy objects.
- Keep your range of motion in your upper arms minimal. You can move, but do not overextend your arms or lift them higher than your shoulders.
- You should feel less stiff this week. Your discomfort level may be going down, too.
- Increase the intensity of your walks slowly and gradually.
- Increase the range of motion in your upper arms slightly. Stop if you feel pain. If this happens, call your doctor.
- You are probably feeling significantly better this week.
- Do not lift heavy objects yet.
- Continue with your walks and with a gentle range of motion.
- You may be able to resume light cardio if your surgeon says you are ready.
- Keep up with your walks if you can’t do cardio. (Walking is one of the best and gentlest forms of exercise when healing.)
- You are probably ready to lift objects again, including exercise weights/dumbbells. Make sure to clear this with your doctor first.
What if You Work Out Too Soon?
- It’s important to stay mildly active, but you should not try to do more than your doctor recommends at any stage of your breast lift recovery.
- Working out hard very soon after your surgery can mean opening the incision sites. This can lead to infection.
- You may also overestimate your ability to lift items and can strain the area while it’s healing.
- Make sure you follow exercise recommendations step by step. If the instructions your surgeon gives you differ from those above, follow their recommendations instead.
- Remember, you are an individual, and your recovery will be individual, too.
Tips to Make Your Recovery Go More Smoothly
As you’re easing into being able to work out again, there are a few key ways you can help speed your recovery and also help avoid pitfalls. Try these tips:
- Wear your post-surgical garment for as long as your doctor recommends. Don’t try to get into a sports bra too soon. Your physician knows you and your recovery best.
- Once you’re allowed to leave your post-surgical bra behind, it may be best and most supportive to transition to a sports bra. This is particularly true as you slowly begin to increase the intensity and frequency of your exercise routine.
- Follow ALL your plastic surgeon’s recommendations – even if you feel “fine.” Movement is good; pushing it is not.
- Keep the area covered by clothing (for instance, a t-shirt at the beach), and once your incisions are healed, wear sunscreen approved by your surgeon over the area. Exposure to the sun can increase the risk of scarring.
- Call your doctor if you experience any of the following: sudden, severe, or stabbing pain in the surgical area; a warm feeling to your incisions or the area; sudden bleeding or opening of your incisions; or a fever over 100°F.
By gradually working up to your former workout routine, you will ensure your best recovery possible and a surgery result you’ll love.