Breast Lift and Augmentation Recovery

Is recovery the same as for just a breast lift if you get a breast lift and augmentation at the same time? Does it take longer, cause more pain... any differences?

Doctor Answers 17


It really depends on a few factors. Adequate pain control is likely the most important. Individual pain tolerance differs greatly. I find that women who have had children generally have less post-op pain, as they have a much higher pain tolerance. From a surgical point of view, there are several things the surgeon/anaesthesiologist can do to decrease your post-op pain.

I generally perform breast blocks prior to making any incisions with a mix of short- and long-acting local anaesthetics. I have found this greatly reduces post-op pain. I also encourage patients to take the prescribed pain killers regularly every 4 hours especially for the first 24-48 hours. If you don't stay on top of the pain in the immediate post-operative period, it is extremely difficult to "catch-up". Most of my patients experience very little post-op pain after breast augmentation.

Of course, the type of augmentation you have will also determine your post-operative discomfort. Larger implants, and subpectoral implant placement will also increase post-op discomfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get large implants, or place them under the muscle - you simply need to know what to expect. Many women also experience difficulty with sleeping in the first few weeks after augmentation due to the weight of the implants on their chest. This is more significant in back-sleepers.

To answer your question about time off work, my experience has been that there is a huge range. I have patients that go back to work the next day (against my advice), and I have had patients take as much as 2 weeks off of work. It really depends on what you do for work, and how you feel. As for taking care of your kids, if your implant is placed under the muscle, it will be a few weeks before you feel comfortable enough to pick them up.

As for scars, I tell patients it will take a year to see the absolute final result. Practically, however, by 3-6 months the scar will be very close to the final result. I suggest 3M paper taping, and have a specific scar massage protocol I use to help speed scar resolution.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Recovery after combined Breast Augmentation & Lift

Although some surgeons do not like to do these procedures together, if done properly, the results are excellent. The surgeon must take the time in the operating room to sit you up and reassess the placement of the nipple after placing the implant and partial closure. To do this does take more time than just placing the implant and closing the skin as marked preoperatively. However, this is still less time and less expensive than doing two separate procedures. The other thing that helps is to release the breast tissue from the muscle to allow it to move upward. This is the reason I like a subglandular (on top of the muscle) placement of the implant. With this placement of the implant, recovery is 24-48 hours.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How does the recovery from a Breast Lift differ from a Breast Augmentation?

Both #BreastLifts and #BreastAugmentations are #outpatient procedures under intravenous sedation and local or general anesthesia. The patient will go home in a bra or with only light dressings over the incision lines. Sutures are dissolvable but an ending knot, if present is removed within 1-2 weeks. Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral #medication. Light activity may be started 7-10 days after surgery. If your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial #pain. Do not begin light aerobic exercise for 3 weeks and strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks. Let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Further instructions are provided prior your release. It is always recommend to call and see your surgeon to discuss your concerns on #recovery.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Post-Operative recovery after breast lift with implants

Post-Operative recovery after breast lift with implants:In general the healing is approximately the same time, perhaps a few more days for the combined procedure and not much difference in discomfort
Here are the instructions we give to my patients -
The patient will go home in a bra or with only light dressings over the incision lines.
Patients can usually return to work in one week to ten days. Sutures are dissolvable but the ending knot is removed within 1-2 weeks.
Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication. Light activities may be started in 7-10 days with light lifting of 20 pounds or less from 10 days to 3 wks. After 3 weeks progressive exercise with running and lifting of heavier weights after 6 weeks.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Breast Lift and Augmentation Recovery

Thank you for the question. Maximum discomfort will occur in the first few days after surgery and will subside the following weeks. Six weeks after surgery, your incisions will heal over and it would be safe to slowly resume regular activity. Breasts could be sore, tight, swollen and bruised for several months. It will take approximately three months for your breasts to settle. Hope this has helped.

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Recovery after Breast Augmentation/ Lifting?

The recovery period  after breast augmentation/lifting is similar to breast augmentation alone in that much of the discomfort and resulting limitation in activity is related to the sub muscular (dual plane) positioning of the breast implants.

From the standpoint of incision line healing and potential complications associated with the longer incisions associate with breast lifting, the breast lifting part of the procedure does add some additional need for care.

However, I have found that patients are able to return to work in approximate the same period of time after either one of the operations.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Recovery from a breast lift and augmentation

You may have more pain with the augmentation, especially if the implants are placed under the muscles. However, oral pain meds should cover this well. Also, it may take longer to recover if the implants are placed under the muscles. Soreness may be an issue in the immediate post-operative. The overall recovery is very tolerable, and you should be back to work in about a week. Good luck!

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

Breast Augmentation, breast lifting

Dear Twiggymom

We use long acting freezing and have you start moving right after surgery for both the breast lifting and augmentation procedures. The combination of early pain control and mobilization works very well and our patients are back to normal activities in a couple of days including working out.

With Warm Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Breast lift and augmentation recovery.


1) I am afraid that I don't agree with the other doctors. In New York City, we do a combined breast lift- augmentation almost every week, with easy recovery and very low complication rate.

2) The key is not to use an "anchor" scar to do a breast lift with augmentation. We usually use a circular scar around the nipples, or else we use a lollipop scar.

3) To answer your question, recovery is about the same.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

The recovery and also risk of the complication is higher

Combined lift and augmentation is a difficult and very risky procedure. More than 50% of the Board certified plastic surgeon will not do combined procedure. There is a high risk of nipple loss or ischemia, widen scar and also need for revision. Most patients would prefer combine procedure to avoid two surgeries ,but from the point of safety and also results I would recommend two stage procedure .

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.