How is Recovery After a Breast Lift and Implants?

I'm having a lift and aug in a few days and am a hairstylist, so I want to know what to expect as far as a discomfort level and return to work. My doc told me a week and come back light, just wanna know that's long enough.

Doctor Answers 23

Recovery After Breast Surgery

Thank you for your question. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
It is important to follow the instructions of your board-certified surgeon. If you have any concerns regarding recovery, please reach out to them directly. Best of luck to you! 

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Recovery following Breast lift

Thank you for your question. Recovery can vary from patient to patient.  Pain is tolerated differently depending upon the person. I would suggest you allow yourself 7-10 days without work and then ease back into your routine gradually.  Work back up to your previous activity level.

Best of luck,

Christopher J. Morea, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 187 reviews

Breast lift and augmentation post op pain


  I think your doctor is right on course with the recommendations especially considering he knows your situation and body type.

  The breast lift causes very little pain.  Even with larger breast reduction patients do not experience much pain post op for the most part.  I have done many thousands of these so I can tell you with a good deal of certainty that the patient with a breast lift or breast reduction that has a lot of pain post op is the exception.

  Now the augmentation part of your case is different.  If your doctor is placing the implants under the muscle (my preference), then the muscle takes time to adjust to the new stretch and tries to get back to the chest wall.  This does cause post op pain that should be treated with pain meds as needed.

  Your doctor has given you good advice but of course you have to consider that pain and discomfort is variable from patient to patient.

Steven M. Lynch, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Augmentation and Back to Work?

Dear Tory,
Thank  you for your post. Yes, in general, going back to work in 1 week is fine for a motivated individual.  Expect to be sore but can certainly be done.  When you are at work, avoid lifting anything heavy or reaching too high above your head, stretching the incisions.
Best Wishes, 
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Return to work after breast augmentation and lift

Unfortunately, you do not describe the type of lift you are having.  These can vary from around the nipple to a lollipop or boat anchor incisions.  Also, you do not describe whether the implants will be placed in front of or behind the muscle.  Implants behind the muscle hurt longer and stretching of the muscles can aggravate the pain.  Usually 1 one week would be enough to get you back to light duty or 4 weeks to be completely back to normal.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Recovery after Breast Augmentation/Lifting?

Thank you for the question.
Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to advise you regarding returning to activities, including work. Generally speaking, patients are able to return to light duty/desk jobs about one week after surgery. If you are holding a heavy blow dryer you may require an additional week to 10 days away from this activity.
Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Return to Work when You Are Off Narcotic Pain Medication

Thank you for your question. Please follow the advice of your surgeon, because they know all the details of your case. I generally recommend that people can return to work within 3-4 days, whenever they are off narcotic pain medication. I recommend to wait 4-6 weeks though before lifting loads or performing active movement of the arms and upper torso. Otherwise, you risk implant displacement, wound breakdown, development of a hematoma or seroma.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Breast Lift And Augmentation Recovery

Concerns about the recovery period are very common amongst women who are considering breast augmentation surgery. It's important to realize that every patient's situation is unique.

Some patients have jobs that involve heavy lifting, while others sit at a desk. Some patients have children, while others have a significant support system available to them. Some patients have more extensive procedures, while some patients have a low pain tolerance. All of these factors can impact the recovery period.

I generally recommend that patients take a week off from work. Patients who have desk jobs may return sooner. Light exercise can usually be undertaken at about two weeks and strenuous physical activity can be resumed at six weeks. At that time, I tell patients that they may return to full activity without restrictions.

Two situations deserve special mention, these include childcare and driving. I tell patients that they shouldn't drive a motor vehicle until they're no longer taking narcotic pain relievers. Also, I believe that if you have small children at home, some type of childcare assistance should be available for at least one week following surgery. When all of these factors are considered, most patients feel that the recovery was less difficult than expected.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Time off Work post Breast Lift and Augmentation

Each surgeon has his or her own guidelines for recovery. Typically, patients can return to light activity after 5 to 7 days. More strenuous activity may take 3 to 6 weeks. Consult with your board certified surgeon as he or she will understand the scope of the surgery and the specifics of you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Activities after a breast augmentation

The only activities I would restrict a patient to after a breast augmentation would be not to lift greater than 20 pounds and avoid activities where the breasts bounce up and down for 6 weeks. Atlanta Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Z

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 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.