The immediate recovery will depend upon what type of anesthesia that your plastic surgeon will employ for the surgery. A total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) technique which wears off relatively quickly has minimal side effects such as nausea. Various anesthetic agents affect patients differently and will dictate the patient’s recovery. The other main determinant of recovery from mastopexy surgery is a surgical drain that most likely will be placed at the time of surgery. Most plastic surgeons will incorporate extensive local anesthesia into the tissues which can allow patients to wake up pain free. The local anesthesia will begin to wear off in 3-4 hours and most patients will experience mild to moderate discomfort at this stage. Surprisingly, most patients state that the pain from breast lift or mastopexy surgery is not as much as the anticipated. Most patients will have discomfort with raising her arms overhead for 3-4 weeks. There are no specific restrictions following mastopexy surgery aside from no soaking for a week. Patients may shower the following day; but no Jacuzzi, swimming or soaking in the tub for a week. Most plastic surgeons want to see their patients back in the office 5-7 days after their surgery to remove the drains which are placed at the time of surgery. For most plastic surgeons, there are no sutures to remove. It is most common to use absorbable sutures which melt on their own within a few months and the outer skin is often times sealed with skin glue which flakes off in a few weeks. One of the potential risks of surgery is infection and this usually manifests itself around 5-7 days after surgery and is usually effectively treated with oral antibiotics. Other risks of breast augmentation include anesthesia problems or adverse reactions, scars, bleeding, hematoma (blood collection), delayed wound healing, contour irregularities and recurrent ptosis (drooping). Your plastic surgeon will go over all of the potential risks and complications with you prior to surgery so that you can make an informed decision regarding the risk to benefit ratio for their proposed surgery.
The actual “full” recovery period from a breast lift or breast augmentation is at least a year and this involves a gradual softening and settling of the tissues its natural position. A significant amount of the recovery occurs within 2-3 months, but it will take the external scar a year to soften/mature and the internal tissues undergo similar softening. Immediately following mastopexy especially vertical type mastopexy, the breast will have a very protuberant appearance with a very rounded upper pole. Over the course of a year, this appearance will soften and the upper pole of the breast will develop a more natural slope with the breast mound assuming a more natural appearance as well. Other long term potential complications are related to each patient’s own tissues and the loss of elasticity in those tissues. The amount of sagging which can occur in these tissues is mostly dependent on that particular patient’s genetic makeup.