Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Recovery


Dr Bernard Beldholm

Below you will find all the necessary information to ensure that your recovery after breast lift surgery is as quick, comfortable, and successful as possible.

Immediately after surgery


Having a general anaesthetic can take a few days to recover, you may feel a little slower and not “yourself” after your surgery.

Immediate after-effects and discharge from the hospital

Breast reduction is major surgery and you will normally spend one or two nights in hospital. There will usually be a drain on each breast, which will generally be removed prior to discharge from hospital. Occasionally, patients go home with a drain, which is then removed in our clinic. Pain tolerance is individual and it is expected to feel tender for a few days, however pain relief medication is recommended to ensure a comfortable overall experience to faster recovery time.

To ensure that you are well enough to leave, Dr. Beldholm will see you prior to discharge. You will receive a prescription for pain medications that can be taken at home.

Dr. Beldholm’s patients rarely experience any serious complications and scars will heal to leave only a fine line over a few months.

Wound Care

Wound care to ensure a quick recovery is important. We do not recommend any topical creams or  lotions of any kind near the incision to avoid inflammation.

Stitches inserted during surgery are internal and will dissolve over time. A white tape dressing & steri strips will be applied during surgery and this will be removed by the nurse 7/10 days after your operation.

Surgical garment, dressings, and stitches

A specially-fitted surgical garment will be provided for you to wear for six weeks following your surgery and dressings will be in place for around 10 days, but you can take showers; stitches inserted during surgery are internal and will dissolve over time, but it’s important not to remove the dressings yourself. A nurse will attend to this at your post op appointments in the Lorn Clinic

Please check the BREAST LIFT CONSENT FORM for details of possible complications with this procedure.

Returning Home


As you are still in the recovery phase of the operation when discharged, it’s important to arrange in advance for someone to drive you home and assist you following your operation. Most patients can resume driving approximately two weeks after surgery, but before you attempt to drive, ensure you can turn to check over both shoulders, and can manoeuvre the car safely without discomfort.


You are encouraged to go for Short walks as soon as possible after surgery to prevent complications and to ensure blood flow quickly returns to normal.


Your surgical compression garment should be worn day and night for four weeks, then for two weeks at night only; but you can remove it for showering.If  you up and about walking around you can remove your surgical stockings from hospital after 48 hours. Compression garments will assist with healing and shaping of breasts post surgery.


You will need to sleep on your back for four weeks following surgery. You may tilt yourself slightly to the side after one week, but do not sleep on your tummy for six weeks.  There is no need to sleep elevated on pillows or in a reclining chair. Sleep and rest is important to allow the body to heal.


You can shower, but you should pat the dressing dry afterwards; using  hair dryer on COOL setting can be used over the wounds, avoid using a hair dryer over your wounds on the ‘HOT’ setting, as your skin may be numb after the operation and it’s possible to burn yourself without realising. Sometimes the edges of the dressing curl up and these can be cut off with scissors, but if you are unsure about anything, please call our office.

Exercise and activity following surgery

Keep physical activity to a minimum for a week or two following surgery, with only light activities such as light walking or light home duties: no vacuuming, hanging clothes on the line, or bending to pick things up. As a general guide for the first two weeks lifting a full kettle as guideline for how much can be lifted.

Try not to elevate your arms higher than shoulder level and avoid heavy lifting or pushing/pulling for four weeks. At your follow-up appointment, Dr. Beldholm will advise you how to gradually re-introduce heavier exercise.

Sexual arousal after breast lift surgery can cause the nipple incision to swell, so it’s best to avoid sexual activity for at least a week. Only light contact with your breasts is advised for six weeks.

What to expect after your surgery

Pain and healing

Patients continue wearing the supportive surgical bra around the clock for several weeks until the swelling and bruising subside.

Following surgery, patients feel some pain for the first couple of days, especially when moving around or coughing. Although most patients are up and about in a day or two, it’s common for breasts to ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. Full recovery will take up to one month.

Although postoperative swelling generally causes some loss of feeling in nipples and breast skin, this generally fades over six weeks or so.


Your first menstruation after the operation may cause swollen and painful breasts or random, shooting pains, as the nerves recover and your breasts settle.

Bleeding or severe pain

Please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Beldholm’s office on 4934 5700(in business hours) if you have any unusual symptoms, such as odour, bleeding, or severe pain. If you have urgent concerns out of hours, please call our emergency number on 0499 588 444.

Return to work

Most patients can return to non-manual work and normal social activities in around one week. If your work requires strong physical activity, you should plan for 3-4 weeks of recovery time.

Wearing a bra

After four weeks of wearing your compression garment, you may commence wearing an underwire bra. Dr. Beldholm recommends a special soft surgical or athletic bra for maximum support.


To optimise your surgical results, it’s best to stop smoking for at least four weeks after surgery.

Post op appointments

You will see Dr. Beldholm immediately before being discharged from hospital and, if possible, the next day in his clinic as well as further review appointments with our nurse for dressings.

We recommend a course of LED light therapy postoperatively, as this will improve healing time. Please refer to your LED light therapy information sheet.

Routine follow-up appointments will be made with Dr. Beldholm at one,three six, and twelve months after surgery.

Bernard Beldholm Logo


30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
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