Managing the pain after mastopexy

Managing the pain after mastopexy

10th Mar 2018


Mastopexy is one of the popular breast contouring procedures. Also known as breast lift, mastopexy can effectively treat saggy breasts, restoring their youthfulness, firmness, and aesthetic features. In order to enhance your chance of achieving better outcomes with the procedure, you should be more informed about the surgery and know exactly what to expect during and after the procedure.

Just like all other operations, recovery after breast lift takes time. Furthermore, there are a number of side effects of the surgery. One of the side effects of mastopexy is the pain after the surgery. You may experience more or less pain during the recovery period, particularly during the first 48 hours after the procedure. It is therefore important to be informed as to what extent and intensity of pain you shall expect and how to manage the pain after mastopexy.

Intensity of pain after mastopexy

Every individual has a different pain tolerance level. Some of us can tolerate even the most painful experiences whereas other may even not be able to withstand minor physical pain. This means that some patients may experience more pain after mastopexy while others may feel lesser pain.

If the surgery has been properly performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, the pain may not be severe. You may experience mild to moderate pain during the recovery period that can be easily managed with pain relief medications. However, if the pain becomes severe, you should contact your plastic surgeon because it might be a symptom of a complication.

Also, patients who remove their support bras or compression garments before the recommended time period will experience more pain. The support bra and compression garments are intended to save you from many side effects and complications, including the pain after mastopexy. It is therefore advisable to wear the necessary garments for the recommended period.

Pain during the recovery period

After mastopexy, you will be required to take plenty of rest for at least two weeks. During this period, you will not be allowed to engage in physical activities. Be sure to avoid physically demanding activities and instead remain in bed for most of the time. Not following this instruction will result in increased pain and additional complications.

The patient may experience different degrees of pain during first few days of the recovery period. If your plastic surgeon has prescribed pain relief medications, make sure to take them according to prescription and on time. You will also be required to avoid sleeping on your front side because it can increase the pain and negatively affect the achieved results.

You may be able to resume work after a week or ten days; however, be sure to avoid strenuous activities. If your job involves high endurance activities, you should take more days off work. Bending, stretching, running, weight lifting, and sports can result in severe pain during the recovery period.

How to manage pain after mastopexy

As stated earlier, the intensity of pain after mastopexy will vary from patient to patient. The good news is that most patients find the pain tolerable. If you find the pain unbearable, you should ask your surgeon for instructions to overcome the pain. It is important to understand that much of the pain after mastopexy is a result of the post-operative swelling

Here are some tips to overcome the pain after mastopexy:

  1. Pain relief medications: Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain relief medications after surgery. These pills are enough to keep you comfortable during the recovery period, so be sure to take them on time. Normally, painkillers can help provide you relief from mild to moderate pain, which is a normal side effect of mastopexy.
  2. Support bra: After the surgery, your plastic surgeon may recommend you to wear support bras. The support bra will help contain much of the post-surgical swelling and thus the pain. Combined with the painkillers, the support bra will keep you comfortable throughout the recovery period. Be sure to wear the support bras for the recommended time period.
  3. Cold compression: If you find your pain becoming intense, your plastic surgeon may recommend you to use cold compression. It will help you overcome much of the temporary spike in pain. However, be sure not to apply cold compression for too long, as it may make your surgical site very sensitive. Moreover, be sure to wrap the compression in a cloth or towel and apply to the affected area. Don’t apply directly on bare skin.
  4. IV pain medication: In case you experience a severe form of pain that is completely intolerable, your plastic surgeon may recommend the administration of IV pain relief medication. Remember, this is only applicable where the patient experiences severe pain. Fortunately, most patients don’t experience unbearable pain after mastopexy if the operation has been performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon by using effective and reliable techniques.
  5. Avoid smoking: Smoking has been linked to increased swelling and poor wound healing after surgery. It is important to avoid smoking after mastopexy because smoking can make the post-surgical pain worse.

Even though the pain after mastopexy will gradually subside and completely disappear within a few days, some patients may experience prolonged pain. Remember, mastopexy is a major operation, and you should always be ready to experience some pain. Also, you must have a pain management plan beforehand. Make sure to ask your surgeon for post-surgical pain relief tips.


Mastopexy is a reliable treatment for breast sagginess. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin from the breasts, in addition to lifting the nipples to a raised location. The breast tissue will also be repaired during the surgery. This means that there is a pretty high level of trauma involved in the surgery. Patients should therefore expect some degree of pain after the procedure. You should follow your surgeon’s instructions to manage the pain. Some patients may experience more pain than others, depending on their pain tolerance level. Having a pain management plan will help you overcome even the severe form of pain after mastopexy.


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