How long does it take to recover from an upper body lift?
Your surgeon will let you know how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. Your surgeon will also give you and your caregiver detailed instructions about your postoperative care after your surgery, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Typical symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complications
Follow all the patient care instructions your surgeon provides, including information about wearing compression garments and the level of activity that is safe for you. Your surgeon will alert you to the signs of problems to watch for, such as signs of infection. It is also important to know that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
See options for short-term recovery locations in Aftercare & Recovery.
What can I expect immediately after my upper body lift surgery?
- As the anesthesia wears off, you may feel dizzy, disoriented, and nauseous. These sensations should pass within a few hours, although some types of oral pain medications may cause these symptoms to recur.
- If you return home the same day, you will need someone to drive you. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may have to spend a night or two in the hospital recovering from surgery.
- Immediately following your surgery, you may experience pain. You can control any pain you feel with pain medications.
- After an upper arm lift, you will have compression garments around your incision sites. You will need to keep your arms elevated (above the heart) for a few days after the procedure to promote healing. You should regain normal function of your arms and hands after two or three weeks.
- Following a breast lift, you will likely find gauze over your breasts, and you may have a few drain tubes. Rest and sleep on your back in an inclined position (25-to 45-degree angle) for the initial postoperative days or if you have significant swelling. Use wedge pillows with an incline design or sleep in a recliner chair.
- If your surgeon removed fat along your back, you will have a garment around the incision sites and may need to refrain from lying on your back until your recovery is complete.
- You will need to rest and refrain from any strenuous activity for several weeks; however, you should get out of bed and move around occasionally to avoid problems resulting from blood clots.
What can I expect during my upper body lift recovery?
The procedures associated with an upper body lift are extensive, and it is essential you comply with your surgeon’s instructions before and after surgery to achieve the maximum results with minimal to no complications.
- Make sure you continue to have lots of help at home. You won't feel like yourself for at least seven to ten days, and you still shouldn't do any heavy lifting (such as picking up your children or baskets of laundry) for four to six weeks. If you have small children, you must put someone else totally in charge of their care for at least two weeks.
- You will likely have a follow-up with your surgeon within five days. During this visit, your surgeon can remove your drains.
- If you have traditional sutures, you will typically have these removed within the first week or two (absorbable sutures will not have to be removed).
- Plan to take about two weeks off from work, depending on the physical demands of your job.
- Make an effort to ease back into your normal routine gradually rather than all at once.
- Swelling should subside within five weeks. If swelling and pain last for more than two weeks, you should contact your surgeon immediately.
- After several months, you can start evaluating the aesthetic outcome of your surgery.
- Fading and flattening of scars typically take three months to two years.