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Breast augmentations, reductions and lifts are among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures around the world, but the risks associated with each type of surgery are not widely known.
A breast lift is considered safer than getting implants or breast augmentation, but still brings with it some issues and side effects that have to be managed properly, requiring proper attention from the patient throughout the healing process.
A breast lift is typically done to boost self-confidence and self-image by reducing fat, excess skin or sagging breasts, but the healing period can leave patients feeling low as they are required to wear bandages and temporarily refrain from certain common activities.
This is normal, however, and it is important to understand that healing from breast surgery is part of the process, and taking care of your body as it heals can contribute more to the overall success of the procedure than any other step.
Read our guide to understand the after-effects of breast lift surgery, what it restricts you from doing and how you can best look after your body during the healing process to ensure all goes smoothly.
As with many types of surgery, there is scarring that must heal after a breast lift procedure, and this can cause temporary pain and sensitivity. Certain areas of the breasts where the surgery was carried out may be more sensitive or painful, but this can often be felt across the whole chest to varying degrees.
Scars could last for years after the surgery or even be permanent, and their appearance may vary but they should decrease significantly in size and prominence over time if they are able to heal properly.
Reducing scarring is one of the top priorities for surgeons as they aim to make your skin look as natural as possible.
Different procedures will produce scars of different types and in different locations. Incisions for breast lifts are very thin, so they generally produce small scars that are red and raised at first, then fade to pink before reverting to the colour and softness of the skin.
Mild pain or discomfort may be felt when the anaesthetic wears off after your procedure.
Medical professionals can provide painkillers to help this, but there will always be a small amount of pain when healing from any surgery.
It is highly likely that swelling will also occur as a natural part of the healing process.
This can leave the breasts in uneven or different shapes that might change over the course of the process.
Again, this is nothing to worry about and will usually go away within 6-12 weeks following your surgery.
You should consult a medical professional if swelling does not reduce in the later stages of the healing process.
Unfortunately, things do not always go smoothly - in the event that you are feeling intense pain or your scars are not healing, you should contact your practitioner or another medical professional for assessment.
It is always possible that something can go wrong during surgery and any unexpected side effects may have serious implications for your health if not addressed urgently.
Directly after a surgical breast lift, the incisions will be covered with thin tape, followed by a larger dressing over the lower breasts.
These must be kept on for ten days, after which they should be removed by your medical practitioner for an inspection of the healing.
Then, for three weeks, a surgical bra must be worn. This will hold the shape of the breasts to ensure that healing can happen naturally without the weight of the breasts getting in the way.
The healing process can take up to 12 weeks, but may take longer - this always differs between patients and can be affected by bumps, knocks and exertion, which you should avoid at all costs.
Taking a week off work following a breast lift is often recommended.
To reduce the prominence of scars after the healing period, regularly applying scar gel and massaging the affected tissue will help to reduce their inflammation, and generous amounts of sun cream will reduce the impact of the sun's rays, which can affect the colouring of scars as they heal.
Regardless of discomfort, you should not attempt to remove any bandages, tape or wrap yourself. Instead, allow your practitioner to do so.
To remove dressings yourself can seriously inhibit the healing process, leaving breast tissue damaged and cause it to form in an undesirable way.
When washing, make sure to keep your chest dry and away from water or dripping hair. Instead, have gentle baths and wash carefully, avoiding the affected area.
If water and soap get into the scarring areas, this can slow healing, damage the supporting wraps and cause infection.
You should also avoid any strenuous activity for the duration of the heating process. This includes sports and exercise, heavy lifting and stretching in day-to-day activities.
On top of these points, it is important to refrain from touching, scrubbing and scratching scars during their healing process. Abrasive attention can also cause scars to become more visible after they have healed, so it is recommended that when washing them, you do so gently and with care.
While there are many things that can go wrong during surgery or the healing process, most are avoidable when you take the right approach to the healing process.
However, in some cases, surgery may be performed incorrectly, side effects may be missed, or you may receive the wrong advice or a lack of support during the healing process.
If your surgeon has caused you to suffer, this is called medical negligence, and you could be entitled to claim compensation.
You should seek a diagnosis from an independent medical practitioner as soon as you become aware that something may have gone wrong with your surgery.
If you are worried about this, you should contact an expert cosmetic surgery solicitor, such as those at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, who will be able to help you by providing advice on how to reclaim the finances you are owed and what support to seek.