Breast Reduction

What To Expect After Breast Reduction Surgery

Once the stitches are in place, the incision will be covered in gauze dressing and then wrapped in a bandage or surgical bra to hold them in place. A surgical bra is somewhat like a sports bra with a front opening. It is constructed in such a way that the seams don’t hit the incision sites, and it is very adjustable.

There may be some pain in the first day or two after the procedure and some discomfort for about a week. Moving around and coughing may make the pain worse. The doctor will prescribe medication to control pain and discomfort.

  • Women are advised not to shower for at least the first several days after the operation.
  • The bandages and drainage tube are removed a day or two after the operation, but the surgical bra should be worn 24 hours a day for about a month.
  • Stitches are usually ready to come out one to two weeks after the operation.

It is normal for the area around the nipple and lower breast to feel different after the surgery. It usually returns to normal in a couple of months, though in some patients can take much longer. If the nipples were moved, the loss of feeling on the nipples will likely be permanent.

  • A small amount of fluid draining from the wound, and even some crusting around the incision, is normal. However, if there is severe pain or bleeding, contact a doctor.
  • Breasts will ache and feel tender for a couple of weeks. The first menstruation after the operation may cause pain and swelling in the breasts.
  • You can usually get back to light work in 2 to 3 weeks. Your surgeon will discuss this with you. The stress and strain of surgery leaves most people feeling fatigued for several weeks.
  • Exercising should be limited to stretching, bending and swimming for the first few weeks until stamina returns. A good athletic bra is recommended for support.
  • It is best to avoid heavy lifting or pushing for at least a month.
  • Surgeons often ask women to refrain from having sexual intercourse for a week or so after the reduction procedure because becoming sexually aroused can cause the wound to swell. Anything but gentle contact with the breasts should be avoided.

How To Information:

How should I prepare for the recovery process?

Plan to spend about two inactive weeks at home engaging in light activities such as reading and watching television. It might be a good idea to gather a supply of your favorite books, magazines, and videos.

In addition, it might be helpful to:

  • Stock the house with easy-to-fix meals, like frozen dinners. Get bendable straws and canned drinks instead of heavy 2-liter bottles.
  • Get soft ice packs or have packages of frozen peas available to apply to sore areas.
  • Put plates, cups, and other frequently used items in low, easy-to-reach places.
  • Put pet food in smaller containers to avoid lifting heavy bags at feeding time.
  • Have slip-on shoes or slippers that don’t require bending down, as well as button-front tops that don’t need to be pulled over the head.
  • Get a seamless cotton sports bra that hooks in front.
  • Have plenty of pillows on hand.

How Long Until Full Recovery?

The breasts don’t usually achieve their final shape immediately after surgery. It takes up to six months for everything to settle down. The scars from breast reduction surgery are noticeable and usually permanent, and they can remain lumpy and red for months. Most scars will become less noticeable over time and may fade to thin white lines. The scars are limited to the lower part of the breast and therefore will not show under low-cut tops and bathing suits

It may take a while to adjust to the new look. Women who have undergone this procedure should give themselves, their families, and their friends time to adjust. Be patient. Breast reduction surgery has the highest patient satisfaction rate of any of the cosmetic procedures. Nearly every woman who has this procedure is pleased with the outcome.

Nice To Know:

Some surgeons are working to develop new techniques, such as vertical mammaplasty, that reduce the amount of scarring, especially under the breasts. These techniques are not often used for breast reduction because it can be somewhat difficult to control the outcome. However, in some cases, these new techniques can be used. If a woman is concerned about scarring, she should discuss newer techniques with her doctor.


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