Planning to get breast reduction surgery? The breast reduction surgery itself takes about 3 to 4 hours. Your recovery phase however requires a lot more of your attention, time and dedication to get the best results. Now, that you have finally decided to get it done, here is some useful information about the recovery after breast reduction surgery.
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Timeline for Recovery After Breast Reduction Surgery
Day 1 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Your surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. As soon as you wake up after the surgery, let the hospital staff know if you are feeling any pain or nausea. The nurses will immediately take care of any sort of discomfort. Once you are alert, Dr Carmen will brief you about your post-op instructions including home care, incision care, restrictions, medications and more. Make sure you clearly understand all the instructions. Ask as many questions as you want until you fully understand everything.
Typically after a stay of 1 to 2 days you can go home from hospital. Make sure to arrange for someone responsible to drive you home in advance as you can’t leave hospital on your own. Your breasts will be covered in bandages, and a post-surgery support bra. Your breasts will be swollen at this point. Now you have just one job and that is to rest completely. You will need someone to support you and help you around your home. Having adequate rest will allow your body to heal faster and ensure better results. Absolutely NO Smoking in the early stages of recovery!
Week 1 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Depending on your occupation, you will need to take about two weeks off from work. It is necessary if you wish to have a smooth recovery. During the first week, focus all your energy on eating healthy, drinking loads of water, sleeping and avoid all kinds of strenuous activities. During week one, you may also experience mild to moderate discomfort. It is fairly normal and is part of the healing process. Take all the prescribed medications on time to minimize pain and risk of infections.
Take care of your bandage and follow Dr Carmen’s instruction. Attend all your follow up appointments. Review the specific instructions given by your surgeon from time to time. If you have any confusion, you can always call the Dr Carmen’s team. Try not to just Google anything and everything. The internet is loaded with information and it is not always tailored for you. Listen to Dr Carmen before you trust the internet.
By the end of week one, you can slowly start walking around the house to get your blood flow going. Avoid smoking and alcohol in the early stages of healing as can hinder the healing process and cause a poor result.
Week 2 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Your breasts will still feel tender even by week two, accompanied by a certain degree of swelling and bruising. You might feel the urge to scratch the incision part as it begins to heal and become dryer. Your dressings will be removed by the second week. Keep wearing your compression bra as it will help with the swelling and keep your new breasts in shape by helping the tissues adopt the desired contour. Limit your sodium intake and drink lots of water or liquids to help minimize swelling.
One Month after Breast Reduction Surgery
At the one-month mark, you should begin to feel fairly normal. You can usually resume working as well as do light activities around the house including house chores. You will start to see and feel the benefits of the surgery, reduced back and neck pain, better fitting clothes, freedom to move around more. Even though you feel completely normal, remember that you are still healing. Please avoid vigorous exercise and strain early in your recovery.
Depending on the nature of your job, Dr Carmen will allow you to go back to work, start driving again, maybe do some low impact exercises. Keep on wearing the compression bra and stick to breathable and comfortable clothes. At this point, she will get you started on the scar removal options such as silicone tapes, massage oils or scar creams that will help minimize the appearance of your scars over time.
Two Months Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Once two months pass by, you will feel fully recovered but your body is still healing. About 80 per cent of the swelling will be gone in about two weeks. You will be allowed to return to your exercise routine and wear the clothes of your choice. You will probably get the urge to buy and wear cute new bras now you have your dream breasts. When it comes to surgical bra, keep wearing it for at least another month!
Long Term Recovery after Breast Reduction
Remember that everyone’s body is different and heals at a different pace. Some people feel completely fine by 8 weeks while others will require 12 to 14 weeks to feel completely normal. You will experience numbness in the chest area for many months to come.
Your scars will gradually start to lighten. Keep using the scar treatment solutions Dr Carmen has prescribed you, wear an SPF while going out in the sun and you will be good. It might not feel like it but your breasts will stay slightly swollen for a few months after the surgery.
Be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal effectively. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well you follow your surgeon’s instructions. So, stick with them like glue!
Top Tips – How to Prepare in Advance for Your Recovery from Breast Reduction
Now, that you have a general idea of how your recovery timeline will look like. Let’s look at a few tips that will help you prepare in advance:
- Make sure you can take the time off from work in advance. During your consultation, you need to discuss how much time will you need off from work and apply for leave accordingly. Allow a bit extra.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home in advance. You don’t wish to be fretting about it after the surgery when you are covered in bandages.
- You need to arrange for someone to help you around the house for at least one week. The more support the better. Ask a friend, a family member or hire some household help.
- Do your grocery shopping in advance, meal prep if you can so you don’t have to worry about how you are going to feed yourself after the surgery. Move your groceries and utensils onto a lower shelf.
- Shop for all the necessary items you might need in a month or two after the surgery. It is never fun to go shopping when you are not feeling well.
- Find your comfy recovery PJ’s and clothes – buy yourself some new ones.
- Go compression bra shopping as that is pretty much what you are going to wear for the next 12 weeks to come.
- Get all the medical lab tests done that your surgeon requires in advance.
- Stop taking any supplements that can interfere with your surgery
- Arrange your room accordingly. Make sure you have room to keep water, food, snacks, medication near your bed. Stock up on comfortable pillows and bedding.
- Last but not the least, get excited about the surgery. Most people spend the pre-surgery time worrying about what can go wrong after the surgery. Focus on what will go right. Stay positive and happy!
Breast Reduction Recovery FAQs
How long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?
- The recovery period varies from person to person but it will generally take you between 8 to 12 weeks to recover adequately from the breast reduction surgery.
What is the fastest way to recover from a breast reduction?
- The fastest way to recover from breast reduction surgery is by closely following all the post-operative instructions given by your surgeon. Eat healthy foods, drink loads of water, take plenty of rest, do not miss your medications and follow up visits. Avoid smoking, alcohol, straining, vigorous exercise, and changing your own bandages.
What can you not do after breast reduction surgery?
- You need to stop any kind of physical activity for at least a month. Heavy lifting is a big no-no for at least the first 12 weeks. You will also be asked to quit smoking and drinking for a specified time duration. Once you are fully healed, you can resume all your normal activities.
How long do I need to sleep on my back after breast reduction?
- It is recommended to sleep on your back for 8 to 12 weeks to allow your breasts to heal fully.
How bad is the pain after a breast reduction?
- You will feel mild to moderate pain for the first few days post-surgery. Do not worry as Dr Carmen will prescribe you painkillers to counter the pain.
How do you get out of bed after a breast reduction?
- Avoid rolling over to get out of bed as puts stress on your breasts. As you will be sleeping on your back, sit up first and then slowly get out of the bed.
What happens at 6 weeks post-op breast reduction?
- By the six week mark, your energy will return to normal. You will be able to do most of the activities around your house. Your stitches will likley dissolve and swelling will also go down significantly. You need to well-healed internally before the stitches dissolve.
Can you sleep on your side after breast reduction?
- No, you cannot sleep on your side for a period of 8 to 12 weeks after a breast reduction surgery.
How long do breasts stay swollen after reduction?
- While most of the swelling subsides by the 2-month market, residual swelling can last for about 3 to 4 months or more.
How long do I wear a compression bra after breast reduction?
- Wear a compression bra for at least six weeks after the breast reduction surgery.
How do you wash your hair after a breast reduction?
- Make sure you wash your hair before your surgery as it is very difficult to wash your hair for a few days post-surgery. When you do plan to shampoo your hair, gently bend your head to the front. Bend your elbow to wash your hair with the help of a hand-held shower. Make sure to keep your arms close to your body. Get a helper!
How do you clean a breast reduction wound?
- Get your hands on a fragrance-free, anti-bacterial soap. Wash your breasts with warm water, soap, and rinse gently. Do not aim the shower at your breasts directly.
Is it normal to have sharp pains after a breast reduction?
- Tingling, burning or intermittent shooting pain can be a common part of healing after breast reduction surgery as your sensory nerves heal.
Does your stomach swell after breast reduction?
- You will experience swelling 3-5 days after the breast reduction surgery. It will go away within 2 weeks after the surgery.
When can I start walking after breast reduction?
- Avoid walking for the first 3 to 4 weeks or till your surgeon gives you a go. Start with light walking.
How long do you wear a sports bra after breast reduction?
- Wear a sports bra for at least six weeks after the breast reduction surgery.
How soon can you exercise after breast reduction?
- You can start light exercising four weeks after breast reduction surgery. Avoid lifting heavy weights or strenuous exercising for 8 to 12 weeks.
Can I do exercise squats after breast reduction?
- You can do squats around four to six weeks after the breast reduction surgery.
When can I go to the gym after breast reduction?
- You can resume working out 8 to 12 weeks after the breast reduction surgery. Make sure to ask your surgeon before working out.
Is a breast reduction worth it?
- Yes, Realself surveys consistently rate breast reduction surgery as worth it. It not only gives you a more proportionate figure and breast contour but also gets rid of back pain, rashes, and neck pain.