It’s been one week since my surgery, and I’ve finally started to feel like myself again.
I’m still very swollen and sore, but I’m getting better every day. The first few days after the surgery were pretty rough—it hurt to move and even breathe deeply. But now that I’ve been home for a few days, it’s gotten easier to move around, which has helped me sleep better at night. I still have some deep bruising along my ribs and under my breasts, but it’s starting to fade away.
The hardest part so far has been trying to find clothes that fit me right now. My back is really broad right now because of all the swelling, so it fits into regular-sized shirts but not button-up shirts; they’re too tight across my back. And while I can wear my old bras, they don’t fit quite right anymore—they’re too loose around the band but too tight across the cups because of the swelling in those areas.
My doctor told me that once everything settles down and heals over time (about 4-6 weeks), my body should look more or less like it did before this whole process began—except with smaller breasts!
1 week after breast reduction surgery
BREAST REDUCTION RECOVERY: TIMELINE, TIPS, & WHAT TO EXPECT
A breast reduction is an operation that simultaneously reduces the skin of the breast and lifts it to create a natural, youthful and lighter appearance. It is performed under general anesthesia. The process of recovering from breast reduction is different for everyone, and it depends upon several factors. Your genetics, personal tolerance for pain, type of surgical technique performed, and the amount of breast tissue to be removed all play a role in how quickly your recovery will be.
This article relays a typical breast reduction surgery recovery experience. The better prepared you are for a mindful at-home recovery, the quicker you will heal. Proper healing will also allow you to achieve the best result possible after surgery.
BREAST REDUCTION RECOVERY TIMELINE
1-3 Days Post-Surgery
After returning home following surgery, you will be wearing sterile dressings and a surgical bra to protect your incisions and stitches. I do not routinely use drains for breast reductions. Swelling following surgery will be the most significant at this time and over the next few days, which can cause some discomfort. You can also expect to feel tired and sleepy following a general anesthetic and surgery in general. You may shower 48 hours after your surgery.
Be sure to pay attention to your postoperative instructions during this time. You will have received prescription pain medication, antibiotics, and instructions on how to care for your incisions. Movement will be difficult, so it is a good idea to enlist a friend or family member to help you bathe and change your bandages during these first few days.
1-2 Week Post-Surgery
Between 5-14 days after your surgery, you may still feel tired, particularly if you are taking narcotic pain medication. Allow yourself to rest as much as needed, but be sure to continue walking small distances frequently. Your body is healing, which takes a lot of energy. During this time period, you will notice your swelling begins to subside, although bruising may remain.
I use absorbable sutures only for breast reductions and will trim any visible suture “tails” at this appointment. At the two week mark, you will begin silicone sheeting or gel treatments to help your scars heal as finely as possible. Be mindful of how you move and avoid lifting heavy objects.
2-4 Weeks Post Surgery
Between two and four weeks, you will be returning to your normal activities, although some movements may cause minor discomfort. It is not uncommon to have itching as your incisions heal. Swelling should be noticeably reduced. You still need to remain in a soft bra without an underwire.
During this time, you will be cleared to resume most of your normal daily activities. Keep avoiding strenuous activity, especially in the area of your chest.
4-6 Weeks Post Surgery:
After a full month of healing your energy will have returned, and you should feel comfortable resuming all typical daily activities. If you had dissolvable stitches, they will likely be gone by now.
Around this time your doctor will give you permission to resume exercise or to soak in a bath, and it should be ok to return to your favorite underwire bra. By six weeks, you will feel comfortable sleeping on your stomach or your side, and much more confident about strength and range of motion in your chest.
PAIN AND BREAST REDUCTIONS
Incisional pain is normal immediately after breast reduction surgery, however most patients seeking a reduction for back or neck pain will feel an immediate sense of relief once the weight is literally removed off their chest.
Understand the side effects of anesthesia and your pain medications. It is normal to experience some nausea in the first few days as you recover. Stay ahead of your pain by taking medications at the earliest onset of pain, and not when you are experiencing pain at its peak. Most people are able to reduce or stop their pain medication between three to seven days after surgery.
SCARRING AND BREAST REDUCTIONS
Scarring will occur with all incisions; however skilled plastic surgeons utilize meticulous technique to minimize the visibility and appearance of post-surgical scarring. Most scars will be fine and fade over time. Some risk factors for scarring cannot be controlled, such as your genetics, your age, or the color of your skin. If you have scars from other surgeries or accidents, you can gain a sense of how your body typically forms scars.
There are, however, some instructions you can follow to reduce the appearance of scars:
- Eat a healthy, protein-rich diet to provide the necessary building blocks to heal your incisions
- Avoid activities that place stress on your incisions, which can widen them
- Follow all post-procedure care orders carefully when it comes to wound care
- Utilize silicone gel or sheeting following surgery to minimize scar tissue formation
- Consider post-procedure scar treatments once you are healed
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR A SPEEDY BREAST REDUCTION RECOVERY
- Have a trusted helper with you for the first 24-48 hours
- Get plenty of rest and sleep
- Avoid lifting heavy things for 2 weeks. Lift nothing overhead for 3-4 weeks
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Avoid inflammatory foods that are high in salt or sugar
- Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on your incisions
- Begin easy movement, such as walking, as soon as you can
Finally, make sure you have a great relationship with your plastic surgeon, who can answer all your questions in advance of and after surgery so you know what to expect. Armed with this information, you can rest easy knowing you are taking appropriate care and precautions while you are recovering to maximize your surgical result.
breast reduction recovery week by week
BREAST REDUCTION RECOVERY WEEK BY WEEK
DEC 8, 2016 @ 12:00 PM — BY DINA ELIOPOULOS
When the size of the breasts causes pain, discomfort, or insecurity, breast reduction may help. Breast reduction surgery can create smaller, firmer breasts, improving patients’ appearance and confidence. As with any surgery, breast reduction requires some time for recovery. During private consultations, Dr. Dina Eliopoulos provides each patient with a personalized breast reduction recovery timeline. Contact Dr. Eliopoulos’ Center for Plastic Surgery in Chelmsford, MA practice to get more details on breast reduction recovery and find out what to expect after surgery.
Recovery after Breast Reduction
Every patient’s recovery experience is unique and will vary based on personal healing times, current health, lifestyle factors, and how well pre- and post-surgical instructions were followed. With that said, the following is a general timeline similar to what most patients will experience after breast reduction surgery.
The First Few Days after Surgery
Breast reduction surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis or may require an overnight hospital stay. Whether a patient goes home the day of surgery or stays overnight, patients can expect to feel some pain, discomfort, bruising, and swelling during the first few days of recovery due to manipulation of the breast tissues and incisions.
Pain medication will be prescribed to help manage discomfort during recovery. Drainage tubes may be placed to help remove excess fluid and reduce swelling. If drainage tubes are placed, they are generally removed after a few days. The breasts will also be bandaged and supported by an elastic bandage or a special bra to help keep the tissues in place and reduce strain.
The First Two Weeks after Surgery
Patients should expect to take a full week off of work after surgery and may require more time depending on personal healing times. Most people are recovered enough to return to their normal routines after two weeks, but strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for about four weeks. Stitches are typically removed one to two weeks after surgery and patients are advised to continue wearing a surgical bra.
Pain, bruising, and swelling may persist for a couple of weeks after surgery. However, these side effects should subside as the body heals. If pain or swelling becomes worse and is accompanied by redness, it may be a sign of infection or other complication and should be brought to your physician’s attention immediately.
The Next Few Weeks to Several Months
As healing progresses, pain, bruising, and swelling should continue to decrease. However, it may take six months to a year for swelling to fully resolve and the final results of breast reduction surgery to be seen. Additionally, it is important to be gentle with the breasts for the next four to six weeks to reduce the risk of complications and allow the breasts sufficient time to heal. Some patients may experience numbness or altered nipple and breast tissue sensation after surgery. In most cases, this is temporary and will resolve as the tissues heal, but in some cases, it may be permanent.