Cosmetic Surgery Tips

can breast reduction surgery recovery time

Can Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery Time be Avoided?

Breast reduction surgery is a popular procedure for women who want to reduce the size of their breasts. This procedure can help women improve their self-esteem by reducing the size of their breasts. However, there are some risks associated with this procedure and you need to be aware of them before going under the knife.

The recovery time for breast reduction surgery can range from three weeks to six months depending on how long it takes your body to heal from the surgery. You will also have to take time off from work in order to recover from this procedure, which is another reason why it is important for you to consider all of your options before deciding whether or not this surgery is right for you.

There are some things that can be done before going into surgery that may help reduce some of the pain associated with having this type of procedure done on your body. One way that some people choose to reduce their pain after having this type of surgery done is through using ice packs or hot packs while they are recovering at home after returning home from hospitalization following their surgery date.”

can breast reduction surgery recovery time

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Breast Reduction?

Choosing to have breast reduction surgery can be a liberating moment. You’re doing something that will make you feel better emotionally and physically and improve your quality of life. With this decision comes the need to seek information. At Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI, we strive to answer your questions and make this momentous occasion as stress-free as possible.

Recovery Time After Breast Reduction Surgery

Every patient responds to surgery differently, so it’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take you to recover from this procedure. Realistically, you will need between two and six weeks to make a full recovery, although you’ll start to regain strength and energy within about seven days. You will likely need at least a week away from work, depending on the nature of your job, and during this time, you’ll have to limit your activities.

This means you will need help with meal preparation, housework, child care, shopping, and even caring for yourself. In addition, we recommend you not drive until you can comfortably wear a seatbelt. This can take between one and three weeks, so plan accordingly for your kids and your own appointments and needs.

A Suggested Timeline

Your surgery will only take a few hours, and then you’ll be placed in a recovery room where we can monitor your post-operative progress. We perform breast reduction as an outpatient procedure, and once you’re feeling alert enough, we will send you home.

You won’t be able to drive, so you’ll need to arrange for someone to bring you to and take you from surgery. That person should also plan on spending time with you at home to ensure you’re comfortable.

Day One

We consider this to be the same day as surgery, and once home, your goal is to simply rest. This will help your body start the healing process. You’ll be placed into a post-operative bra and have bandages over your incisions. But don’t worry – we’ll provide you with all the instructions necessary to properly care for your incisions.

This also marks the time when you’ll need to start wearing your bra 24 hours a day, except when showering. This helps keep you comfortable and also supports breast tissues as they recover from surgery.

Week One

You need this time away from work to continue resting. You should also use this first week to drink plenty of water – it helps with healing – eat well, and avoid strenuous activity. Stick to your pain medication schedule and familiarize yourself with the instructions we provided after surgery. If you have any questions during this time, we urge you to call our office right away.

We should also stress that your post-op instructions will likely differ from those of another patient. That’s why it is important to follow our recommendations for incision care, activity restrictions, and diet. They’re based on your needs specifically.

Gentle Walking

We’ve discussed the need for avoiding strenuous activities, but now is a good time to discuss what you can do just outside of surgery. Yes, rest is important, but you should also begin to incorporate some gentle walking each day. Start slowly, at maybe 10 minutes a day, and work your way up to 30 minutes.

This promotes blood flow, which your tissues need to heal, and prevents blood clots. Establishing this habit can also continue far beyond your healing period. Finally, walking will help you gradually return to normal activities.

No Heavy Lifting

After surgery, it’s important you refrain from straining your body. We therefore recommend you not lift anything heavy, including:

  • Weighted purses or briefcases
  • Grocery bags
  • Milk and juice jugs
  • Dog food bags
  • Cat litter bags
  • Vacuum cleaner

These recommendations will hold for at least two weeks. Additionally, don’t pick up or lift children, and keep your arms at a comfortable position without raising them over your head. Also avoid stretching and exercising until we give you the go-ahead.

Month One

Throughout this month, your body will change in a variety of ways. Your incisions will heal, although it may be several months before we recommend a return to underwire bras; the wire can chafe and damage skin that is still recovering. You’ll also note more energy and reduced pain in the neck and shoulders because, simply, your breasts are smaller.

This will mean more freedom of movement, but we recommend you slowly ease back into full activities. There’s no need to rush. Toward the end of the month, you will likely be cleared for low-impact exercises. You’ll be back to work, driving again, and caring for yourself. In other words, you’ll be back to your old self – only better.

Ways to Help Your Recovery

Much of your recovery will depend on you. If you follow the instructions we provide, you’ll likely enjoy a shorter healing period. For instance, planning for your return home after surgery can make life a little easier. Pour water, milk, and juice into small containers and have them ready in the refrigerator; this will allow you to drink without worry of lifting heavy gallon jugs.

Meal Plans

By planning what you’re going to eat for at least those first few days after surgery, you can give yourself more crucial time to heal. Pre-made meals that you store in the refrigerator or freezer can be easily heated in the microwave. In your planning, opt for high-protein foods like eggs, poultry, and fish. Protein can help you heal more quickly, and a simple meal of dark, leafy greens and grilled chicken is nutritious and comforting.

Plan for snacks as well. Cubed cheese, crackers, pretzels, and fruit are perfect for accompanying your medications and can be enjoyed almost effortlessly. Yogurt and nuts make equally smart choices. Use plasticware and paper plates so you don’t have to worry about washing dishes or loading and unloading the dishwasher as you heal.


Loose, cotton pants or shorts and button-down shirts will be the most comfortable choices after surgery. Have a few outfits laid out to simplify dressing, and keep your nightwear within easy reach for nighttime. You should also:

  • Designate a space for wound supplies and medications
  • Create a basket with reading materials and TV remote controls
  • Stock flexible neck straws, extra gauze, and antibacterial soap in the house

The Procedure Explained

The purpose of this procedure is to reduce the weight and size of heavy breasts. To do this, we ensure results are more proportionate to the rest of your body. You then see a smaller bust that is more lifted, youthful, and contoured.

During surgery, we remove extra fat and stretched skin. This eliminates sagging so your silhouette as a whole is improved. We also ensure breasts are more symmetrical, correct stretched areolas, and reduce nipple size. Overall, your breasts will be lighter, well-balanced, and more attractive whether in or out of your clothes.

common problems after breast reduction surgery

What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?

The decision to have breast reduction surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks of breast reduction surgery and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or plastic surgery staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.

Possible breast reduction surgery risks include:

  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injectable agents
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs – can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Excessive firmness of the breast
  • Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Infection
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Potential inability to breastfeed
  • Potential loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other
  • Potential, partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
  • Unfavorable scarring

You should know that:

  • Breast reduction surgery can interfere with certain diagnostic procedures
  • Breast and nipple piercing can cause an infection
  • Your ability to breastfeed following reduction mammaplasty may be limited; talk to your doctor if you are planning to nurse a baby
  • The breast reduction procedure can be performed at any age, but is best done when your breasts are fully developed
  • Changes in the breasts during pregnancy can alter the outcomes of previous breast reduction surgery, as can significant weight fluctuations

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single breast reduction procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

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