Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How Long After Breast Reduction Can I Take a Bath

When you’ve had breast reduction surgery, you might be wondering when it’s safe to take a bath.

The answer is: right away!

In fact, taking a bath is one of the best ways to help your body recover from any kind of surgery. It will help reduce swelling, ease discomfort, and help your stitches heal faster. And since breast reduction surgery is such a major procedure, it’s important to take care of yourself as much as possible during this recovery period.

However, there are some things to keep in mind when you’re bathing after breast reduction surgery:

The first thing is that you should avoid taking baths with hot water for at least two weeks after your surgery because hot water can cause irritation and aggravate existing wounds (especially if they’re still healing). You’ll also want to avoid using soaps or other products around your breasts until those wounds have fully healed—usually about six weeks after the procedure.

How Long After Breast Reduction Can I Take a Bath

Every type of breast surgery will require incisions. Caring for your incisions is essential to reduce visible scarring. There are several things that will need to be done to keep your incisions clean and dry – not the least of which is avoiding the bathtub, swimming pools, or any other body of water that would allow your incisions to be submerged.

It can take about 48 hours for breast surgery incisions to close completely. During this time, even showering should be avoided to help prevent their reopening, which could lead to complications including infection or the development of thicker scars. As such, it is best to avoid showering within the first 48 hours of your procedure as well.

Many women find they have recovered sufficiently to take baths by week two or three. During your follow up visits at our Houston plastic surgery center, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ravi Somayazula will assess how well you are recovering and make personalized suggestions based on what is best at each stage of incision healing. We typically recommend that you should not take a bath until that incision is fully recovered, which is at six weeks.

CARING FOR YOUR BREAST SURGERY INCISIONS

While showing may need to be avoided for 48 hours and bathing for six weeks, it is important that you keep your incisions clean at all times during the recovery period. While the incisions are healing, this can be done with a soft cloth, sponge, or piece of gauze that has been wetted with warm water. Using a mild and non-irritating soap, gently clean the skin surrounding the incision. Be careful not to agitate or rub the incision itself.

We will provide you with specific instructions and gentle guidance during your time in our care to help make this process easier.

You can further care for your incisions after breast surgery by:

  • Avoiding all forms of nicotine. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. It will cause thicker scars
  • Avoiding activities that could cause the incisions to separate or stretch
  • Carefully following all of our pre and postoperative directions

You may need to stop taking certain medications, supplements, or herbs before your procedure to help reduce risks. These same products may need to be avoided during your recovery phase as well. All of this will be discussed in greater detail during your initial consultation at our Houston office.

Weight Loss After Breast Reduction: How To Lose the Belly Fat

Do you love your body, but wish you had smaller, more proportionate breasts? Breast reductions are very popular among our plastic surgery patients, providing a go-to solution for minimizing discomfort caused by large breasts. Let’s take a look at what a breast reduction can (and can’t) accomplish, plus surgical and nonsurgical procedures to help you get rid of that stubborn belly fat for full body contouring.

Can a Breast Reduction Help You Lose Weight?

A breast reduction can boost your confidence and enhance the way you look, offering numerous benefits such as:

  • Improved breast and nipple shape, size, and position
  • More proportionate breasts in relation to your body size
  • Minimized excess fat, tissue, and skin in the breasts
  • Reduced back pain, neck pain, and physical discomfort
  • Decreased skin irritation and bra strap indentations

In addition to these benefits, many of our breast reduction patients find that it’s much easier to exercise. That alone promotes weight loss after a breast reduction procedure. Any woman with large breasts can tell you how prohibitive they can be when you try to work out, which is why it’s easy to understand how a breast reduction could make a difference. Along with easier exercise, you might also notice your breasts are lighter and more symmetrical, allowing for improved posture and reduced discomfort.

4 Procedures for Body Contouring After Breast Reduction

While a breast reduction can improve your overall shape, a body contouring procedure may also be beneficial and help enhance your aesthetic results. It’s important to remember that body contouring procedures are not weight loss treatments, but they can help support your efforts by making exercise even more comfortable and addressing concerns such as excess, sagging skin and separated muscles due to pregnancy.

Both surgical and nonsurgical procedures can target unwanted belly fat after a breast reduction, or even at the same time, such as:

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a highly coveted procedure for those seeking a smoother, more toned abdomen. Tummy tuck patients typically pursue the procedure to address loose, sagging skin and muscle weakness resulting from weight changes, pregnancy, or the natural effects of aging. Just like no two patients have the same body type, there are different tummy tuck techniques to address different areas of concern.

For example, the “fleur-de-lis” technique is most effective for those seeking body contouring after massive weight loss, whereas a conventional tummy tuck is most beneficial for Mommy Makeover patients. If you’re interested in having a tummy tuck along with your breast reduction, one of our board-certified plastic surgeons can recommend the best technique for you during your consultation.

Liposuction

Liponique, our signature approach to liposuction, allows you to customize your procedure to target specific areas with unwanted fat that don’t seem to respond to diet and exercise. During a Liponique procedure, our breast and body specialists combine different liposuction and body sculpting technologies, such as the latest laser devices, to achieve the optimal results for your body.

Unsure whether you should pursue a tummy tuck or liposuction? 

A tummy tuck is ideal for patients looking to remove excess fat and excess skin from the midsection. It’s also the go-to option for patients who need their muscles tightened after they’ve become stretched or separated during pregnancy or weight changes. On the other hand, liposuction is great for targeting small fat deposits in different areas such as the stomach, hips, and thighs. Some of our patients even combine a tummy tuck with Liponique to address multiple areas at once for full body contouring.

CoolSculpting ELITE

CoolSculpting ELITE is the new and improved version of CoolSculpting, a noninvasive treatment designed to get rid of pockets of stubborn, unwanted fat on several areas of the face and body, without the need for surgery or downtime. Once CoolSculpting ELITE destroys fat cells, they are gone for good, making it a highly effective option for nonsurgical fat reduction. 

In fact, CoolSculpting ELITE achieves up to 25 percent fat reduction in treated areas, including:

  • Abdomen
  • Side or flanks
  • Bra rolls
  • Upper arms
  • Back fat
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Double chin
  • Jawline

Some patients choose CoolSculpting ELITE to enhance results following a tummy tuck, while others use it as a stand-alone fat reduction treatment. Either (or both) can be combined with your breast reduction procedure to achieve your desired results. It all comes down to your body and your goals for your appearance!

SculpSure

Like CoolSculpting ELITE, SculpSure™ is a nonsurgical treatment designed to reduce unwanted fat using state-of-the-art laser technology. While CoolSculpting ELITE uses the science behind cryolipolysis or “fat freezing,” SculpSure uses heat to gradually reduce up to 25 percent of fat in treated areas over time. At our practice, we offer both CoolSculpting ELITE and SculpSure nonsurgical body contouring options, so you can learn more about both treatments and discuss with our specialists in consultation which might be right for you.

How Do I Choose the Right Procedure For Me?

One of our board-certified plastic surgeons, who specialize in breast and body contouring procedures, can help you determine whether a tummy tuck, liposuction, or nonsurgical fat reduction treatment is the best fit for you. Our breast and body specialists can also make a recommendation based on the amount of belly fat you have, any specific concerns such as muscle tightening after pregnancy, and your personal preferences on:

  • Surgical versus nonsurgical procedures
  • Instantaneous versus gradual results
  • Short recovery versus no downtime

Many of our patients opt to combine or follow up weight loss and fat reduction procedures with a breast reduction to enhance their results. Combining procedures to target different areas is a great way to achieve full body contouring. For example, you might also wish to combine an arm lift (brachioplasty) with your breast reduction and fat reduction procedures, to sculpt your upper arms at the same time.

Some of our breast reduction patients also seek out CoolTone, a nonsurgical muscle toning treatment that uses magnetic muscle stimulation to add definition to the abdomen after fat reduction and improve athletic performance. CoolTone firms, tones, and strengthens muscles to accelerate exercise and training results for peak performance, and it can help maintain muscles you’ve built and toned in the gym. 

Full Body Contouring, Custom-Tailored To Meet Your Goals

As you can see, there are numerous options available to help enhance your breast reduction results by contouring other areas of your body. With the right customized approach, you can enjoy the perfect breast size and shape for your body and get rid of unwanted fat for a smooth, sculpted appearance from head to toe.

7 Things to Know if You’re Considering Breast Reduction

Have you spent years dealing with aches and pains associated with large breasts (and skin irritation to boot)? Breast reduction surgery can offer both transformative aesthetic results and much-deserved relief! And other than its more obvious benefits, breast reduction can open a whole new world of wardrobe choices and comfortable exercise options. 

La Jolla plastic surgeon Dr. Katerina Gallus has helped women of all ages achieve a better quality of life through breast reduction. Here, she shares 7 points potential breast reduction patients should know when considering this procedure. 

1. Breast reduction may not achieve the exact cup size you want

On average, I can achieve a 1-2 cup size decrease while still providing safe, beautiful breast reduction results. During your free consultation at my La Jolla office, I will give you my professional opinion on how much tissue can safely be removed to best meet your lifestyle and aesthetic goals. We use Vectra 3D imaging during consultations at Restore SD Plastic Surgery to allow you to envision your potential breast reduction results, adjust them in real time, and feel confident in your surgery plan. My goal is to maintain balanced proportions that enhance your natural beauty, in addition to alleviating any symptoms you may have. 

This means that, in the consultation, you may learn that the exact cup size you have in mind now may not be safe to achieve (or, in some cases, may not be complementary to your frame and proportions). That said, 97% of patients are happy with their breast reduction results, and learning the nuances of the procedure that’s ideal for your body and your goals requires a consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.

2. A breast lift will be a part of your breast reduction surgery

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is an essential part of your breast reduction (technically called “reduction mammaplasty”). Once the desired amount of tissue is removed, your breasts are reshaped and repositioned to sit higher on your chest, and your nipple-areolar complex is repositioned as well. Your areolas (the pigmented skin around your nipples) can also be resized during breast reduction surgery. Liposuction will likely be used to further refine your new breast contours by removing excess fat or “bra bulges” for optimal results. 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9YirkGklu2k?feature=oembedIn this episode of Carpools & Cannulas: Modern Motherhood and Plastic Surgery, Dr. Katerina Gallus and Dr. Jennifer Greer of Greer Plastic Surgery in Cleveland, OH, break down their breast lift techniques and discuss how breast lifting relates to reduction surgery. They cover everything from realistic expectations from surgery to what the recovery time is like. Bonus content—how to remove foreign bodies from your child’s nose!

Many patients combine surgeries in a procedure called a “mommy makeover” to achieve more complete body contouring results and take advantage of a single recovery period. Common procedures that complement breast reduction may include a tummy tuck, liposuction, Brazilian butt lift (BBL), or vaginal rejuvenation. 

3. You may have reduced nipple sensation

During your breast reduction procedure, blood and oxygen supply is carefully monitored to preserve the tissue and nerve endings in your nipple-areolar complex as much as possible. After surgery, your nipples may feel numb for a few weeks to a few months, and a small percentage of patients do not regain full sensation in this area. If you are concerned about losing nipple sensation, rest assured that I use surgical techniques for every single patient that are proven to be more effective at preserving nipple sensation. 

4. Breastfeeding may be challenging after breast reduction surgery

The surgical technique required to meet your goals may also impact your ability to successfully breastfeed. One study comparing the breastfeeding success rates of common incision techniques to preserve milk ducts showed a 37-100% success rate for partial preservation techniques and a 75-100% success rate for full preservation techniques. The breastfeeding success rate with no milk duct preservation ranged from 0-38%.   

A highly-experienced San Diego plastic surgeon can usually preserve the milk ducts during most breast surgeries, and even severed milk ducts can reattach and produce milk. Your breastfeeding success rate will depend on the number of functioning milk ducts you have as well as other factors like hormone levels and your baby’s ability to latch.    

5. Your insurance may cover the cost of surgery

Breast reduction treats symptoms of symptomatic macromastia (large breasts), such as shoulder and back pain and skin issues that may form between or beneath the breasts. While insurance coverage varies widely, some policies do cover reduction surgery. That said, many policies require a treatment history that shows other procedures were insufficient in treating your medical issues, such as chiropractic care for shoulder and back pain and dermatological care for skin issues. Additionally, some policies require a certain volume of breast tissue to be removed to be considered reconstructive and eligible for coverage. 

Until a patient proves it’s medically necessary and has attempted to treat their symptoms with other remediations, breast reduction surgery will likely be considered cosmetic and, therefore, not be covered. Ultimately, the individual policy and insurance reviewer will decide whether or not your case warrants coverage, so check with them before scheduling your surgery.

6. Breast reduction requires considerable downtime

Breast reduction is a major surgery, and you’ll need to plan to take 1-2 weeks off of work during the initial recovery period. While you will be encouraged to take short walks to promote good blood flow, you’ll be asked to pause certain daily activities and exercise for 4-6 weeks. Full recovery from breast reduction surgery takes about 6 weeks, with near-final results visible between 12-16 weeks. Your commitment to the recovery guidelines we provide will significantly affect your final results and scar appearance. 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MVKmd2G7h7o?feature=oembedIn this episode of Carpools & Cannulas, Dr. Gallus and Dr. Greer talk post-op care, answering questions like—Why are compression garments so ill-fitting? Do you really need a drain? What about lymphatic massage?

7. Scar care is crucial for natural-looking results

You will have visible scars after your breast reduction—most of which will be below the nipple and covered by bras or swimsuits (breast reduction incisions are usually made in an “anchor” or “lollipop” shape that circle the areola and extend down to the base of your breasts). I advise my patients to avoid straining incisions while they are healing and to begin a scar gel regimen one month post-op to minimize their appearance. Your scars will be slightly raised with a red or pink color for several months. Gradually and with proper care, they will darken and fade into thin lines. Be consistent and patient with scar care, as surgical scars can take up to two years to fade to their final appearance. 

Common Problems After Breast Reduction Surgery

People who have had breast reduction surgery often have a number of problems while they are healing. These issues can be as minor as aches and pains or as major as conditions that need medical help. They should know about these problems so they are ready to get help from their doctor or nurse when they need it.

It’s normal for people who have had breast reduction surgery to feel pain and soreness. This is normal as your body gets used to the changes in your breast tissue and heals from surgery. People may also have swelling and bruises in the days and weeks after surgery. To control this, take the painkillers your surgeon recommends and do what they say about how to care for yourself after surgery.

People who have had surgery may sometimes get sick afterward. It hurts more, is red and warm, and swells up. These are all signs of an infection. People who think they might be sick should call their doctor right away to be checked out and treated. Infections can be cured with drugs most of the time, but sometimes more needs to be done.

Another problem that could happen after breast reduction surgery is a change in how the nipple feels. In some patients, their nipples and the area around them may feel tingly or numb for a short time. Most of the time, this only lasts a short time and goes away on its own as the nerves heal. But sometimes, patients may notice long-lasting changes in how their nipple feels. If you are worried about how the nipple will feel after surgery, you should talk to the doctor.

Scarring is another problem that many people have after having breast reduction surgery. Doctors try to leave as few scars as possible, but you will still get bruises. Scars will fade and smooth out over time. They might look red, bumpy, or raised at first. Scars can be kept to a minimum if people who have had surgery do what their therapist tells them to do and avoid doing things that could put stress on the cuts.

If someone has breast reduction surgery, they may very rarely have bigger problems, such as blood clots, seromas (fluid buildup), or changes in the shape of their breasts. It’s possible that these issues will need more care or surgery to be fixed. For a while after surgery, patients should stay in touch with their operator to look for any signs of problems and take care of them right away.

Surgery to reduce the size of your breasts can be good for your physical and mental health in general, but it’s important to know about the problems that can happen while you’re healing. Patients can help make sure they have a quick recovery and the best results from breast reduction surgery by learning as much as they can, doing what their doctor tells them to do after surgery, and being honest with their doctor.

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