Have you scheduled your breast reduction surgery and are now planning for your recovery?
Breast reduction surgery (also known as reduction mammaplasty) is a procedure that removes fat, tissue, and skin from disproportionately large breasts. The surgery can produce outstanding results. The vast majority of patients are extremely happy with their new breasts and how they feel.
The procedure has a relatively quick recovery period, which involves little pain. Still, it’s important to plan ahead for your recovery time so as to ensure your comfort, avoid complications, and reduce the appearance of scars down the line.
How Long Is Breast Reduction Recovery?
You will be able to return to most of your routine daily activities after around two weeks, but full breast reduction recovery will take several months. Most patients don’t see their full results from surgery until three or four months afterward.
What Is the Most Painful Day After Breast Reduction Surgery?
The first one to three days after surgery usually involve the most pain, but the overall soreness should be minimal. Fortunately, Dr. Smita can prescribe pain medications to help mitigate your discomfort.
Will I Have Breast Reduction Scars?
Yes, because breast reduction does require incisions to be made on the breast, you will have scars. However, there are several steps you can take to mitigate the appearance of your scars. For example, just making sure you wear your surgical bra as directed, stay out of the sun, and do not strain or stretch your treatment area too much can help reduce the appearance of your breast reduction scars.
Breast Reduction Recovery Week by Week
Directly after surgery, Dr. Smita will put you into a surgical bra along with breast bandages. In the immediate hours after your surgery, you will be relocated to our recovery room. There, you will stay and be monitored until we discharge you to go home with a trusted friend or family member.
Once home, you will be sore and tired for a few days. This is completely normal, and you should allow your body to rest during this time. Do not exert yourself, stretch or strain near your incision sites, or overwork yourself in any way. Wear your surgical bra and bandages as directed.
Pain, bruising, and swelling are to be expected during this first week, but pain can be managed with prescription pain medications. Getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, and eating a healthy diet will help to expedite this sometimes uncomfortable (but short-lived) period.
Once you no longer require prescription pain medications for discomfort, you can return to work. Most patients go back to work on their second week of recovery. Keep in mind you’ll still need to be wearing a surgical bra and paying attention to your activity.
Perform only light activities for the first weeks of your breast reduction recovery. Short, easy walks are good. Never stretch, reach, or strain your upper body, and do not lift anything heavy. Because this includes avoiding lifting children and babies, if you have kids, you’ll need to arrange for help at home.
After around a month of recovery, you should be able to return to moderate physical activity. Do not speed right into an intense workout, however. Rather, slowly ease into a moderate exercise routine, and closely monitor how you feel. Even at a month out from surgery, you are still in recovery, so you need to pay attention to your body and not push yourself too much.
You’ll notice that swelling persists even at weeks four and five of breast reduction recovery. However, bruising and pain should be gone, and you should be seeing more of what your full results will look like.
Week 6 and Beyond
If you choose to do so and feel comfortable, you can slowly ramp up your exercise routine or start a new one at this point. Many breast reduction patients find that they are finally able to exercise to their full capacity for the first time since youth.
Keep in mind that at week six, you still may have reduced nipple sensation. This should return after one or two months. As you continue in your recovery, you should see all swelling dissipate in around 3 to 4 months, and at this point, you should see your full results as well.
Remember that due to natural variances in people’s breasts, overall body composition, age, skin elasticity, and overall aesthetic goals, not everyone will achieve the exact cup size they desire. That is, we will do our best to meet the exact cup size you want, but once you’re fully recovered, your precise results may vary.
Most patients are able to achieve their goal of going down one to two cups sizes. You also get the added benefit of overall perkier breasts because your breast reduction surgery will include a breast lift.
FAQ: Breast Reduction Recovery
How long does it take for breasts to drop after reduction?
This depends on the patient. Normally, patients see their full results after three to four months, and settling is fully complete after six months. Take a look at some breast reduction recovery week by week pictures to get a better idea of how your breasts will look after surgery.
When can I lift my arms after breast reduction?
Be sure to avoid lifting your arms directly after breast reduction surgery for at least the first few days to a week.
How long is bed rest for breast reduction?
You’ll probably want to rest for most of the first few days after your surgery. However, this doesn’t mean you have to stay in bed all of the time. In fact, getting up to walk around for short distances every once in a while will help promote circulation and improve your recovery.
Can I lay on my side 3 weeks after breast reduction?
We usually recommend that you wait four to six weeks before returning to your preferred sleeping style.
What can I do 4 weeks after breast reduction?
After around four weeks of recovery, you should be able to return to light physical activity. Always check with your surgeon, however.
Schedule Your Reduction Mammaplasty Consultation
Breast reduction can change women’s lives for the better. If you have been struggling with symptoms related to having large breasts, discuss your situation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Smita Ramanadham.
Dr. Ramanadham has helped countless women feel more comfortable in their own skin with reduction mammaplasty. She can tell you if you’re a good candidate for surgery, what to expect during the procedure, and more on how to plan for your recovery.
When you’re ready to schedule a consultation appointment, give our office a call.