Breast Reduction Recovery: What to Expect
Congratulations! Your breast reduction surgery is complete and the end to discomfort, physical pain, and emotional anguish is near. How do the days ahead look? What happens during recovery and when can things return to normal?
Breast Reduction Recovery: Day One
Immediately After Surgery
The day of your breast reduction surgery is also your first day of recovery at home, barring any extremely rare complications that could require a few more hours of supervised stay in our care. Immediately after surgery, you will remain with us for an hour or two, during which time our staff can ensure the postoperative healing process will be smooth, albeit occasionally uncomfortable. At this time, you should let the staff know of any pain or nausea.
Detailed At-Home Care Instructions
While in our care after surgery, you will be provided detailed at-home instructions on how to care for incisions, what activities should be avoided, and how frequently you will take prescription painkillers and medications. This is a great time to ask any questions or voice any concerns you might have so we can ensure all is well. When checks are done and you are ready to return home, you will be discharged and a friend or partner can drive you home.
Breast Reduction Recovery: Day One at Home
Gauze bandages will be covering the incisions and you will be wearing a padded surgical bra that provides a slight healthy compression and plenty of breast support. To help the healing process, your job is to rest for the time being. Ice packs will go a long way in reducing swelling within the first 24 hours of surgery. Apply them intermittently, for 10-15 minutes every half-hour or as frequently as you can manage.
Breast Reduction Recovery: Week One
You will be off work and postponing most engagements throughout the first week after surgery. But that “week” may last just 3 to 5 days, as many patients can comfortably return to light work or a desk job 3 to 4 days after surgery. Take it slowly and if you don’t feel fully comfortable doing something, then resting, relaxing and light exercise once daily will be your fastest path to full recovery.
Nourishing Foods, Hydration, Supplements
These first few days and the two weeks after surgery are a time to eat nourishing and antioxidant-rich foods, to stay well hydrated, and to supplement with vitamins and minerals while avoiding heavy lifting or raising your arms above your head.
Most patients are pleasantly surprised that the pain after breast reduction surgery is less than they anticipated. However, it will be important to get familiar with the signs your body does give if and when some activity is too strenuous, as the pain signal has been dampened or eliminated entirely with medication. Take things slowly and gradually, and stick to the schedule of your pain medications as missing a dose can bring on pain that then takes some hours to subside. If you feel ready to switch to a weaker over-the-counter pain medication, feel free to contact the office.
A few days after surgery, you will likely be well-versed in the few actions physically required to care for bandages and most of your time can be spent on light activities with a nice portion of the day spent resting and boosting your body’s ability to heal. Light daily exercise and a gradient return closer and closer to normal make up week one.
Breast Reduction Recovery: Month One
While a few patients do return to desk work within 3 to 4 days, others require 7 to 10 days. Seven to 10 days after surgery, most swelling will have subsided, pain will be greatly reduced if not gone altogether and the tightness in the breasts you felt after surgery will have waned greatly. Driving is also usually safe and comfortable within 7 to 10 days of surgery.
Loose Clothing that Doesn’t Restrict Movement
Clothing choices will also become important during this first month. Soft undergarments and loose clothing will be more comfortable throughout the healing process and prevent undue strain from motion.
Gradient Return to Normal
By the one-month mark, incisions will also have healed and your freedom of movement will have returned. Rather than jumping fully into all of the activities you were doing prior to surgery, approach them gradually to see how your new body deals with and reacts to them, and please check with the office if you wonder if you’re ready for a particular activity, like weightlifting or a long bike ride, both of which can put strain on the related muscles. Toward month’s end, you’ll likely be ready to start low-impact exercise.
We’re Here for You
During the weeks and months after your breast reduction surgery, Dr. Brenner and his office staff will do everything necessary to ensure your full comfort and confidence. The healing process can be a mildly trying time. We’re confident you’ll make it through just fine and you have a lot of positive to look forward to just up ahead. Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions or concerns.