What to Expect From Your Breast Reduction Recovery

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Published in Recovery

Breast reductions—very common, very safe, but still misunderstood. Many women think that receiving a breast reduction will mean months of recovering, unable to enjoy life like they used to.

Luckily, that’s just not true. Let’s examine the breast reduction recovery process—how to minimize pain, maximize your results, and what to expect at every step of the way.

How long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

There’s no exact answer, since your individual recovery time depends on a variety of factors—how healthy you are, how skilled your doctor is, and how extensive your breast reduction is.

But to give you an idea, many women can return to work after just 2 or 3 weeks, and resume their full range of activities in 4-6 weeks.

Best of all, you’ll be able to relax and recover at home instead of a hospital bed. The procedure is usually outpatient, which means you won’t need to spend even one night at Dr. Jones’ medical center.

How do you manage pain and scarring after a breast reduction?

In the initial weeks after your surgery, your doctor will likely recommend a moisturizer to prevent dryness and itchiness (not applied directly to your incision sites, however).

For at least 2 or 3 days after your procedure, you’ll need to wear a special bra or bandage over your dressings to help reduce swelling and decrease pain. Even after the dressings and gauze are removed, you’ll continue wearing the surgical bra for a few weeks to ensure a proper recovery.

Physical contact with your breasts should be limited and very gentle for up to 6 weeks.

In addition, you’ll need to abstain from sex for one to two weeks, since arousal can cause swelling and inflammation at your incision sites.

As for scarring, breast reduction scars can be permanent. However, these small incisions should fade to very thin, white marks after several months—hardly detracting from your results at all.

Follow your doctor’s directions very carefully to expedite your recovery with minimal complications.

What’s a typical recovery like after breast reduction?

No recovery is 100% identical, but there are a few general guidelines to be aware of for most procedures:

  • 3 Days: Gauze and dressings removed.
  • 1 Week: Sexual activity may be resumed.
  • 2 Weeks: Surgical bra no longer required. By now, any stitches should also be removed. Most women can also return to work at this time.
  • 3 Weeks: You can resume most normal activity.
  • 1 Month: You can begin exercising again.
  • 6 Weeks: Up until now, contact with your breasts should be minimal and gentle.
  • 3 Months: Scars fade from red to white, becoming much less visible.
  • 1 Year: By now, swelling should be totally gone in a vast majority of patients. Most reduced sensation or hypersensitivity in your nipples should fade, and the full results of your procedure should now be clear.

These are very general, and your recovery will most likely vary! Your surgeon will explain the entire process as clearly as possible, letting you know exactly what to expect so there’s no confusion.

When should you seek medical attention during your recovery?

Complications after breast reduction surgery are thankfully rare, but we have to be prepared anyway. If you experience any of the following, seek help right away:

  • Signs of an infection (such as a fever)
  • Strange discharge from your incision site, including pus
  • Stitches coming out on their own before they’re due for removal
  • Unusually extreme pain

Again, it’s rare for women to experience serious complications from breast reduction, and your doctor will do everything possible to ensure your surgery and recovery are as safe as possible.

We’re here to help

Choosing the right plastic surgeon can be a bit overwhelming but rest assured any real professional plastic surgeon is with you every step of the way, from your consultation to your last day of recovery. Dr. Jones is dedicated to formulating a plan for your unique body and unique procedure that both gets results and keeps you happy and healthy.

A good surgeon can get the results. But a great surgeon goes the extra mile until you’re totally satisfied.

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