Once the breast reduction surgery is complete, the best thing a patient can do is give their body time to recover. By following the guidelines described below they will be able to avoid interfering with the healing process.
After a period of bed rest immediately following surgery, breast reduction patients are encouraged to begin moving around for short period of time. While the body may still be tender during the first few days of normal activity, movement should become more comfortable within the first week following the surgery. Patients should avoid any type of strenuous activity (like bending, lifting or otherwise straining the body). Engaging in activities like these is dangerous and can cause increased swelling or bleeding. It’s possible for most women to resume a mild exercise routine after the first few weeks of healing.
We often instruct our patients to sleep on their back during the recovery process in order to avoid causing pressure to the breasts as they heal.
Sutures, Drains & Support Bras
If surgical drains have been used, they will be ready for removal one or two days after the surgery. Your surgeon will also remove or change the surgical dressings. Patients will need to continue wearing a support bra for the first few weeks of their recovery. The bra can be removed once breast swelling and bruising has significantly decreased.
We will schedule appointments to take out all surgical stitches in stages. The typical schedule for stitch removal begins one week after the operation and is finished within roughly three weeks.
Changes To Sensation, Texture & Appearance
The nipples and areola may lose sensation after surgery. For most women, this is a temporary complication that may take weeks, months or, in extreme cases, upward of a year to fully subside. The shape of the breasts may not be “natural” immediately following the procedure. Over time the breasts will return to a more pleasing shape. The incisions made during surgery will be red or pink, but will fade with time. This process can take several months and the degree of fading will vary from patient to patient due to their personal healing tendencies.
Most women return to work within one or two weeks (10 days is the average length of time), but patients with physically demanding jobs may require more time off. Any kind of strenuous activity should be avoided for at least three weeks. Sexual activity should also be avoided. Arousal can inflame the areas of the breasts where sutures are present.
As the body heals some patients may experience mild, periodic discomfort. This is a normal part of the breast reduction recovery process. If the discomfort turns into severe pain patients should inform us immediately.