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Breast Reduction Surgery: Recovery and What You Can Expect

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Breast reduction is major surgery. For this reason, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the recovery process. Knowing what to expect and what you need to do after surgery will help you get back to your regular activities sooner.

Immediately After Surgery

Breast reduction surgery can take up to four hours. You will be asleep under general anaesthesia during the procedure. Your surgeon will remove fat, breast tissue and excess skin to reduce the size of your breasts.

You may be able to go home the same day of the procedure, or you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will have incisions, stitches and drains in both breasts and dressings covering your incisions. You’ll also have a special surgical support bra to wear. You won’t be able to drive after you recover from the anaesthesia, so arrange for someone to drive you home.

Follow Doctor’s Orders for Recovery at Home

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself after breast reduction. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Rest at home for several days. But walk around too. This will speed your recovery and help prevent blood clots.
  • Take pain medicine as prescribed by your surgeon. Do not take any over-the-counter pain pills without asking your doctor.
  • Return to your surgeon in about two days to have your dressings and tubes removed. You might have to come back again to have your stitches taken out. Or the stitches might be absorbed by your body.
  • Don’t shower until two days after your drains come out. Ask your doctor when it is safe to take a bath.
  • Continue to wear your support bra day and night for six weeks. Do not wear an underwire bra during this time.
  • Keep your incisions clean and dry. Check them every day and look for signs of drainage, swelling or redness.
  • Avoid all strenuous activities for several weeks. Do not lift anything heavier than five pounds for two weeks.
  • Most people can return to work within two weeks. However, talk with your doctor first. The type of work you do could make a difference.

Watch Out for Complications

Common side effects after surgery include pain, bruising, swelling and tightness. Women may notice increased swelling and pain during their first menstrual period after surgery. These side effects can last for a few weeks.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Fever
  • Increased swelling, bleeding, bruising or redness
  • Discharge from your incision area
  • Chest pain or trouble breathing

Life after Breast Reduction

Studies show most people who have breast reduction are happy with the results. In fact, breast reduction has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all cosmetic surgery types when administered by a qualified and experienced surgeon such as; breast reduction plastic surgeon Dr Magnusson.

You will have some scars under your breasts from the surgery. At first, they’ll look red, but they will fade after about six months. They still may be visible though. To keep them from becoming dark, avoid exposing your scars to the sun.