If you are preparing for a breast reduction, you may wonder what recovery looks like. Breast reconstruction surgeries are mostly outpatient procedures. However, hospital stay depends on a patient’s case. You will only get a maximum of two days in the hospital if the surgeon decides you require hospitalization. Most of your recovery journey happens at home.
The recovery period can make or break the success of the procedure. Therefore, prior recovery preparations are significant.
Here is a simple guide on what to expect during breast reduction recovery to help with recovery preparations.
The Recovery Process
The first six weeks are essential in your recovery journey. They impact the success of the surgery significantly. The surgical site and the surrounding areas will be sore, bruised, and swollen in the first week. You will also experience discomfort — a pulling feeling around the breast area. Expect to feel weak in the first few days after the procedure. The surgeon may place a small thin tube to help with fluid draining.
The plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication to alleviate the pain. You will also get recovery garments to hold your breasts in place and keep you from hurting your incisions / stitches. The discomfort significantly reduces one-week post-operation to a manageable threshold.
The surgeon removes the stitches a week to 10 days post-surgery. Your breasts may feel firmer and more rounded at this point. You may extend your rest period to three weeks. However, most people return to work after the second week. Avoid strenuous activity during this period to allow your body to heal and rejuvenate. Listen to your body and adjust according to how you feel.
Soreness will persist for the entire first month, each day feeling better than the previous day. However, your body is still healing.
Therefore, you need plenty of rest during this period.
How to Care For Yourself After A Breast Reduction Surgery
- Capitalize on resting for the first three weeks. Rest enables the body to heal itself. Your sore muscles also need time to relax. The surgical site takes time to form healthy scars.
- In the first two weeks post-surgery, the most you should do is have supervised walks around the house to help with circulation.
- Avoid lifting anything — even groceries. Postpone your physical workouts. Have a loved one make your meals or do your laundry.
- Ask your doctor when it is okay to drive or exercise again.
- Avoid taking showers until the doctor removes your bandages.
- Avoid baths or soaking in a bathtub.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Your digestive system may not function well. If you have difficulty eating, try bland, low-fat meals like rice, broiled chicken, and yogurt.
- Increase your fiber intake to avoid straining in the toilet.
- Follow the surgeon’s instructions on medication. Avoid neglecting or overindulging your medicine.
- Your surgeon will also provide instructions on wearing your special bra. You may need to wear it at night to avoid underwire bras for a month. You will wear this special bra for several weeks.
- Be gentle when washing the incision area and pat it dry.
- If you get drains in your stitches, the plastic surgeon will advise on the care method.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Breast Reduction?
A breast reduction recovery period varies from person to person. However, for the vast majority, recovery takes at least eight weeks. The body continues to heal for months after the surgery, but most symptoms resolve after two months.
How Painful Is a Breast Reduction Recovery?
The discomfort from breast reduction surgery comes from the incision and sutures. Your body feels sore in the upper abdomen. You will be weak in the first few days and feel like your breasts are stretching or pulling. The degree of pain varies from person to person.
Expect to feel the most discomfort in the first seven days after the procedure. You will have pain medication to alleviate the discomfort. The pain threshold significantly reduces by the second week.
Soreness goes down after a month. You will still have abnormal sensations on the incision sites because the cutting interferes with your nerves. Any pain persisting during this period is manageable.
How Many Cup Sizes Can You Go Down With a Breast Reduction?
Generally, you can go down about one or two cup sizes in a breast reduction procedure. Nevertheless, you will have this discussion with your plastic surgeon. They will determine what is appropriate for your condition.
What Happens During a Breast Reduction?
The plastic surgeon makes incisions around your areola, then down the breast to remove fat and extra breast tissue. They then reshape and reposition the remaining tissues, remove excess skin, and stitch the breast. The entire procedure occurs under general anesthesia.