Tips for a Smoother Recovery after Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast Reduction is a plastic surgery procedure that can help you reduce the discomfort associated with large, heavy breasts that are not proportionate to the rest of your anatomy. The surgery can be a useful solution for women dealing with discomfort associated with overly large breasts. You will need to prepare and allow adequate time for your recovery after Breast Reduction. Most people assume that finding the right surgeon and getting the surgery done is all it takes to get optimal results. After the surgery, comes the recovery phase which requires some preparation in advance. If you ignore the instructions of your surgeon during the recovery phase, you might end up dealing with complications that could affect the results of the procedure. The Breast reduction itself usually takes 2 to 3 hours. However, you need to be well prepared for the next month ahead so you can heal properly and enjoy the results of the procedure.
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon who performs breast surgery procedures in Sydney and Wollongong NSW. His experience and techniques aim to bring out optimal Breast Reduction surgery results.
Guide to Breast Reduction
What to do Before Breast Reduction Surgery – preparing for a Smoother Recovery
Many people only think about the recovery phase after they have had the surgery. With the right preparation, you can have a smooth recovery and be ready for a good result. You can arrange for someone in advance to help you around the house during the initial phases of recovery, organise the right amount of time off from work and take the essential steps that will help you with the recovery. Here are a few things that can come in handy:
- Nutrition is vital to a good recovery. Eating nutritious meals with more protein and taking supplements & multivitamins prior to surgery can help the healing process
- Make sure to stock up your fridge with healthy, home-cooked, and nutritional meals that you can simply reheat and eat after surgery. You don’t want to be eating anything unhealthy that is high in sodium as it will slow down the healing process and worsens swelling. Make sure to choose balanced options and incorporate protein into every single meal. A high-fibre diet is also a good idea after the surgery to help prevent constipation
- Make sure to get your comfy clothes ready for the first few weeks of recovery. You won’t fancy doing your laundry when you are recovering. You should have comfortable, and breathable clothes to wear during the recovery period that are easy to take on and off
- Prepare your cosy resting space in advance. This will be where you will be spending most time after the surgery. You should have everything you could possibly need within your reach. Think snacks, meds, entertainment options, chargers and anything that you think will come in handy. Move anything stored up high to easy reach
The First Day after Breast Reduction Surgery
The first day after breast reduction surgery is essentially the first day of recovery. After the surgery, you will be under the effects of anaesthesia. You might feel quite groggy for a few hours after you wake up. If you are experiencing any pain and nausea, let the staff know so they can make the necessary arrangements to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have arranged for someone responsible in advance to drive you home as driving post-surgery is not possible.
Once you recover from the effects of the anaesthesia, you will be handed a list of instructions to follow during the recovery phase. It will cover incision care, diet, activity, prescription meds, and follow-up scheduled visits.
Your incisions will be covered in bandages and a compression support bra. In some cases, Dr Hunt might place drains as well to help you get rid of the excess fluid that might accumulate at the level of the surgical incisions. You won’t be able to see your incisions on the first day. Aim at resting completely. This should be your only focus on day one.
Gentle movement and walking soon after surgery can help prevent blood clots.
The First Week after Breast Reduction Surgery
It is important to take the first two weeks off from work and stay clear of any other major commitments. This will give you the due time to rest and recover. While you might start to feel better in about 5 to 7 days, it is important to rest during the initial weeks of recovery. During this time, stay clear of strenuous activities, and heavy lifting, eat well and drink plenty of fluids.
You might also be dealing with post-surgical discomfort and a bit of pain. It shouldn’t be something unbearable and is generally well controlled by the prescription medications. You might feel a bit of tightness in the chest area. Please take your pain meds on time as prescribed if you want to feel comfortable during the recovery phase.
Read all the instructions given to you thoroughly to ensure you don’t miss anything. If you don’t understand something, reach out to your medical team and find out. Make sure to follow all the instructions regarding incision care and prevention of infections. Arrange for someone to help you around the house for the first few days and aim at resting as much as possible – a friend or you can hire home help.
The First Month after Breast Reduction Surgery
You are going to see significant changes during the first month of recovery. As your incisions heal, you will begin to feel like yourself again. You will be glad that your back, neck and shoulder pain has reduced. Your clothes will start to fit better and you will be able to move more freely.
While you can enjoy the results, it is important to remember that you are still in the initial stages of healing. Hence, it is important to stay clear of all sorts of strenuous activities. You can return to your work two weeks after the surgery. If your job is physically demanding, you might need to take some additional time off.
You can begin low impact exercises once the initial 2 to 3 weeks have passed and Dr Hunt has given you approval. You might be tempted to wear tight-fitting clothes, but stick to soft fabrics and loose-fitting options.
Once your incisions are fully healed – around 6 to 8 weeks, you can also start using silicone-based scar treatment products on incisions to help minimise the appearance of scars.
During the first month of the surgery, your body is working very hard to heal and recover. As time passes by, you will continue to see the results improve. It might take you up to 12 months to see the final outcome of the surgery. If you follow Dr Hunt’s instructions and take proper care of yourself, you will have a smooth and fast recovery.
How to Care for Yourself at Home after Breast Reduction Surgery
Here are some general guidelines that will help you with at-home recovery – Always follow the advice of your own surgeon:
- Get eight hours of sleep at night and rest throughout the day as needed
- Avoid lifting anything heavy for the first two weeks as it will put a strain on your incisions. It includes all sorts of heavy bags, containers, briefcases, backpacks, dog food bags, cat litter, vacuum cleaners, or a child
- Make sure to take your surgeon’s advice when it comes to driving. Till then, arrange for someone to drive you
- You can take your shower a day after your bandages and drains are removed. It will generally happen within the first week. Just be careful and avoid getting your incisions wet
- Take 2 to 3 weeks off work based on the nature of your job
- Consult your surgeon about when it is ok for you to have intimate relations and resume sexual activity
2. Diet and Fluids
- Make sure to eat home-cooked nutritious meals that are low in sodium and high in protein. Avoid getting packaged foods if you can.
- If your stomach gets upset, stick to bland, low-fat foods such as boiled rice, chicken, toast, and yoghurt
- Drink fluids to keep your body hydrated, flush out the toxins, and help get rid of excess fluid build-up
- Include fibre in your diet as it will help prevent constipation and strained bowel movements which are common post any kind of surgery. You can also take a mild laxative. Or a fibre supplement after consulting Dr Hunt
- Your surgeon will guide you in terms of taking the right medicines. Make sure to follow the instructions closely
- Stay clear of aspirin and any other blood-thinning medications post surgery if you wish to prevent excessive bruising
- Take pain medicines exactly as directed if you want to have a smoother recovery and prevent any pain, discomfort, and infections
- Avoid taking any over-the-counter medications without consulting your surgeon first
- If your pain medication is leading to nausea or an upset stomach, you could take your meds after meals
- If your surgeon has prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed to avoid complications
4. Incision Care
- Stick to all the instructions given by your surgeon in regard to incision care
- If you have tape on your incisions, let it fall off naturally
- You can cover the incisions with gauze if they keep rubbing against your clothing and make you feel uncomfortable
- Gently wash the treatment site with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry – Most surgeons advise against having a hot bath until you are fully healed
- Wear a compression bra that holds your bandages in pace, helps reduce post-operative swelling, and boosts healing. The recommendation is to wear a bra for a minimum of four weeks
- Don’t use any products containing hydrogen peroxide or alcohol
- You must limit all sorts of strenuous exercises and heavy lifting for a minimum of two to four weeks
- Take short gentle walks every single day. Do not overexert yourself and take a break as needed. Try to walk a bit more than a day before. Walking will promote blood flow and can speed up healing
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise
- You can start stretching exercises and normal activities after two to three weeks. Make sure to consult with your surgeon before resuming your regular workout routine
6. Other Instructions
- You may want to use a wrapped cold pack on your breasts for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Be careful and don’t ice burn yourself. Always wrap the cold pack in a towel
- Most patients will have a few drains at the level of the incision site. Take care of them as needed. Come in for a follow-up appointment for the removal of drains as instructed
- Sleep with your head in an elevated position to promote proper blood flow and prevent post-operative swelling
- Avoid any vaping or smoking, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages as they can worsen the bruising and swelling
- Do not skip your follow-up appointments under any circumstances. These appointments give your surgeon a chance to overview your progress and ensure you are healing at the right pace
- Wear a compression bra for at least 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery if not longer.
- Prepare your resting and recovery space in advance. Make sure you have a few extra pillows at hand, all your necessities are within your arm’s reach and you have someone to help you around the house for at least the first week
When to Call for Help during Recovery after Breast Reduction
You need to call for help if you experience any of the following symptoms or warning signs during the recovery phase:
- loss of consciousness
- sudden chest pain
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood
- extreme pain that doesn’t improve with pain meds
- loose stitches
- incision becomes open
- bleeding from the incision site
- infection – indicated by pus or a bad smell
- extreme redness and warmth near the incision site
- pus draining from the incisions
Watch out for these signs and immediately call for help if any of the above-mentioned symptoms occur.
Further Reading about Breast Reduction Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Reduction Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Surgery page
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Breast Reduction Patients Before and After Photos
Medical References about Recovery after Breast Reduction
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is optimal for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and, through his guidance, can achieve good results.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the aesthetic results they desire.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.