Breast Reduction Recovery Timeline: What to Expect
Dec 8, 2016 @ 12:00 PM — by Dina Eliopoulos
When the size of the breasts causes pain, discomfort, or insecurity, breast reduction may help. Breast reduction surgery can create smaller, firmer breasts, improving patients’ appearance and confidence. As with any surgery, breast reduction requires some time for recovery. During private consultations, Dr. Dina Eliopoulos provides each patient with a personalized breast reduction recovery timeline. Contact Dr. Eliopoulos' Chelmsford, MA practice to get more details on breast reduction recovery and find out what to expect after surgery.
Recovery after Breast Reduction
Every patient's recovery experience is unique and will vary based on personal healing times, current health, lifestyle factors, and how well pre- and post-surgical instructions were followed. With that said, the following is a general timeline similar to what most patients will experience after breast reduction surgery.
The First Few Days after Surgery
Breast reduction surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis or may require an overnight hospital stay. Whether a patient goes home the day of surgery or stays overnight, patients can expect to feel some pain, discomfort, bruising, and swelling during the first few days of recovery due to manipulation of the breast tissues and incisions.
Pain medication will be prescribed to help manage discomfort during recovery. Drainage tubes may be placed to help remove excess fluid and reduce swelling. If drainage tubes are placed, they are generally removed after a few days. The breasts will also be bandaged and supported by an elastic bandage or a special bra to help keep the tissues in place and reduce strain.
The First Two Weeks after Surgery
Patients should expect to take a full week off of work after surgery and may require more time depending on personal healing times. Most people are recovered enough to return to their normal routines after two weeks, but strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for about four weeks. Stitches are typically removed one to two weeks after surgery and patients are advised to continue wearing a surgical bra.
Pain, bruising, and swelling may persist for a couple of weeks after surgery. However, these side effects should subside as the body heals. If pain or swelling becomes worse and is accompanied by redness, it may be a sign of infection or other complication and should be brought to your physician's attention immediately.
The Next Few Weeks to Several Months
As healing progresses, pain, bruising, and swelling should continue to decrease. However, it may take six months to a year for swelling to fully resolve and the final results of breast reduction surgery to be seen. Additionally, it is important to be gentle with the breasts for the next four to six weeks to reduce the risk of complications and allow the breasts sufficient time to heal. Some patients may experience numbness or altered nipple and breast tissue sensation after surgery. In most cases, this is temporary and will resolve as the tissues heal, but in some cases, it may be permanent.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like more information about breast reduction, including what to expect during recovery, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eliopoulos.