Plastic Surgery

Breast Reduction Surgery Preparation and Recovery

Wed, Oct 19, 2022

Breast Reduction Surgery Preparation and Recovery

Breast Reduction and Lift Procedures—What to Expect

There are many valid reasons to undergo plastic surgery. Many women choose a breast reduction—or a breast reduction and lift together—for aesthetic reasons but also for greater comfort, to reduce pain, and to be more active.

Understanding what will and what might happen before and after breast reduction surgery can help you make a more informed decision about this elective procedure.

About Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure also known as a reduction mammaplasty. Surgeons perform this procedure to remove excess tissue from the breasts to reduce their size so they are more proportional to the rest of the body.

Staff work with patients behind curtained areas.

When breasts are disproportionately large, they can cause pain and make it more difficult to do ordinary activities. They can also trigger emotional distress and self-confidence issues. There are many valid reasons to undergo this procedure, and everyone’s situation is different. It’s important to talk to an expert surgeon before making a decision to proceed.

Your surgeon will discuss the procedure, explain the different types of surgery, and determine which surgical option best meets your needs.

What to Do Before a Breast Reduction

If you decide to undergo a breast reduction, you’ll need to go through several steps to prepare. Your surgeon will outline the steps, which might include some of these common preliminary procedures and other requests:

  • A physical exam
  • Any necessary lab tests
  • A baseline mammogram to identify any changes or abnormalities in the future
  • A discussion of the type of procedure and possible outcomes
  • The cessation of smoking
  • Adjustments to or the stoppage of certain medications, including aspirin and anti-inflammatories

Prepare an area at home where you can rest comfortably for at least a week of limited mobility. Stock it with pain medications, clean dressings, loose tops, and your devices. Ask someone to be there with you for a week or so to assist.

When you arrive at the surgery center on the day of the procedure, the admitting staff will get you checked in an hour or two early. The anesthesiologist will talk to you about anesthesia and what will happen. The surgeon will also check in and answer any last questions.

What to Expect in Recovery

Most breast reduction procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. You will likely go home the same day. Nurses will supervise you for a few hours and determine when it’s safe to leave. You will have dressings on your incisions and a bandage or supportive bra to reduce swelling.

You will be sent home with a prescription for pain medications. Your surgeon will also provide instructions for your recovery, including:

  • How to care for your breasts in the coming days and weeks
  • How to care for the incision sites and signs of an infection or other issues
  • A general timeline for recovery and allowed activities
  • A follow-up appointment with your surgeon

Breast reduction recovery week by week varies by individual. You should be able to walk around the same day, but it’s best to have someone to aid your mobility for the first 24 hours just to be safe. Your breasts and the surrounding area will be sore and swollen.

You won’t be able to shower for at least the first two days. Your surgeon will recommend avoiding baths, pools, and hot tubs for six to eight weeks.

Most people need one to two weeks of rest at home and time off from work or school after breast surgery. Expect to avoid exercise and strenuous activities like lifting for about one month.

Although you need to rest during recovery, it’s best not to be completely sedentary. Start walking around as soon as possible and increase the duration each day.

Results of Breast Reduction Surgery

You should be happy with the results of your procedure, which will be long-lasting. Once healed, you should feel more comfortable, be more proportional, feel less pain, and be able to move more easily.

Breast reduction scars vary depending on the procedure type and are usually under the nipple, in the crease under the breast, or both. They will fade with time and are easy to conceal.

The plastic surgeons at NCSH are experts in all kinds of breast procedures. To schedule a consultation, contact us to request an appointment with an expert plastic surgeon.


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