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Mytien Goldberg, MD, FACS

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Recovering From Breast Reduction Surgery

Posted April 06, 2012 in Breast Reduction

As a surgeon specializing in breast augmentation and breast reduction surgery, it is common to see women who go into surgery thrilled and excited to achieve breasts with which they will be more satisfied come back after several weeks disappointed that healing can seem like such a long process. To be certain, breast reduction is considered a major surgery. The time spent in the surgical operating room is important, but time spent recovering can be just as critical to a patient’s success. Doctors understand the significance of allowing the body sufficient time to repair an heal itself and how important the patient’s role is in providing their own body sufficient rest and nutrition.

So What Is The Recovery Like After Breast Reduction Surgery?

Because breast reduction surgery involves the removal of tissue through cutting or liposuction techniques there is a reasonable amount of trauma to the breast that typically leads to an amount of bruising. Patients can generally expect to need several days of bed rest before they feel well enough to move around without assistance. Depending on your surgical provider and where your procedures are performed you may or may not be offered an overnight stay for observation. Breast reduction surgery is considered an outpatient procedure from which patients may return home immediately. If your provider does not offer overnight observation you may wish to contact a post surgical recovery center where patients can stay overnight to receive professional medical attention following their surgery.

Patients will wear surgical dressings after the procedure and for several days until a follow-up appointment during which your doctor will remove your dressings, check your progress and put patients into a compression bra. A compression bra will help improve circulation, relieve swelling, and keep the breasts from moving and causing discomfort. At your follow-up, your doctor will also check how your breasts are healing and tell advise you on how to continue your recovery. Some patients may be able to return to work in as few as 2 weeks, but each patient’s body is different and you should follow your doctor’s recommendations based on your body’s ability to heal.

Patients are advised to return to normal activities, such as walking and using stairs slowly. Rigorous activities such as running, weight lifting, and bicycling should be avoided until your physician gives you permission to return to them during subsequent follow-up appointments. For patients of breast reduction surgery it is critically important to refrain from lifting the arms over the head, lifting heavy objects and bending over for at least 1-2 months after surgery. Most patients are able to return to their normal lifestyle after 2-3 months.

Patients should refrain from all drug and alcohol use, including cigarettes, until a physician determines that they resume use. Patients must also refrain from using anti-inflammatory drugs including Aspirin and Ibuprofen, which thin blood and can lead to blood loss. Your physician will provide prescription painkillers along with a treatment of antibiotics – both should be taken as directed by your doctor.

Although the guidelines here represent common recovery times, they should not be mistaken as medical advice, and should be taken only as reference. Your physician will schedule a number of follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and progress over the weeks and months following your procedure, usually including a 1-year follow-up to check you final progress after you are, more or less, fully recovered. Your physician will advise you based on your body and your unique ability to heal and give you personalized attention and advice.


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