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Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Back on Your Feet: Breast Reduction Recovery Week by Week

Posted March 30, 2023 in Breast Reduction Surgery

5 Minute Read: 

Breast reduction surgery (also known as a reduction mammoplasty) can be one of the most beneficial cosmetic procedures for women with overly large and heavy breasts, especially if their weight and size cause pain or keep women from participating in their favorite activities.

Close-up image of a woman wearing a tan-colored compression bra

For breast reduction surgery (performed with a breast lift), breast tissue and fat are removed, and the remaining tissue is lifted and tightened so that the breasts appear balanced and beautiful. Additionally, excess skin is removed, and the nipple-areolar complex is raised to a higher and more central placement (if needed). 

After your procedure, you can look forward to smaller, more manageable breasts that balance better with the rest of your body; however, before you can achieve your final breast reduction results, you first need to undergo the recovery process. And while recovery can sound scary to many women considering breast reduction, it is very manageable when you follow your post-op instructions. 

Below, we will take a look at breast reduction recovery week by week so that you know what to expect.

Preparing for Your Recovery

The breast reduction recovery process often takes six to eight weeks. 

Before your procedure, it is important that you prepare for your recovery. This means setting up your recovery area (usually a bed or couch with entertainment options, like books, magazines, TV remote control, computer, etc., all within reach). You should also fill your prescriptions before your procedure (so that you have one less thing to worry about after your surgery). Also, you will want to think about meal prepping and making sure that you have someone to help you for the first 24 hours after your procedure, and even longer if you have children or pets.

Most women are able to return to work one to two weeks after their breast reduction.

Breast Recovery Timeline

Here is a timeline of what you can expect for your recovery process, from the night of your surgery to several months out.

The Night of Your Surgery 

Immediately following your breast reduction surgery, you will have bruising, swelling, tightness, and soreness in your chest. This is completely normal. To help minimize the swelling and discomfort as well as protect the incisions, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze bandages.

You can expect to feel tired and a little woozy from the anesthesia during the hours after your procedure. You will most likely want to go directly to sleep when you come home after your surgery, and that is completely fine. It is important to rest your body as much as necessary during your recovery, especially during the first few days.

Week 1

You need to understand that breast reduction surgery (like any cosmetic procedure) is a controlled injury to your body. Because of this, you need to allow your body the time and conditions to heal properly. 

You will wear a compression garment or surgical bra immediately after your surgery. Unless you are showering, you will need to wear this all day, every day for six to eight weeks. 

It is also important that you take any and all required medication. 

Starting on the second day, you should make sure to stand and take short and slow walks as often as possible. As the week progresses, you should try extending the length of these walks. 

Week 2 

You should start to see your swelling and bruising dissipate during your second week. You can still take medication to alleviate any soreness or discomfort you may feel, though you will likely not experience pain during this week (if you do, make sure to contact Dr. Ghere). 

You will still need to wear your surgical bra and allow your body the rest it needs to heal. However, during this week, you should start to increase the lengths, speed, and frequency of your walks. You can also incorporate some slight stretching, though it is important that you do not lift your arms above your shoulders, as this will put unneeded stress on your incisions. 

You can look forward to having a follow-up appointment during this week to check on the progress of your recovery.

Weeks 3 and 4 

By weeks three and four, most of your swelling and bruising should be gone, and you will begin to feel more like your normal self; however, it is still so important to take things easy and slow so that you don’t add unwanted stress to your breasts and incisions (as this can cause pain, prolong your recovery, and negatively affect your results). You will still need to wear your surgical bra. 

During these weeks, you can begin incorporating other low-impact exercises into your daily routine, like cycling on a stationary bike.

Weeks 5 Through 8

You will be able to see your final results settling in. Additionally, you can return to most of your normal, daily activities without interruption. However, you should not engage in any strenuous exercise until you are cleared to do so by Dr. Ghere. 

Once your results are final, you can look forward to showing your new figure off with a smile as you feel more comfortable and confident with your appearance. 

Do’s During Your Breast Reduction Recovery 

Along with following your post-op instructions, here are some things to keep in mind during your recovery period:

  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay as active as possible
  • Listen to your body
  • Wear loose-fitting tops (especially ones that button up)
  • Sleep on your back

Don’ts During Your Breast Reduction Recovery

As with any plastic surgery procedure, knowing the things to stay away from after your breast reduction can help speed up your recovery and improve your results. 

For breast reduction recovery, it is important that you do not:

  • Wear bras with wires or dyes
  • Engage in strenuous activities
  • Lift your arms above your shoulders
  • Sleep or lie on your side or stomach
  • Lift anything heavy

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in breast reduction surgery or you have questions about the procedure, then contact Ghere Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery by calling (225) 412-4774, or schedule a consultation with us online today! 

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A little can go a long way, and it is never too late to make a change.

Mary Ghere, MD

4212 Bluebonnet Blvd., Suite A
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Phone: 225-399-0001

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