People often think that “bigger is better” when it comes to breast size. Women who actually live with large breasts, however, know that the reality is a bit different. Exceptionally large breasts or breasts that are out of proportion with the rest of the body’s size and shape can cause major problems. Those problems can include back and shoulder pain, difficulty exercising, trouble finding clothing that fits, and feelings of self-consciousness.
Women who experience these issues often seek out breast reduction surgery rather than breast augmentation or a breast lift. As with any other type of surgery, breast reduction requires some rest and recovery afterward. It also usually takes some time before the final results appear. Here’s what you can expect after the surgery and some tips for making the recovery process more comfortable.
Right After Breast Reduction
A breast reduction procedure is typically performed as an outpatient surgery. General anesthesia is used for safety, and the surgery typically takes about three hours.
Right after the surgery, you’ll wake up in a recovery area. You’ll most likely get to return home the same day. Since you’ll probably be “out of it,” thanks to the anesthesia, you’ll need to have someone you know drive you home. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay with you at home for the first night or two, in case you need any help.
Unlike after a breast augmentation, you’ll want to wear a bra right after breast reduction. Your surgeon will most likely recommend or supply you with a special surgical bra to wear. The bra might not be the most stylish thing in the world, but it will provide the support you need as you heal. Wearing the bra should reduce stress on your incisions, helping to make scarring less visible.
It’s pretty common for the breasts to feel achy or sore right after the surgery. Your surgeon can prescribe pain medications to help you cope with any discomfort you’re experiencing.
A Week After Breast Reduction
It’s common for people to take at least a week off from work or other activities after their breast surgery. You might feel up to returning to work after seven days, or you might decide that waiting another week is the best choice. At this point, your breasts might still be swollen and they might feel strange to you, rather than soft and natural. It’s also likely that they won’t be their final size yet, so don’t rush out and purchase too many expensive new bras just yet.
You might be able to switch to a regular bra at this point, rather than the surgical bra. It’s often recommended that you continue to avoid bras with an underwire for at least a few more months.
Although some people are able to start driving again about a week after their surgery, if you are taking any prescription medications that make you feel drowsy or groggy, it’s best to hold off on driving until you’ve stopped taking the medicine.
One Month After Breast Reduction
About a month after your surgery, you should more or less feel back to normal and back to your usual routine. If you work out or exercise regularly, you can most likely resume your routine four to six weeks after your surgery. Usually, it’s OK to take up light exercises, such as walking, a few days or a week after surgery. Doing so can actually improve circulation and promote healing. But anything that requires heaving lifting or straining should be postponed.
It’s pretty common for the breasts to remain swollen even a month after surgery. It’s also fairly common for the breasts to feel sore and to swell right around that time of the month. You might notice more swelling and soreness than usual during your first menstrual cycle after surgery.
Tips to Make Recovery More Comfortable
Knowing what to expect after your surgery can help you make the experience a more comfortable and pleasant one. It’s a good idea to devote the first couple of days after your surgery to full-on recovery. Relax! Don’t feel that you need to do anything during those days. Order delivery or takeout, have your spouse or a close friend look after you, and send the kids to stay with their grandparents for a few days.
Preparing your home before your surgery can also make recovery more comfortable. Stock up on ice or ice packs, put plenty of pillows on your bed and fill up your Netflix queue so that you have plenty to keep you entertained.
It’s also crucial to follow your surgeon’s advice. That includes avoiding alcohol for a few days, not smoking, and drinking enough water. Remember that if you have any questions about what to expect or any concerns, you can always get in touch with your surgeon.
If you’re ready to learn more about breast reduction and what to expect during recovery, speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon today. Dr. Paul Vitenas, a plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, specializes in breast surgeries. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas, call 281-484-0088 today.