Breast augmentation isn’t for everyone. In fact, many women would rather go the opposite direction, and choose to have a breast reduction performed instead.
Breast reduction makes large and heavy breasts smaller. It can increase your comfort and make it easier to fit into certain types of clothing. It can also help improve your self-confidence.
Like any plastic surgery, breast reduction does require a recovery period afterward. Here’s what you can expect every step of the way.
Right After Surgery
You’ll most likely be under general anesthesia during your breast reduction, meaning you’ll be asleep and won’t feel or hear anything that is going on. Immediately after the procedure, you’ll be moved into a recovery room, still asleep.
After you wake up, the surgeon will talk to you and will most likely give you a list of post-surgical instructions to follow. Many patients return home the same day.
You won’t be in any condition to drive immediately following your surgery, so it is important to make arrangements to have someone drive you home from the surgical center. Ideally, this will be a person who can stay with you for the first night or two, rather than a car service or ride-share driver.
The First Week
During the first week after breast reduction, take it easy. Stay home from work and social obligations. If you have children, make arrangements to have someone watch them for you. It might be the perfect time to schedule a sleepover at the grandparent’s house or to send them to visit cousins or other family members.
The same is true for pets, particularly active pets. If you have a dog and don’t currently use a dog walking service, it can be a good idea to hire someone to look after the pet for at least the first week.
While you can start to engage in light exercise, such as short walks, during the first week after your breast reduction, hold off on more vigorous activity. If you are taking pain medication, wait to drive until you have stopped the medicine and get the all-clear from your surgeon.
You might still need a bit of extra help around the house during the first week following surgery. You might also notice that any activities that require you to lift your hands over your head cause some discomfort during this time. Try to avoid any lifting at this point.
The Next Few Weeks
After the first week following surgery, you might start to feel like your old self again. Swelling and bruising in the area is likely to have gone down considerably and you are likely to see some noticeable results. The area might also feel less sore to the touch, but you might notice a lingering loss of sensation.
At this point, you’ll still want to take it easy. If you have a job that doesn’t require a lot of movement or heavy lifting, you can more likely than not go back to work.
One Month and Beyond
Your life will start to look more and more like its old self about a month after your surgery. Your surgeon is likely to give you the all-clear to resume exercising or other strenuous physical activities about four to six weeks after breast reduction.
As time goes on, the body will continue to heal and change. The incisions will continue to heal and are likely to become smaller and less prominent beyond the one-month mark.
How to Prepare for Recovery After Breast Reduction
There are multiple things you can do to help your recovery after breast reduction go as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Preparing yourself, your family and your home in advance will go a long way.
One of the most important things to do before your surgery is to make arrangements. Have a plan for the first night after the procedure, as well as a plan for any pets or children. Schedule a pet-sitter, housekeeper and meal delivery service, if needed. Also let your work know that you’ll be away for at least a week and that you won’t be available to answer questions or participate in any calls or meetings.
To keep yourself occupied during the first week or so after breast reduction, stock up on movies and TV shows to watch as well as books to read. If you’ll be having a friend stay with you, it might be relaxing and fun to have a card or board game around to play.
You might want to alter your diet slightly to help recovery go smoothly. Staying hydrated is critical for healing and also to help reduce any constipation, which can be common after surgery. If you don’t usually eat a lot of fruit, now might be the time to seriously consider adding it to your diet.
Dr. Paul Vitenas has been named one of the best plastic surgeons for breast surgery in Houston, Texas. He’s available to answer any questions you have about breast reduction and to help you get a better idea of what to expect during the recovery period. Book a virtual consultation with Dr. Vitenas today or call 281-484-0088 to schedule an appointment.