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Tips For Recovery After Breast Reduction Surgery

Tips For Recovery After Breast Reduction Surgery

Choosing to have a breast reduction or mammoplasty is a big decision.  Maybe you have booked your breast reduction surgery already, or perhaps you are in the research and consultation phase to figure out if it’s the right option for you. Wherever you are in your breast reduction journey, it is an exciting step towards feeling great in your skin again.

An important consideration for many prior to deciding on surgery is what their postoperative recovery will look like. Here is a guide with some useful tips for recovering after breast reduction surgery.

Recovery Tip #1: Get Some Help. The first few days after surgery will require helping hands from someone who cares about you. Not only will you need a ride home from the surgical centre but you will also need someone to help you out until you are able to manage tasks on your own- typically 2-4 days. In the beginning, you will find that you are ‘coming to’ from anesthesia, adjusting to pain medications, and are unable to fully use and move your arms. Until you are over the initial hump after surgery, it’s necessary to have someone you trust that can help you out and take care of you.

Recovery Tip #2: Bring it all Down. A helpful hint to help with healing and recovery after a reduction mammoplasty surgery is to bring everything down prior to your operation. Due to the nature of this type of procedure, there will be swelling, bruising, and major healing in and around your chest area. This will inhibit the movement of your arms for a week and it could be 2-3 weeks before you can reach high above your head comfortably again. Bringing your most used and needed personal items to counter height will ensure you can get what you need without causing strain to the area. 

Recovery Tip #3: Don’t Skip Your Prescription. This is a surgery must! Surgeons will recommend you ‘stay ahead of the pain’ which means taking your prescribed medication when and how it is recommended to do so. Once you fall behind and start feeling the discomfort, it can be difficult to get comfortable again. There is absolutely no reason to suffer after a breast reduction, so having someone stay on top of your medication schedule for you in the initial days after surgery is a good plan.

Recovery Tip #4: Plan Your Meals Ahead. With the limited movement of your arms, it will be difficult to lift pots, chop ingredients, and cook meals for yourself in the beginning days. And it is so important to give yourself the space to rest and relax as your body heals itself post-op. Having some nutritious and easy meals ready to go in your fridge and freezer will make your reduction recovery that much easier.

Recovery Tip #5: Follow Your Surgeon’s Plan. Your plastic surgeon has completed many reduction mammoplasty surgeries and has seen many patients through their recoveries. It is incredibly important to listen to your surgeon's recommendations, including attending all post-operative appointments to check your healing and progress.

Recovery Tip #6: Mentally Prepare Yourself. Months after your surgery will be an exciting time as your body will be healed up and you will really begin to see and feel the results of your breast reduction. What many people don’t realize is that the early days and weeks after surgery can and will look nothing like you would have hoped. Your body will experience swelling, bruising, fluid retention, and pain and discomfort which is all part of your healing journey. Although temporary, those days can be difficult for some people as feelings of regret, uncertainty, and panic can start to creep in. Mentally prepare yourself for those tougher beginning days and remember that they are only for a short while.

Recovery Tip #7: Kick Your Feet Up. Literally and figuratively- kicking your feet up after surgery will help your body in a couple of ways. Getting lots of rest and using this time to catch up on some reading, favourite shows, and napping will give your body the time it needs to focus on healing itself following surgery. Also, elevating your feet will help ensure that your body doesn’t have to work harder than it has to while you are spending some extra time sitting.

Recovery Tip #8: All the Pillows. After surgery, your arms and chest will be sore and not very useful for lifting or moving around on the bed, or couch. Use a pile of pillows to ensure your arms and back are supported comfortably and ergonomically while you rest.

Recovery Tip #9: Listen to Your Body. Most importantly, listen to what your body might be trying to tell you while healing from breast reduction surgery. If you need to rest, nap, and relax- do it. If you feel like something is not right, or you are worried about a symptom- reach out to your surgeon to double-check. Trust your gut and take care of yourself.

Your Breast Reduction Consultation Awaits

Dr. Brian Peterson has been performing breast reductions and successfully guiding his patients through consultation, surgery, and recovery for almost 20 years. Working out of the advanced Okanagan Health Surgical Centre in Kelowna, BC your entire experience with him and his team is sure to be exemplary. If you want more information on what your reduction mammoplasty surgery might look like, fill out the form below, or call (250) 868-9099 in Kelowna, or (888) 505-8895 for toll-free.


Q: What is the timeline for healing from breast reduction surgery?
A: Days 1-4 you will need help from someone to get home and go to the washroom. Week 1 you will begin to feel your energy come back and can get around more easily. Weeks 2-6 will be needed for a full recovery to lift your arms high and be able to lift heavier objects.

Q: How long will the swelling and bruising last after a reduction?
A: Everyone is different and even the same reduction mammoplasty procedure will differ from patient to patient. Some people will see a major reduction in swelling and bruising in 3-6 weeks, while some people will take a full 6 months to see the last signs of puffiness and discolouration fade away.

Q: Will I need drains after a breast reduction?
A: Not everyone needs drains after breast reduction surgery. Your doctor will provide you with his or her plans for your surgery and recovery during your initial consultation. At that time, you can inquire as to whether or not you will be needing tubes to release fluids and keep the swelling down.

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