Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that can create dramatic results for the right patient. Given the nature of this surgery and its recovery process, however, every breast reduction patient should be prepared to commit the time and get the needed rest in order to heal well and achieve her desired results. Preparing for your recovery time should involve learning more about what to expect. To get a better idea, here are some of the common side effects experienced by women after a breast reduction surgery.
After Breast Reduction: The Medical Details
An important part of your recovery involves the details of your immediate after-care and some of the side effects you might experience. Right after surgery, your breasts will be wrapped with gauze and a surgical bra which must be worn for the first few days as you begin to heal. You may also have drains inserted into the area to relieve any fluid buildup; these will typically be removed after a few days as well.
Most breast reduction patients will experience mild to moderate pain and discomfort, which can be managed with the prescription pain medication your plastic surgeon will give to you. Part of your discomfort will stem from the swelling and bruising around the breasts, which will subside on its own during the first week or so. Your plastic surgeon will also give you a timeline for when you are allowed to resume your usual activities, such as going back to work, exercising or training, and more.
Potential Complications From Breast Reduction
All surgeries come with risks, some more serious than others. A breast reduction surgery does pose some risk of complications to its patients, but most can be easily managed with your surgeon’s assistance. The most common complications following a breast reduction include a bad reaction to anesthesia, heavy bleeding, infection, nerve damage to the breasts or nipples, and asymmetrical or dissatisfying breast reduction results.
Choosing the right plastic surgeon for the job is the first step toward minimizing your risk for complications like those detailed above. Look for a surgeon who is board certified, has experience performing breast reductions, and has the equipment and facilities needed to conduct a surgery in a sterile environment. You should also be on the lookout for a surgeon using VECTRA 3D imaging, which can create a three-dimensional photograph of you and your projected results. Talking about your expected results with this visual tool can help to prevent any mistakes in communication and guarantee your satisfaction when the procedure is finished.
The Breast Recovery Timeline
Knowing what to expect and when to expect it can help to put your mind at ease as you rest and allow your body to heal. Your breast reduction procedure will involve the surgical removal of breast tissue, the relocation of the nipple, possible fat removal using liposuction, and the reshaping of the breasts. There will be a lot for your body to recover from, so be patient and let yourself meet each recovery milestone.
- Right after surgery – You will be taken to a recovery room until you are awake and alert from the general anesthesia. You will be allowed to return home, although a friend or family member must drive you home; if possible, someone should also stay with you the first night after your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you when you are allowed to take your first post-op shower.
- The first week – Typically, you will meet with your surgeon to remove the surgical bra and get a different support garment. Your stitches will likely absorb, but you may have one suture on each side that needs to be removed at the end of your first week. Pain medication will be used to keep you comfortable during these 7 days. You cannot drive until you have finished taking your medication.
- The second week – Most patients are able to return to work somewhere around 1 to 2 weeks post-op, but everyone is unique. You should no longer feel as much of a need to take your prescription medication, as the swelling and pain will subside around this point. Many patients have tender breasts for a couple more weeks, but the pain is greatly lessened.
- Life after breast surgery – Your breasts may feel hard and swollen for up to 6 weeks after surgery, at which point they will soften and feel natural again. You will need to wear the bra your surgeon recommends to be comfortable and provide the right amount of support. Keep in mind that your breasts will likely be extra swollen and tender during your first period.
Follow the Directions for Best Results
If you want to move your breast reduction recovery process along and skip the complications, the best thing you can do is follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions. Make yourself a checklist and stick to it so you always know that you’re doing as much as you can to heal faster and heal well. Some of the items on your surgeon’s list may include: don’t smoke; drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; avoid alcohol for up to one week after surgery; dedicate the first 48 hours after your surgery to resting; keep yourself propped up to sleep with plenty of pillows for support; don’t do anything physical that might strain your incisions and cause bleeding. Finally, if at any point you are concerned about your side effects, call your plastic surgeon. You could help to minimize your complications by acting early.
Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon
Let a breast reduction achieve the results you’ve always wanted and be ready for a smooth process right through recovery. Contact Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, where Dr. Ran Rubinstein can help you to achieve the surgical results you desire.
Renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Rubinstein at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists of Newburgh, New York. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is the only specialty plastic surgery practice in the Hudson Valley area with an on-site joint commission certified surgical suite. To contact Dr. Rubinstein, please call 845-863-1772. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is located at 200 Stony Brook Court #2 in Newburgh, New York.