Are you getting ready for breast reduction surgery? It is a fabulous procedure with low risk and a relatively minimal recovery time. We try to discuss post-surgical care and recovery in depth with each of our patients before surgery, but we understand we are often providing a lot of information at once so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We hope you find these tips helpful.
A little preparation before surgery will make your recovery process easier. Stock your fridge with lots of easy to prepare foods so you can easily access healthy foods after surgery. It will be a while before you resume regular tasks; enlisting a friend or family member’s help with household duties will allow you to focus on recovery. You’ll also want to arrange for someone to bring you home after your surgery and to help you during the recovery process.
Right After Surgery
Most breast reduction surgeries take about 2 hours. After surgery you will spend about an hour in recovery before you can head home. A small drain tube may be inserted into each breast to help with drainage during healing. After your surgery, your breasts will be wrapped with gauze and an Ace bandage. You can remove the gauze/bandage the next day to take a shower. Do not remove the surgical tapes that cover your incisions. A little trick to help you deal with the drains in the shower: Drape a shoe lace or even an old tube sock around your neck and pin a drain bulb to either side of the shoelace. This will keep the drains from pulling out and will free up your hands to wash yourself. After your shower, pat dry your breasts and put on your sports bra.
Breast reduction is not a terribly painful operation. In fact most women say it feels a lot like when your “milk comes in”. The breasts feel tight and engorged. The sports bra will help control the swelling which often reduces the discomfort. We will discuss your pain relief options before surgery. Generally pain medications are only needed for a few days. Remember: Narcotic pain pills cause CONSTIPATION!! Drink plenty of water and consider a stool softener to prevent this. If you take two Percocet pills every 4 hours…you WILL be constipated! If you don’t feel like you need them it is better to avoid them. You may start taking Ibuprofen (Advil) as soon as 4 days after your surgery.
Get as much rest as you can after surgery. It is normal to feel very tired in the days following surgery. Rest will help your body to heal. Most breast reduction patients will take about 1-2 weeks off from work. You’ll need to avoid heavy physical activity and heavy lifting for about 2 weeks. Most women can resume regular activities and light exercise after about 2 weeks.
Follow Up Care
We will see you several times after your breast reduction surgery in our offices to assess your healing and to address any concerns you may have. We recommend that you wear the sports bra for at least 2 weeks after surgery. The sports bra helps control swelling, and the less you swell… the less time it takes for the swelling to go away. The drain tubes will be removed as healing progresses. We will want to know how much fluid comes out of each drain in a 24 hour period. We will remove the drains when the drainage subsides. All stitches are dissolvable except those that hold the drain in place.
Take it Easy
If we could give our patients one tip for breast reduction recovery it would be this: take it easy the first week after surgery. Doing too much too quickly can slow healing, cause problems, and prolong the healing process. Give your body the time it needs to heal and carefully follow your post-op instructions. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns; we want you to have the best breast reduction surgery experience possible.