American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

Breast Reduction

Reduction Mammaplasty

Breast reduction surgery entails the removal of skin and tissue from the breast, followed by reshaping and elevating to create a smaller, more proportionate bust size.

What should I expect during my breast reduction recovery?

Following your surgery, gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. A pain pump may also be used to reduce the need for narcotics.

You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
  • When will they be removed?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

It is important to note that postoperative swelling and bruising may initially obscure the final results, and full recovery can take several months.

What is the timeline for a breast reduction recovery?

Recovery PeriodWhat to Expect
Week 1
  • Monitor pain, swelling and bruising (medication may be required)
  • Significantly limit your activity
Weeks 2-3
  • You will start to feel much better
  • Return to work (depending on your job)
  • Limit exercise and activities
Weeks 4-5
  • Continue to wear a support bra
  • Increase activity
  • Continue to be gentle with your breasts
Week 6 and Beyond
  • Continue to perform breast self-examination
  • Schedule routine mammograms
  • Discuss scar optimization and resumption of normal activity with your surgeon

Following your physician's instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It's important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.



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