Every year, thousands of breast reduction surgeries are performed in the UK. After undergoing breast reduction surgery, it can feel like a pretty big weight has been lifted. This is especially true if large breasts were causing neck, shoulder, and back pain. As with any surgery, you will need to spend time resting and recovering before you feel like your normal, strong self again.
How Long is Recovery From Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction surgery is an invasive surgery. Your surgeon will remove breast tissue and skin to resize and reshape your breasts. After your procedure, it’s normal to feel weak and tired. You may feel sore for several weeks, but each day you should feel a little bit stronger. For a few weeks, you may feel tired and low on energy. This will subside over time.
Breast Reduction Recovery Week by Week
In general, breast reduction recovery time takes about 6 weeks. Here is a guideline for the breast reduction recovery timeline:
- 1-3 days after surgery – this is when the swelling is the most noticeable. You will be wearing your surgical bra and will feel sleepy following the procedure. You can shower after about 48 hours as long as it’s safe for you to stand.
- 1-2 weeks following breast reduction surgery – you may still feel tired, but the swelling should start to subside, but bruising will still be noticeable. Be careful about lifting anything heavy during this time.
- 2-4 weeks post-surgery – you can start to resume normal activities, and the worst part of the recovery is behind you. You may still feel some discomfort, itching, and bruising, but you’re recovering well.
- 4-6 weeks – you will still be wearing your surgical bra but will be feeling much more like your usual self. At this stage, your doctor will let you know if you can resume exercise, and by 6 weeks, you should be able to sleep comfortably on your side.
Breast Reduction Recovery Week by Week Pictures
Recovery from Breast Reduction and Lift Surgery
A breast lift and breast reduction are two different procedures. But, many patients choose to combine the procedures into one surgery. It’s a useful approach for not only restoring the natural proportions of the body but also lifting the breasts into a more youthful position.
By combining the procedures, you can remove excess fat and skin and contour the breast at the same time. Most breast reduction surgeries involve breast lift techniques to ensure the breasts are in a youthful yet natural position.
Recovery from breast reduction and lift surgery is similar to most breast surgeries like breast augmentation or even a standalone breast lift. Most patients recover in 6 weeks. You can expect to wear your compression garment for several weeks during recovery for optimal results.
11 Breast Reduction Recovery Tips
After you wake up from your procedure, you will be wearing a compression garment to help reduce swelling and promote healing. You should arrange for someone to drive you home so you can start recovering at home. Here are 11 aftercare tips for breast reduction recovery at home.
1. Ask for Support
Ask a partner, friend, or family member for support during the first few days. Arrange for someone to pick you up following your procedure and stay with you for the first 72 hours at least. There is nothing wrong with asking for help during your recovery time. Proper rest is important to kickstart your recovery.
Ideally, you will need to take 2 weeks off work to get over the initial surgery. Although you continue to recover over the next few weeks, the first couple of weeks is where you have to adjust your life the most.
2. Take Pain Medications as Instructed
You will likely experience discomfort after your procedure. After all, you’ve been through surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe you pain relief medication and give you instructions on how to manage pain. It’s crucial that you follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions to ease any discomfort and promote recovery.
If you have any questions about pain management, it’s important that you speak with your doctor before taking any medication. It’s always a good idea to double-check so that any medication you take doesn’t interfere with your healing.
3. Sleep in an Elevated Position
There’s an art to sleeping comfortably after plastic surgery. Avoid sleeping on your chest for several weeks so you don’t put pressure on your chest. In the first few weeks, pillows will be your friend. Try to sleep in an elevated position instead of lying flat on your back. Put some pillows under your torso to elevate your chest slightly.
It’s common to have some swelling after breast reduction surgery. How you sit and sleep plays a role in your swelling. It’s not just how you sleep but your sitting position that’s important. Try to keep your chest as elevated as possible in the first couple of weeks.
4. Quit Smoking Before Your Surgery
If you can, quit smoking before you have surgery and refrain from smoking again. If you intend on smoking again, avoid smoking for several weeks after your surgery. Smoking narrows blood vessels and can affect your wound healing. Smoking can also increase the risk of post-surgical complications.
As smoking can damage the lungs, it can make it harder for the proper air to flow through. In terms of cosmetic surgery results, smoking can hinder healing which may impact your results.
5. No Lifting, Bending or Raising Your Arms Above Your Head
Avoid lifting heavy objects, including children, after your surgery during your healing. Try not to put your arms above your head, and avoid bending over. Instead, squat down if you need to pick something up. It’s a good idea to place the things you need for recovery in reachable positions before your surgery.
For the first 2 weeks especially, it’s important that you avoid lifting anything that could make you strain. Whether it’s children or picking up some heavy shopping bags, ask for help and avoid anything that could make you pull your stitches.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Contact Your Surgeon
If you have any concerns or questions, pick up the phone. Don’t be afraid to contact your surgeon if you feel that anything is wrong. The recovery time is a key part of achieving optimum results. Your plastic surgeon is ready to answer your questions, offer reassurance, and check in on you to make sure everything is going smoothly.
7. Look After Your Breast Reduction Scars
With any procedure that involves incisions, there will be scarring. But your plastic surgeon will take the utmost care to minimise the appearance of any breast reduction surgery scarring. Most scars start red and raised before fading over time. You can look after your cosmetic surgery scars using silicone gel to reduce scar formation after your surgery.
8. Eat a Healthy Protein-Rich Diet
After your surgery, eat a nutritious and balanced diet with plenty of protein. Protein is essential for healing and will form the building blocks necessary for your recovery. A healthy diet is crucial for maintaining a stable weight which will be important after your surgery to retain your results for longer.
9. Stay Hydrated
Throughout your recovery, make sure to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important for your health, in general. It delivers nutrients to your cells and keeps your organs functioning properly. After surgery, it’s especially vital as it helps remove the anaesthetic from the body and reduces fluid retention and swelling.
10. Get Moving
Although it can be tempting to stay in bed all day during your recovery, you need to get moving. That’s not to say you need to go for a run or do anything strenuous. A simple walk to the garden or down the hallway is all you need. Getting moving slowly and gently helps to improve circulation and reduce your risk of a blood clot.
11. Minimise Stress and Relax
One of the best recovery from breast reduction tips is also one of the hardest, which is to relax. Minimising stress is important for your recovery. You have the best chances of healing and resting if you can take time off work to relax and get back to full strength.
Getting a breast reduction is a big decision. No doubt you have many questions going through your head like:
- How much does a breast reduction cost?
- Are there any breast reduction weight requirements?
- Can you get a nipple reduction at the same time?
Whether you’re thinking about a breast reduction, breast augmentation, or even a breast lift, you need to think about the entire process, including the recovery. By preparing and having all the information you need, you can put yourself in a stronger position to recover peacefully and achieve the best cosmetic surgery results possible.
Breast Reduction Surgery at The Harley Clinic
It’s entirely normal to have many questions when it comes to such a big decision. If you’re considering breast reduction surgery, book a consultation at The Harley Clinic on Harley Street London to start your journey today.