What to Expect After Surgery
After breast reduction surgery, you will be given a compression garment that reduces swelling and helps the breasts heal. Oral pain medication is also prescribed to help keep you comfortable in the days following your surgery. You will be able to get an accurate idea of your new breast size when swelling subsides.
Most patients are back to work and social activities within 1-2 weeks. Strenuous exercise must be avoided for longer. Results of breast reduction surgery can be long-lasting, as long as a healthy weight is maintained after the procedure.
Risks and Complications of Breast Reduction
Complications can arise after breast reduction. Some of the risks and adverse outcomes of reduction mammaplasty include:
- Chest pain, soreness or tenderness
- Breast tissue or nipple asymmetry
- Breast contour and shape irregularities
- Loss of sensation in the nipple or breast skin
- Delayed wound healing including nipple, areolar and breast tissue necrosis/loss
- Wound infection
- Haematoma (blood collection under the skin)
- Excessive scarring
- Difficulty with breastfeeding
Activity Guidelines After Breast Reduction
To minimise the risks above, follow Dr Thomas’ post-operative instructions and activity guidelines. You will receive specific instructions on how to care for yourself during all stages of the recovery process. A general timeline is outlined below.
- Expect some discomfort, bruising and swelling around your breasts and chest.
- Avoid all exercise for 2 days post-surgery.
- Take pain medication and antibiotics as prescribed to manage discomfort and prevent infection.
- Care for the bandages or dressings over the incisions (and drains, if used) as directed.
- Begin wearing a compression garment under your clothing. This will be worn for several weeks to assist with swelling and wound healing.
- Starting at day 3, resume leisurely walking to promote blood flow.
- As you resume light activity, avoid sweating, heavy lifting and excessive shoulder movement (especially overhead and sideways movements).
- You may resume driving at the one-week mark, as long as you feel safe and capable doing so.
- Many patients can return to work and social activities during this period.
- Pain, bruising, and swelling may persist, but should begin to subside.
- You may resume your normal activities under Dr Thomas’ guidance. Some movements may cause minor discomfort. Do not continue movements that cause significant discomfort.
- Continue to avoid vigorous activity, especially if it puts strain or pressure in the area of your chest.
- Avoid any environments that could contaminate the incisions, such as hot tubs/spas and pools, until the incisions are completely healed.
- You may resume most typical daily activities at this point.
- During this period, you may receive permission to resume exercise and wearing normal bras.
- You will likely feel more comfortable sleeping on your stomach and side, and more confident in the strength and range of motion of your chest.
- Scarring should continue to fade and become less noticeable, though scars are not expected to disappear completely.
- Your breasts may begin to feel more natural and comfortable as you adjust to the changes from the surgery.
Breast Reduction Results
Improvements in breast size can be visible immediately, but there will be swelling and bruising that temporarily affects the appearance of your breasts. Your final outcome may not become fully apparent until months have passed. The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors.
The longevity of breast reduction surgery varies from person to person, depending on the technique used, the patient’s overall health and lifestyle, and other factors. Generally, breast reduction is considered a permanent procedure, but that does not mean the size or appearance of your breasts cannot change. Weight fluctuations, hormonal changes and the natural ageing process can affect your breasts over time.
A Note on Results
The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors. For that reason, you should always expect to see some variance between the results featured and the results you can achieve. What works for one person may not work for another, and each patient’s unique needs and expectations must be considered when determining the best course of action.
Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced medical professional such as Dr Thomas who can help to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific circumstances. It is also important to understand that breast reduction is not a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to achieve the desired results