Breast reduction

Recovering from a breast reduction

After surgery

When you wake up after having breast reduction surgery, your breasts will be bandaged and plastic tubes may be attached to your breasts to drain blood away. Some patients bleed a lot and, in rare cases, a blood transfusion may be required to replace lost blood.

After one to two days, any tubes will be removed and you should be able to go home. You may experience some pain for a few days, which can be relieved with painkillers.

Getting back to normal

Once you have returned home, depending on your age and general fitness, you will need to rest for two to six weeks. The length of time you need to keep the dressings on will depend on how quickly your wounds heal. After one to two weeks, your stitches will either dissolve or be removed at an outpatient clinic.

At your follow-up appointment, your surgeon will advise you when you can resume your normal activities and return to work. You may need to take two to four weeks off, depending on what your work involves.

Avoid stretching, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for up to six weeks after your operation. You also need to keep your breasts supported by wearing a well-fitting, wireless sports bra.

Results

It is likely that your breasts will be swollen and feel tender and lumpy after surgery. The final appearance of your breasts may not be obvious for several weeks.

Scars are usually quite red for the first six weeks after surgery. They then change to a purple colour over the next three months before fading to white. Most scars heal well but occasionally patients are left with red and lumpy scars that do not improve in appearance.

Glossary

Pain
Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
Blood transfusion
A blood transfusion involves transferring blood into a person using a tube that goes directly into a vein in the arm.
Blood
Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide. It is pumped around the body by the heart.
Painkillers
Analgesics are medicines that relieve pain. Examples include paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen.
Last updated: 04 October 2011

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