Whatever your reason for having breast reduction surgery, you’re on the road to recovery now that it’s over. If you’re wondering what to expect from the rest of your breast reduction recovery, then your board-certified plastic surgeon can help. Here’s what to know about the two stages of breast reduction recovery and what you can expect.

First Stage of Breast Reduction Recovery

After surgery, your breasts will be covered with dressings. This usually includes gauze padding, along with a specialized surgical bra to reduce swelling and tension on your new breasts. Our team will give your accompanying friend or family member plenty of materials for re-dressing your incisions, as well as detailed aftercare instructions. Expect to have a moderate amount of pain for about one week after your surgical procedure. Your breasts and the sides of your chest will ache. You’ll be prescribed pain medication to help you rest, so take these according to Dr. Carpenter’s instructions. Day by day, you should begin to feel better.

Blood or a watery fluid will drain from the incision sites into special tubes placed to collect it (these will be removed within a week of surgery). The draining should slow down in a few days – if it doesn’t, make sure to contact your plastic surgeon.  It’s important to avoid anything strenuous for the first 1-2 weeks. This includes lifting heavy objects or lifting your arms over your head. If you need help around the house with pet or child care, make sure to enlist help from a friend or family member so you can focus on resting. Make sure to take short walks around the house to keep your blood circulating but avoid elevating your heart rate. For the first three weeks, you’ll need to sleep on your back, avoiding sleeping on your stomach or side. It can be helpful to sleep in a recliner or couch with plenty of pillows to prop you up.

After about 4-6 weeks, you can generally return to your regular schedule – but avoid exercising until Dr. Carpenter clears you to do so.

Second Stage of Breast Reduction Recovery

You should start to feel like yourself at this point. Resume your activities, but don’t push yourself too hard as you build up your strength. It’s best to avoid exercises that put pressure on your breasts like running, jumping, or lifting. If you do gentle exercises, make sure to wear a supportive sports bra (avoid underwire bras until Dr. Carpenter indicates otherwise). By now, your incisions should begin to fade from red to pink to brownish. They will continue to fade for up to a year, and you can begin using silicone scar treatments to help fade their appearance at this time. Our team can recommend products as needed.

It’s normal to feel some numbness in your nipples or in the sides of your chest. For some women, the numbness never goes away – but for others, it usually subsides over the following months. You may still feel some achiness or intermittent pain, but this should also fade within the next year. For the majority of women, all swelling fades within 3-6 months, and final breast appearance and size become apparent at that time.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’re ready to learn more about breast reduction or have questions about your recovery, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery by calling our Cumberland office or filling out our online form.

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