Introduction It is not easy to get the perfect breasts, and they often don’t come naturally to most women. Some women are concerned that their breasts are too small, and this makes them feel less feminine. Other women, despite having overly large breasts, are still not happy with how things are. It might sound hilarious for many, but a vast majority of women with overly large breasts would actually do anything to have a smaller cup size. Breasts that are too large compared to a woman’s anatomy can lead to pain in the neck, back and shoulders, not to mention multiple other discomforts such as difficulties in breathing and finding clothes that are the right fit. The only method to correct the excessive volume of the breasts is with plastic surgery. The procedure is called breast reduction surgery and is performed under general anesthesia. In this article, we will discuss details about the procedure, the recovery period, and what happens a month after breast reduction surgery. Target patients for breast reduction surgery Breast reduction surgery is performed to remove a part of the excessive glandular tissue on patients with breasts that are too large for their anatomy. There are women with large breasts who are very happy while there are women with large breasts who consider it a real burden and would do anything to get rid of the excessive volume of their breasts. It is very rare for people with everyday jobs or for stay-at-home moms to be happy with an excessive volume of the breasts. It is mostly women in the entertainment industry that enjoy having breasts that are much too large compared to the rest of their anatomy. Having big breasts can be a struggle not only to perform daily activities but also to keep in shape. Many women with excessively large breasts avoid doing any kind of physical activities either because they fear they will look ridiculous with their breasts jiggling all over the place or because it can be painful when their breasts move. The volume of the breasts can put a tremendous and unnatural amount of pressure on the back and chest cavity. This means that a woman with breasts that are too large for her anatomy can have difficulties breathing when lying on her back or performing physically demanding activities. An abnormal posture can also develop over time. Before undergoing breast reduction surgery, patients are required to see the plastic surgeon for a pre-operative consultation and also take some tests. The tests are necessary to give the plastic surgeon an idea about the health condition of the patient and also to rule out potential contraindications to the surgery. During the pre-operative consultation, the plastic surgeon will perform a medical examination on the patient and check the condition of the breast tissues. The glandular tissue has a different consistency compared to the fat tissue that can also be present on the breasts, so an experienced plastic surgeon will be able to tell easily if the patient needs breast reduction surgery or liposuction to remove some of the excess fat. Generally speaking, it is unlikely for the breasts to consist of mostly fat when the patient is of a normal weight. The layer of fat on the breasts is increased when other parts of the body are also suffering from an excess of adipose tissue. There are patients who come to the practice and ask for liposuction on the breasts thinking this will make their breasts smaller. Liposuction on the breasts as a stand-alone procedure is rarely (if ever) a good idea. The sensitive skin of the breasts will not retract smoothly on the new contours of the breasts, and in a vast majority of cases, liposuction needs to be performed with a breast lifting. However, fat weighs much less than glandular tissue, so if you have a problem with the weight of the breasts, it is more certainly an overdevelopment of glandular tissue. To be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, you need to understand that there are risks and complications associated with it. Something that all patients should know before scheduling their procedure is the potential inability to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery. The plastic surgeon will eliminate a part of the mammary gland and the milk duct network afferent to the glandular tissue. This means that patients who have breast reduction are unlikely to be able to breastfeed in the future, especially if a big part of the mammary gland is removed. Also, after breast reduction, there will be scars left behind. Just like any other procedure, the scars will be permanent and can be significant if the plastic surgeon has to remove a large part of the mammary gland. Recovery a month after breast reduction surgery The first few days post-op, patients can experience pain, discomfort, swelling and bruising on the operated area. This is normal and to be expected after undergoing any type of surgical procedure, performed for aesthetic reasons or not. To easily manage the pain, the plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication. If you have a low tolerance to pain, make sure to discuss this with the plastic surgeon so he can prescribe medication accordingly. However, keep in mind that strong pills can be associated with more severe side effects. The pain and discomfort should last for only a few days. For most patients, the discomfort should be minimal and the pain completely gone after a week from the surgery. To avoid a severe risk of developing an infection, the plastic surgeon will prescribe antibiotics. The antibiotics need to be taken for five days post-op. Their role is strictly to prevent an infection, not to cure. The patient needs to visit the plastic surgeon a day or two after the surgery, then a week after. The third meeting would be a month from the procedure. This is the normal schedule for follow-up consultations. If you are confronted with abnormal symptoms or any signs of abnormal scarring, make sure to contact the plastic surgeon as soon as possible, and he should be able to offer some assistance. Two weeks post-op, patients can return to work but are still advised to avoid lifting heavy objects from the floor, having sexual intercourse, smoking, and sleeping on the tummy. At the one month follow-up consultation, the plastic surgeon will assess how your recovery and healing process are going and let you know if you can perform physical activities or engage in any of the activities that are usually still not recommended at this time in the recovery stage. Keep in mind that avoiding smoking for the first month post-op can help with the healing process immensely and help you avoid complications such as wound dehiscence, delayed wound healing, and fat tissue necrosis, among others. The first month after breast reduction surgery is probably the most important period in the recovery process. After this time, there will be little things that will change in terms of the results. In a vast majority of cases, the final results are almost visible as the swelling and bruising have subsided, and the breasts have become softer and with a more pleasant consistency. Make sure to keep a balanced and healthy diet during the first month post-op to ensure your body has enough strength to heal and restore after the surgical trauma. Also, if you need help around the house or with taking care of the family during this time, make sure to ask friends or family members for support and try not to overdo things as this could lead to complications. Conclusion The recovery period after breast reduction surgery is not overly difficult. Patients often need less than ten days to be able to resume most of their daily activities and even work, if work responsibilities don’t include a great deal of physical effort. The first few days post-op, the level of discomfort can be higher but easily manageable with pain medication. Most patients should no longer be experiencing any of the side effects. However, it can take a few more months for the final results to be completely visible. After a month, patients can perform more physically demanding activities if the plastic surgeon allows it.