How long will recovery after breast reduction take?

How long will recovery after breast reduction take?

29th Jan 2018

Breast reduction is a major plastic surgery intervention that decreases the size of huge breasts. There are many factors that can cause the breasts to be enlarged. When the breasts become overly large, the condition causes self-esteem issues and physical pain for the patient. To overcome the problem, many women opt to go under the knife. Breast reduction surgery reduces the breast size by removing the excess tissue, fat, and skin from the breasts.

Breast reduction is an invasive procedure. It involves incisions and surgical trauma. To recuperate after the procedure, the patient is required to have a recovery period. Many patients ask how long it takes for the breasts to recover after the surgery. It depends on many factors that we will discuss in this article.

Breast reduction

Women considering breast augmentation should do their research and know how the surgery is performed. It will help them prepare for the surgery and set their expectations. Furthermore, they will get an idea of how long the recovery will take after the intervention. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia.

The doctor will make incisions on the breasts and then remove the excess fat and tissue from the breasts. Next, he will reposition the nipples to a higher and youthful place. Afterwards, the surgeon will remove the excess skin from the breasts and re-drape the remaining skin. He will then suture and close the incisions.

Breast reduction is major surgery. Patients must discuss with the surgeon the time it would take their breasts to heal after the procedure.

Breast reduction recovery

As the surgery is completed, you will be shifted to a recovery area in the surgical facility where you will wake up when the effects of the anesthesia wear off. You will feel dizzy, nauseated, and exhausted for some hours after the procedure due to the anesthesia. The doctor will check your health, and if you are stable, you may be allowed to go home a few hours after the procedure.

The primary recovery happens during the first two weeks following the operation. During this time, the patient must strictly follow the plastic surgeon’s instructions. Once you get home from the surgical facility, you must remain in bed and take sufficient rest for two weeks. It is important to give your body enough time to heal and recuperate from the surgical trauma. You must avoid any physical movements that can apply pressure or strain the incisions. Complete recovery after breast reduction surgery will take six weeks.

The first 2-3 days

During the initial two days following the operation, the patient may feel pain and discomfort. Your breasts will be swollen and bruised and you will feel tired. The plastic surgeon may prescribe medications to overcome the pain and discomfort. Also, since you will be vulnerable to contracting possible infections, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. It is important for the patient to take all the prescribed medications according to the doctor’s instructions.

In case you notice that the post-operative swelling is going beyond the surgical site or the pain is becoming severe, you should contact the plastic surgeon. Keep in mind that the severity of the pain depends on the patient’s pain tolerance level. Some people feel less pain whereas others feel more pain. Also, you should take short and slow walks every few hours during the recovery period. It will help ward off possible blood clotting resulting from inactivity. It will also prevent constipation.

The first two weeks

As stated above, the primary recovery period after breast reduction surgery comprises the first two weeks. It is normal to experience some discomfort during this period, especially when making movements. It is critical for the patient to be extremely careful during the first two weeks following the surgery because the incisions have not yet healed and pressure can result in incision splitting, bleeding, and infection.

Make sure to avoid physical activities like running household chores, doing exercise, stretching, jogging, jumping, weightlifting, etc. These activities are strenuous and can result in wound dehiscence and other complications. During the first two weeks, the patient should also avoid sleeping on her abdomen because the pressure applied to the breasts can result in wound opening and bleeding that can lead to other complications.

Instead of engaging in physical activities, you must take enough rest. The more rest you take, the better and quicker will you recover. You will also notice that the post-operative swelling will be considerably reduced during the first two weeks of the surgery. However, the swelling will remain with you for six weeks after the intervention. After two weeks, you may resume your job and physical activities with the approval of the plastic surgeon.

Weeks three to six

As you enter the third week of your recovery, you will feel like your breasts have healed considerably and the pain and discomfort associated with overly large breasts have eased. You will also see that your breast size has considerably reduced and the breasts are looking aesthetically welcoming.

Despite the improvements, you must avoid any activity that can apply direct pressure to your breasts for six weeks after the surgery. Complete recovery after breast reduction takes six weeks. While you may resume sleeping on your front, you should still be careful and avoid prolonged sleeping on your front.

It is also important for the patient to wear surgical bras during the first 5-6 weeks after breast reduction surgery. Avoid wearing your regular bras during this period. Surgical bras are designed to enhance the recovery process after the intervention. They will help reduce the post-operative swelling, speed up the recovery, keep your newly contoured breasts in shape and place, and reduce the scarring. Be sure to wear the surgical bras for six weeks after the surgery.

As you finish the sixth week of your recovery, you will see considerable improvements in your health and aesthetic appearance. Almost 80 percent of the swelling will be gone by the sixth week and your body will fully recuperate from the surgical trauma. The incisions will completely heal and the aesthetic results will become visible. Also, the pain associated with overly developed breasts will reduce greatly or be fully eliminated. However, the ultimate aesthetic improvements in your breasts will emerge after many months.

Many women ask whether they can drive after breast reduction surgery. It is recommended that you should avoid driving for three weeks post-surgery. After three weeks, you may resume driving. However, if you are still on medication, you should avoid driving. After six weeks, you can resume your normal activities. You can even start workouts, jogging, and other activities. However, be sure to restart these activities slowly.

The first several months

Even after the first six weeks following the operation, the patient should be gentle when touching the breasts. Your breasts will still have some swelling, and you may even experience some pain in the breasts, especially during your menstrual cycle. You can use oral painkillers to cope with the pain.

Some patients may experience change or loss of natural breast sensation after the procedure. This occurs because of the injury or damage to the nerves during surgery. In most cases, this condition is temporary. After a few months, your natural breast sensation will slowly return. However, in some cases, the change can be permanent, especially when the damage done to the nerves is permanent.

During the recovery period, it is critical for the patient to avoid touching the breasts because it is vulnerable to infections. There is also a risk that seroma or hematoma may happen, particularly when drain cannulas have not been used. If the surgeon is inexperienced, the patient may end up losing her breastfeeding capability as a result of the surgery. The scar after the surgery will fully develop after several months. During this time, the scar will change color and take several shapes. The final scar will fade and become less noticeable. However, some patients may experience abnormal scarring.


Breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure used to treat overly large breasts and alleviate the symptoms associated with the condition. The procedure is highly invasive and involves tissue, fat, and skin removal from the breasts. As such, the patient must have complete recovery after the surgery. The primary recovery normally happens in the first two weeks after the procedure, whereas complete recovery takes six weeks.

Share this article: