What happens after a breast reduction operation?
For several weeks after breast reduction surgery your breasts will probably be swollen and bruised and may feel tender or painful. Initially, they will be covered with gauze dressing or elastic bandages, and tubes may be placed under each arm to help drain excess blood and fluid. After the dressings are removed, you’ll be advised to wear a bra with extra support until the swelling reduces.
You’ll usually be able to move around comfortably by this time, though you should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for around a month afterwards. Your doctor may also advise that you sleep on your back to avoid putting pressure on your breasts.
Stitches are usually removed within one to two weeks after the breast reduction operation. Your doctor will usually prescribe medication for the pain and nausea, as well as antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
You may lose sensation in the nipple or areola area, but this will usually be temporary. For some women, sensation returns within weeks of their breast reduction operation, while in others, it may be months or even years for this to happen. The same goes for the shape and colour of the breasts immediately after surgery – these may take a while to return to normal.
You’ll usually be able to return to work within a couple of weeks of the surgery, although you may still experience mild discomfort. If you still have severe pain several weeks after the operation, you should consult your doctor.
The emotional impact of a breast reduction operation
Besides physical healing, a breast reduction yields big changes in the way you look, and it may take a while for you to adjust to your new body image. Thankfully, most women find this adjustment easy, and the level of patient satisfaction after a breast reduction operation is one of the highest out of any cosmetic surgery procedure.