What to Expect After Breast Reduction Surgery

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Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


What to Expect After Breast Reduction Surgery

Hundreds of women have breast reduction in Gilbert AZ every year to ease discomfort, achieve a better breast size or improve their self-image. Men with gynecomastia (abnormally enlarged male breasts) may also receive a reduction to achieve a firmer, more masculine chest contour. If you’re planning to receive breast reduction surgery for whatever reason, this article brings you up to speed on what to expect after the treatment.

Expectations After Reduction Mammoplasty

Breast reduction may be covered by insurance, or may not be covered. After the costs have been squared away and you have had your surgery, you may wish to know the expectations after the surgery is complete. Breast reduction aims to remove excess tissue from your breasts. During the surgery, your surgeon will also reshape and lift the breasts. The specifics of each treatment vary from one patient to the other. In many cases, patients prefer to have the dark area around their nipple also reduced in size. Dr. LaBarbera’s Arizona patients get a chance to discuss their concerns, expectations, and preferences for the treatment during their initial consultation.

Following breast reduction surgery, most patients feel weak. General soreness and a pulling sensation in the breast area may also be experienced within the first 2-3 weeks. Although your doctor will provide pain medication to increase your comfort during the initial days after surgery, you can expect to feel stronger and better each day.

In most cases, stitches are removed within 5-10 days following an inspection by your plastic surgeon. You’ll notice that your new breasts feel firmer and look rounder. It may take some time before you’re used to the new look. Although some sensation in your breast may be lost due to the surgery, this returns with time.

To make sure that you have an uninterrupted recovery process, your surgeon will provide after-care instructions that you should strictly adhere to.

1. Have enough rest

Keep in mind that following breast reduction, you’ll need to stay away from work for at least two weeks. This time should be dedicated to resting and caring for your incision sites. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze and dressings, and you might be required to wear a special surgical bra to keep the treatment site intact. Drowsiness and move-related pain usually dissipate within the first 48 hours. It’s common for patients to experience swelling and bloating, as well as itching around the incision areas during the initial days after surgery.

Having someone to help around with chores can make everything much easier over the first days of recovery. As you get stronger and feel better, you’ll gradually be able to return to normal activities. Your surgeon will tell you when you can have sex again and when it’s okay for you to drive. Adhering to your doctor’s every instruction during this time is the best way to ensure a smooth healing process.

2. Avoid strenuous activities

Most breast reduction surgeons require that you avoid strenuous activities such as exercising or lifting heavy objects especially if you want to look good in your before and after breast reduction pictures.  Other physical movements such as lifting your arms or bending are also forbidden because they can strain your incision sites and severely damage your surgical wounds. Even simple grocery bags should be avoided during the first few days after surgery as you give your body the space and time it needs to heal.

3. Eat well

Sticking to a proper diet can furnish your body with the nutrients it needs for a quick recovery. It’s okay to continue with your normal diet, but if your stomach is upset, switch to low-fat foods such as broiled chicken, plain rice, yogurt, and toast. Patients should drink plenty of fluids to keep their body hydrated. If you notice irregular bowel movements following the surgery, don’t worry as this is normal. A fiber supplement that is okayed by your surgeon should suffice.

4. Sleep in an elevated position

You will need to sleep on your back and in an elevated position during the recovery period. Keep in mind that any pressure applied to your incision site in the case you roll over can damage your wounds and cause severe complications. Dr. LaBarbera recommends that patients should support themselves with pillows so they maintain an elevated position through the entirety of their sleep.

5. Stay away from running water

Your surgeon will advise that you avoid showering while your wounds are still fresh, but most patients are usually able to shower after a couple of days. This should be taken very seriously because direct contact with water can cause a problems in your incision areas. If you need to wash yourself, consider using damp towels. Typically, surgeons require that you stay away from soaking in a bathtub for up to a month.

6. Avoid smoking and drinking

Smoking and drinking alcohol are potentially dangerous activities for patients who are recovering from any form of surgery, not just breast reduction. Harmful chemicals from cigarette smoking narrow blood vessels and reduce the amount of hemoglobin getting to the wound. This can impede the healing process and prevent wounds from closing properly. On the other hand, alcohol interferes with medication and thins out blood.

7. Care for your scars

Scarring is inevitable after any surgical procedure where incisions are made. Although no one can tell how your scars will turn out, Dr. LaBarbera uses the most advanced incision techniques to minimize scarring. You’ll also be provided with a post-op scar care regimen that you should stick to for the best outcome. It’s important to avoid exposing your scar sites to direct sunlight as this can lead to discoloration and tissue thickening.

Learn more about breast reduction

If you’re a Gilbert (AZ) woman who’d like to reduce the size of her breasts, you need a lot of questions answered regarding this procedure and the recovery process. Dr. LaBarbera is highly committed to providing a smooth experience for all his patients. During your first breast reduction in Gilbert AZ consultation, he’ll spend a tremendous amount of time listening to your concerns before professionally answering all your questions. Dr. LaBarbera has worked with countless breast reduction patients from Scottsdale, Phoenix, and other Arizona areas.

Jude LaBarbera MD Plastic Surgery of Gilbert