Is Breast Reduction Surgery Safe? Is it Painful?

Considering breast reduction surgery is a big deal, We're here to help settle your nerves and address honestly the biggest concerns surrounding pain and safety.

Is Breast Reduction Surgery Safe? Is it Painful?

Written by Medical Quality Officer, David Jones , MPharm

Medical Review by Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Lizzie Tuckey , MBBS, BA

Published: Friday 7 June 2024

Undergoing any form of surgery is a big decision for any patient to make and breast reduction surgery is no different. It's highly possible that you've been considering this procedure for a long time but there is that voice in the back of your head that's holding you back. Many patients experience feelings of fear and are scared about the risks, results and the prospect of pain. No doubt you want to know if breast reduction surgery is painful and what risks there are. These are all perfectly natural concerns to have but doing as much research as possible and addressing these worries will help you in your desire to move forward with breast reduction surgery.

Is Breast reduction surgery painful?

Pain is a very personal thing, what's slightly uncomfortable for one individual, hurts for another. During the procedure itself you'll be under a general anaesthetic meaning you will be asleep and unaware of anything that's happening. When you awake in your room you'll likely feel groggy and in some cases a bit nauseous, but you'll be monitored by the nurses to make sure you're well enough to be discharged. You'll feel tenderness in the chest area and may be fitted with your post-op bra.

Following breast reduction surgery, the majority of patients will experience mild to moderate pain. Sensations typically felt vary from swelling, tenderness, stiffness to shooting pains or a burning sensation. Breast reduction surgery is one of the more invasive breast procedures and as such comes with a more prolonged recovery. Many patients ask about whether breast reduction surgery is painful whilst in consultation and your surgeon will be able to give you realistic expectations.

Patient waking up from surgery

Is breast reduction surgery recovery painful?

You can expect to be given painkillers and a hospital contact when you're discharged following the procedure. These will help in making you feel more comfortable during the initial recovery period. Typically, you can expect to take painkillers as prescribed for one to two weeks, but do discuss any ongoing discomfort at your follow-up appointments. You may also have drains placed in the breast to help draw out any fluids the body creates when healing, you'll be shown how to care for these by a nurse, but the drains may cause extra sensitivity around these sites.

It's important to pay attention to your body, if you're feeling particularly tender or sensitive then you should resist pushing yourself too much and take the time to rest. We understand it's important for you to get back to everyday activities as quickly as possible, but overexerting the body following surgery can actually delay or negatively affect the recovery and results.

Talking to your surgeon about your concerns will allow them to manage your expectations and offer a sense of relief and understanding both before and after your breast reduction surgery.

Learn more about breast reduction surgery

Scared about breast reduction surgery?

As mentioned above, you will be under an anaesthetic for the procedure and this can be daunting to some patients. Anaesthetics have improved and developed vastly over the years with far fewer complications. You too can help reduce issues that could occur by being honest with the surgeon about your medical history and previous experiences. The surgeon will inturn evaluate and discuss your options.

After waking from the breast reduction surgery you will feel drowsy and weak for a couple of days so it's important that you have adult supervision for at least the first 24 hours after you're discharged. In fact, you will not be allowed to leave the hospital without a chaperone. So be sure to ask a friend, family member or trusted loved one to help out and pick you up.

Is Breast reduction surgery safe?

Another concern for many patients is the safety of the breast reduction surgery. Over 4000 women had a breast mammoplasty last year alone in the UK and it is the second most popular plastic surgery procedure in the country. These numbers indicate the safeness and assurance of the treatment, but you can do your utmost to ensure you're in the very best of hands. Selecting a surgeon with years of experience and top credentials means your care and safety is their number one priority.

Furthermore, avoiding the lure of going abroad to save money on surgery will mean you have the necessary aftercare and support within reach of your home.

Thinking about having breast reduction surgery is a very subjective situation and no doubt you have to weigh up everything before making your final decision. What you can do to feel more confident about the procedure is to understand in-depth the ins and outs of the treatment and read up about patient experiences to get a feel for what the patient goes through, the ups, the downs and more importantly how they felt about the whole process. Many of the patients go on to talk about if breast reduction surgery is painful which will help you prepare.

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