Breast Reduction Surgery

Recovery

How long will it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

It can take 6 weeks to fully recover from breast reduction surgery. You should expect to wait 6-12 months for the swelling to go down completely and to see the final results.

You will have visible, red or bumpy scarring for at least 3 months after your breast reduction surgery. You may notice scarring across the crease underneath your breasts, around your nipples, running vertically down your breasts. The scars will continue to fade over the course of 12 months.

Every individual’s body is different and every person’s recovery process can be different. The following page offers a general overview of what to expect after a breast reduction procedure. This is just a guideline, however, and you will receive more detailed information about your recovery journey and personalised advice from your BAAPS / BAPRAS registered Medbelle surgeon during your consultation and follow-up appointment.

What common post-operative discomforts should I expect after a breast reduction procedure?

At Medbelle, we understand that surgery can be a daunting prospect. We want to ensure that every one of our patients understands exactly what to expect from a surgical procedure and receives the best possible information about the recovery process.

Like with any surgery, you will experience discomfort and pain in the days after your breast reduction procedure. Some of the common discomforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Burning sensations or shooting pains
  • Redness, swelling and bruising
  • Some drainage fluids originating from the incisions

What can I do to ensure the best possible recovery from breast reduction surgery?

The most important step after any surgical procedure is to follow your Medbelle surgeon’s advice as closely as possible. Nevertheless, here is a list of general post-operative dos and don’ts which may help to speed up the recovery process and, eventually, get the best results.

  • Do not drive after the procedure - arrange an alternative way to get home safely
  • Avoid scratching the treatment area
  • Wear a post-operative bra for up to 6 weeks after surgery, as instructed by your surgeon. Find out more about post-operative bras here
  • Refrain from smoking for six weeks after your surgery. Find out why all surgeons advise you to quit smoking for your surgery here
  • Maintain a healthy and nutritious diet to boost your recovery, we recommend high-protein, low-sodium foods, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Take a full week of work after your breast reduction surgery
  • Avoid tanning the area around the treatment area for up to six months and keep your scars away from direct sunlight until they are properly healed

Breast Reduction Surgery: Recovery Timeline

1-2 days after surgery

  • You will still be sore and the wounds will still be healing
  • Be careful when bathing and showering - usually, you will be advice is to sponge bath only for the first 72 hours
  • Your breasts may ‘ride high’ and the skin over them may feel tight
  • Your breasts will have a swollen, large and very ‘projected’ appearance - rest assured that this will decrease with time
  • You may still be feeling the effects of anaesthesia and it can persist for 72 hours after surgery
  • Do not drive during this time and drink plenty of clear fluids to help remove the medication from your body

3-4 days after surgery

  • You may still feel tired and lethargic, this is totally normal after surgery
  • Ensure you take pain medication and give yourself time to rest - listen to your body
  • You should be able to engage in very light activities
  • Take short walks, even just around the house at least three times a day to prevent blood clots forming after your procedure

1-2 weeks after surgery

  • Your white tape (steri-strips) will be removed after 7-10 days, your surgeon will give you further advise on wound care
  • Your mobility will still be restricted in your upper body - do not raise your arms above your shoulder or use your arms to push anything heavy
  • You will likely still be taking pain medication throughout this time, do so until the pain eases

3-4 weeks after surgery

  • Most of the pain should have passed, you may still feel lethargic
  • You should now be able to stop wearing your post-operative bra
  • You can start with light activity (treadmills) or sports without rigorous movement like cycling if you feel up for it

6 weeks onwards

  • Until this point, it is advisable to sleep on your stomach. From around 6 weeks on you may adjust your sleeping position to normal
  • You will now be able to resume more rigorous activities like workouts and contact sports if you feel up to it
  • Heavier objects like suitcases or groceries may now be comfortable to lift, but don’t push yourself too much

    If you want to find out more about the breast procedures that we offer please check our Breast Surgery page.