Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery and Post-Operative FAQs

Will I Have Bruising & Scarring After Breast Reduction Surgery?

It is completely normal to have both bruising and scarring after a breast reduction surgery.

The bruising will usually fade after 1-2 weeks but your scars may be visible for up to 12 months after surgery. It is essential you look after them properly and follow your surgeon’s post-operative advice closely in order to get the best results.

Looking for more information? Why not read the full breast reduction Aftercare Guide or the Scar Care Plan and discover more about Scarring on Black Skin here.

When Can I Start Exercising after Breast Reduction Surgery?

This is a question you should ask your surgeon in your post-operative appointment. They will know what is best for your specific situation. Generally speaking, however, you should look to keep mobile and take short walks in the days immediately after surgery to avoid blood clotting. Gentle exercise, like walking, cycling or cross training can resume after 3-4 weeks. Heavy lifting may be possible after 6 weeks and more rigorous exercise like ball sports may be possible after 3 months.

Find out more on this topic in this Breast Reduction Recovery Timeline

Can I have my Nipples Pierced after Breast Reduction Surgery?

Yes, it is safe to have your nipples pierced after you have healed from breast reduction surgery. It's important all swelling has gone down before you have any body modification done on your breasts or chest. If you have questions about piercing your nipples after breast reduction surgery, ask your surgeon for advice. They will let you know if your breasts are healed well enough to have it done safely.

How Long After Breast Reduction Surgery Can I Take a Flight?

It's vital to discuss this with your surgeon as different flights and destinations have varying restrictions, but in general, breast reduction patients are recommended to follow these guidelines:

  • Short (less than 3 hours) & Mid Haul (less than 5 hours) Flights:

Do not take short & mid-haul flights for 2-4 weeks post-operatively.

  • Long Haul Flights (more than 6 hours):

Do not take long-haul flights for 4-6 weeks post-operatively.

There are risks associated with flying too soon after surgery including deep vein thrombosis, you can find out more about post-operative risks here. You'll be able to discuss post-op travel with your surgeon in consultation as it's important you attend your necessary post-operative appointments and minimise post-operative risks and complications.

How Long Will I Be Away From Work After Breast Reduction Surgery?

You will need anywhere from one to two or more weeks away from work depending on how labour-intensive your job is.

Your surgeon will be able to advise you how much time you will need to take off. Generally, if your work is based in an office and does not involve any lifting, strenuous walking, or other physical activity, you will likely only need to be away for a maximum of a week and a half. Some Medbelle breast reduction patients feel ready to go back to office work in as little as 4 or 5 days.

If your work is more intensive, meaning the majority of your day is spent standing, walking, or moving, you will probably need to take at least two full weeks away. After two weeks, you will only be able to resume very light duties for at least a week to ensure you continue healing well. You can learn more about breast reduction aftercare here.

When Can I Start Wearing an Underwire Bra After Breast Reduction Surgery?

You will typically be advised to wear a post-op bra for 2-5 weeks after your surgery. For the first week, it is recommended you wear it day and night to prevent excess swelling. Generally speaking, you should be able to wear an underwire bra from around 6-8 weeks after your breast reduction procedure.

Keep in mind, the exact time it takes to heal enough for you to switch back to underwire bra can vary from patient to patient. Therefore, this is a question you should ask your surgeon in order to get specific advice.

Are Visitors Allowed to See Me in the Hospital After Breast Reduction Surgery?

Visitors are dependant on the hospital's regulations. As of mid-2020, healthcare regulations have become much more strict due to the coronavirus global pandemic. With these regulations, most UK hospitals do not allow patients to have visitors because of the potential for contamination. You can read about the latest hospital regulations regarding the coronavirus pandemic here

If you have a friend or family member picking you up after surgery, they will likely need to wait for you outside. Ask your Patient Care Adviser for detailed information about in-hospital visitors after breast reduction surgery.

What Kind of Post-Op Garment Do I Need After Breast Reduction Surgery?

When it comes to post-op garments or bras, it is important to follow the instructions and recommendations of your surgeon.

Your compression garment can be a sports bra or a purpose-made post-surgery garment. Compression garments by the brand Macon are regularly recommended by many surgeons. While each surgeon has their favourite brand or type, there are some basic features they agree on.

Generally, you should make sure your post-op garment:

  • Does not have underwires
  • Does not have padding
  • Closes at the front for easy dressing and undressing

If you are purchasing a sports bra to wear as your post-op garment, find one that is one or two sizes larger than your goal cup size to allow for swelling.

On the other hand, if you are purchasing a bra specifically made to be worn after surgery, purchase one in your goal size as the garment is designed to allow for swelling. Keep in mind a dark colour fabric will hide any blood or fluid stains better than lighter shades.

Will I Need to Stay Overnight in the Hospital After My Breast Reduction Surgery?

Your surgeon is the only person who can decide if you require a night’s stay in the hospital after your breast reduction.

They will base this decision on many factors including how much breast tissue must be removed during your surgery, your current health, your age, your weight, as well as the time of day your surgery will take place. If your surgeon believes you will need a night in the hospital, this will be included in your breast reduction price quote.

It's possible your surgeon could book you as a day-case, but then decide after surgery that it’s medically necessary for you to stay overnight. In this case, you will not be charged for this last-minute change.

How Long Will it Take For My Incisions to Heal After Breast Reduction Surgery?

In the first few days after your surgery, the treatment area will be sore. It may be pink or red and show signs of bruising.

The incisions may produce some blood or clear discharge. Keep the area clean and dry and inspect the incisions regularly to ensure there are no signs of infection. You can find out more about infections and other surgical complications here.

Your incisions should heal after 4-8 weeks, during this time they will soften into scars which you should keep clean, dry and out of direct sunlight, the scars will continue to fade over the next 12 months. Find out more on this topic on our Breast Reduction Recovery Timeline.

Will I be Given a Post-Op Bra to Wear After Breast Reduction Surgery?

A compression garment or post-op bra is always necessary after breast reduction surgery to reduce swelling and aid in healing.

Depending on your surgeon and the hospital your surgery takes place, a garment may be provided to you.

In other cases,, you may need to purchase one yourself and bring it with you on the day of your surgery. Even if you are provided one post-op garment by the hospital, it's recommended you purchase a second bra. This spare can be a less expensive model as long as it has all the crucial features of a post-surgery bra (front closure, no padding, no wires). Having a spare garment ensures you have something to wear while you wash the other during your recovery. The pre-surgery admission packet sent to you from the hospital in the week before your surgery will include information about the post-op garment.

As always, if you have questions or need clarification about your post-op garment, please reach out to your Patient Care Adviser.

Can You Help Me Get a Medical Note to Take Paid Time Off After My Breast Reduction Surgery?

Your best option to get a medical note for breast reduction surgery is to go directly to your GP after you have booked your surgery. Most GPs will be more than happy to give you the proper documentation so you can take medical leave while you recover. Your GP can also provide further medical leave notes for you if you do not feel confident you are able to return to work when your original note ends. You may also tell your surgeon that you require a medical note during your consultation.

Keep in mind that writing medical leave notes is up to the surgeon’s discretion, so always ask directly to avoid disappointment or stress later.

Published: Monday, 1 February 2021

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