What can I expect after a nipple and areola reduction?
It is important to be aware of what you should expect after a nipple and areola reduction procedure so that you can go into the surgery feeling prepared. There are certain aspects of nipple reduction aftercare that you will need to follow in order to ensure that the treatment area heals well. This includes taking time off work, avoiding strenuous exercise, and washing and caring for your wounds properly. Below we have covered some of the basics of nipple reduction aftercare, however, your surgeon will give you specific advice and further information that you should follow.
How will I feel after surgery?
After the surgery, your wounds will be covered with dressings. These will stay in place for a couple of days before being removed. The treatment area may at first feel slightly tender and sore. You might also notice some minor swelling or bruising around the area. Your surgeon may suggest that you take painkillers to ease any discomfort and reduce any swelling. As a nipple reduction is a minor procedure, you will usually be able to return home on the same day. However, if you were put to sleep with a general anaesthetic, you may be required to stay a night in the hospital. You may also feel tired and groggy from this anaesthetic.
Is there anything I need to do in the first 24 hours?
It is a good idea to have another adult stay with you for at least 24 hours after the surgery. Particularly if you have had a general anaesthetic, you may feel tired or dizzy so it is best to have someone around. Having a friend or relative stay with you whilst you recover will also mean that they can help you with certain tasks like cooking or cleaning until you are back to your usual self.
How much time do I need to take off work?
The length of time you should take off work after your surgery will depend on your job. If your work is active and requires you to be on your feet, we advise that you take at least one week off. However, if you have an office job it may only be necessary to take a few days off. Your surgeon will give you a specific time frame that you should follow.
When can I return to exercise and sport?
Immediately after the surgery, it is important that you fully rest to allow your body to heal. Strenuous physical activity, particularly in the first week, can increase swelling and affect your recovery. You can gradually start resuming physical activities after a couple of weeks. Start off with some light walking, then gradually resume sports that do not require vigorous movements, like cycling. After 4 to 6 weeks, you should be fine to get back to your usual fitness regime.
What other points should I consider?
Swelling & Bruising
Some swelling around the nipple may occur after your nipple reduction surgery. You may also notice some mild bruising around the area. This is common and should generally begin to settle after 3 to 4 days. For the first few weeks avoid activities that may increase swelling, such as vigorous exercise, lifting heavy objects, or using saunas and hot-tubs. Try not to touch the treated area too much, and sleep on your back rather than your front to avoid compressing the nipples.
You will have minimal scarring following a nipple reduction surgery. For the first few weeks, any scars may appear pink and raised. Over time they will fade to faint white lines which will be discreet and barely noticeable. Taking care of your scars by moisturising and protecting them from sun exposure can help with the healing process.
You should avoid wearing items of clothing that compress the nipple for at least 2 weeks. This includes tight, fitted clothing and padded bras that can cause friction with the treated area. It is, therefore, best that you wear loose, comfortable clothing during your recovery period.
When will I see the final results?
You will most likely see a noticeable difference in your nipples immediately after the surgery. However, it is important to be patient as it can take up to 6 weeks to appreciate the full cosmetic results. This allows time for any swelling and bruising to settle and for your scars to fade. After the operation, your surgeon will cover the treated area with a protective bandage or dressing to support the nipple in its new position. Your surgeon will tell you how long this needs to be kept on for. Listening and adhering to your surgeon’s post-operative advice is essential in order for you to achieve the best results from your surgery. A follow-up appointment within a couple of weeks will be organised for you as part of your nipple reduction aftercare. Your surgeon will check your wounds to ensure they are healing well and will remove any stitches if necessary.