The day of your breast reduction will be a difficult one. You’ll wake up after your surgery in typical anesthesia disorientation. You’ll be sporting a very tight fitting surgical vest, draining tubes coming out each side of your breasts, and you’ll be in a very large amount of discomfort but not so much in pain due to pain killers.
After the hospital staff observes you for a few hours, it is likely that you will be allowed to go home where you will need someone to care for you for the next few days. Before the hospital releases you, however, they will show you how to care for your incisions, instructing you how often to change the bandages, how to empty your drain tubes, as well as give you a written sheet with other after surgery instructions.
How will your breasts look at this point? Don’t even try to gauge this. You will notice a difference and will even feel smaller but with the swelling and bruising that you will have after the surgery, your breasts may look horrible. But don’t worry, it is only temporary.
A few days after the surgery, you will need a follow-up visit with your plastic surgeon. At this first visit, he will check the incisions for any sign of infection and may remove the draining tubes. If you’ve had a complete rework done on your breasts (for instance, if you were very large and have had quite a bit removed) you will likely have had a nipple graph. At this visit, your doctor may decide to remove the foam piece that was stapled over the nipple graph. This will not be painful.
Your plastic surgeon will give you further instructions based on how well you are healing and will also have you schedule an additional follow-up for the next week or two.
What to Expect
Even though a breast reduction is typically an outpatient procedure, don’t expect to be able to do cartwheels within the first few days. You’ve just had major cutting done so you should not expect to be back at 100% capacity even in the first few weeks. Your breast area will be sore and you’ll notice a painful strain on the incisions should you try to stretch to reach or when you move from laying down to sitting up. For the first few days, you’ll have a pain killer but afterwards, ibuprofen will ease the discomfort.
Do not reach over your head for the first couple of weeks as you could run the risk of opening your incisions. Do not lift anything heavy. You might be able to switch to a more comfortable bra after the first two or three weeks but keep in mind that most bras will rub on the incision areas. Because the surgical vest covers a larger area in the front and is tight fitting, it will not rub the area and will ease the strain on the incisions. It may seem a bit tight and uncomfortable but it is manageable compared to the strain on your incisions should you give up the vest too early.
Gradually, you’ll be able to do more and more. Your full range of motion should return between 6 to 10 weeks depending on how well you have healed. Within six months, you should be able to do all those things you wanted to do but couldn’t because of your over sized chest.
If you would like more information on breast reduction from how to determine if insurance will pay to what to expect at the first consult, click here to view my article catalog. Type “breast reduction” into the search box on the right side of the screen and click “search”. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on any of the articles and I will answer as soon as I can.
Sources: Personal Experience