Breast Reduction: The Recovery 411

All you need to know about recovering from breast reduction surgery?

Most are surprised to learn that recovery from breast reduction surgery is one of the easier ones in plastic surgery.  Pain is rarely a problem and it is easily managed with pain medications and supportive undergarments after surgery.  Return to normal activities occurs quicker than other types of breast surgeries which is good for your life as whole.  Most importantly, there is a common feeling of relief when the surgery is completed. It is literally as if the weight that has been lifted, making the mental part of the recovery a breeze.  

Although recovery times can vary with breast reduction surgery, in general it will take you:

  • 1 week to get back on your feet and return to non physical work duties
  • 1-2 weeks to return to normal daily activities 
  • 4-6 weeks to return to your normal workout schedule.  

There are many tricks to help you feel more comfortable during recovery.  The use of local anesthesia during surgery really does help with comfort immediately after surgery.  Intermittent icing is sometimes helpful if ok’d by your surgeon.  Next we rely on pain medications, muscle relaxants and compression garments in the first week after surgery to minimize any discomfort and pain.  After 1 week, pain medication is usually not necessary and non narcotics like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be used instead.  Usually by 2 weeks after surgery all medications can be discontinued.  The length of use of the supportive undergarment will vary and just depends on how it makes you feel.  Most like the support and use it for the first 4 weeks of recovery.

After 1 month, you should be at your baseline but in many cases, getting back into your full exercise routine may take a little longer.  Exercise can cause swelling which can be uncomfortable, especially in the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.  It is best to ease back into this routine slowly and temporarily change up some of the exercises if necessary.

If your recovery seems slow, treatments like lymphatic massage and LED light therapy can really make a difference.  These are especially helpful after the first 4 weeks following your surgery.  Also, avoiding alcohol and smoking during recovery will be absolutely necessary as these two things will extend your recovery time.

Although there will always be some tough times during any surgical recovery, breast reduction surgery recovery should be easy.  Be confident with your choice and love your results.  There is only a few weeks of discomfort so it will be absolutely worth the short period of downtime.