Learn the Stages of Breast Reduction Recovery

Recuperating after your breast reduction surgery is not an intensive process. Dr. Roger J. Oldham can help make your breast reduction recovery as easy and comfortable as possible after surgery at his Bethesda, MD, plastic surgery practice. Dr. Oldham will inform you of all the risks prior to your procedure and carefully monitor your recovery through regular follow-up appointments.

For more information about the process of recovering from breast reduction surgery, reach out to us today.

Preparations Before Surgery

Iit is important to gather supplies beforehand so you can focus solely on recovery after the procedure. Your pre-operative instructions will inform you of any needed items ahead of time.

In the weeks before the procedure, patients should:

  • Avoid aspirin and non-steroidal inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and Advil, which can significantly increase the chance of  bleeding.
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products. Tobacco can considerably slow your recovery and interfere with proper healing. Doctors recommend quitting at least two weeks to a month before surgery.
  • Not eat or drink six to eight hours before the procedure.
  • Avoid using any lotions, creams, or powder the day of the surgery.

Immediately After Surgery

Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery and stay with you the night of your procedure. Driving and tasks such as cleaning or cooking will be too difficult for you to manage right away, so it is important to have a friend or family member available to help you.

In the first few days after your surgery, staying clean and resting are your top priorities. Dr. Oldham will secure your breasts in a surgical bra at the end of the procedure. After two days, your bra and dressings can be removed and you may shower. 

Stitches are all dissolving stitches that are buried under the skin surface so there will be no stitches to remove. You will need to take one to two weeks off work after your surgery, possibly longer if your job involves vigorous physical activity. Heavy lifting and exercise should be avoided for abut a month, as well. Sexual activity can be resumed when you feel comfortable enough but you should have a passive role for two to three weeks.

During your healing period, you will likely experience a number of side effects, including:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Minor bleeding

Though uncomfortable, these are normal and usually subside within a few weeks. If they do not, or you notice excessive bleeding, or signs of infection, contact our practice immediately.

Long-term Recovery

Even when pain and swelling fade, any contact with the breasts should be gentle for the next four to six weeks. Many patients have also reported that their breasts are more tender during their first post-surgical menstrual period and, in some cases, accompanied by minor pain. Dr. Oldham can prescribe pain medications to help keep any discomfort at a minimum.

Patients should keep in mind that their final results may not be evident for six months after surgery and the scars will continue to fade for at least 12 to 18 months. The slow recovery and delayed results lead some patients to feel discouraged or even depressed. For those struggling with psychological after-effects, therapy is often very helpful for working through their concerns.

Scarring

Some post-surgical scarring is inevitable, but there are a number of ways to minimize the severity of scars. Dr. Oldham will make your incisions in the most discreet locations possible, depending on the technique most appropriate for your individual case. 

Immediately after surgery, the incision sites are often red and lumpy. However, once healed, they usually fade to white lines and are often barely noticeable within a year. Non-smoking patients in overall good health will typically notice faster and more thorough healing.

Contact Our Plastic Surgery Practice Today

Dr. Oldham and his staff are committed to fulfilling each patient’s needs and expectations. His extensive skills and experience will help make your breast reduction recovery as comfortable as possible. To learn more about the breast reduction recovery timeline, contact our plastic surgery practice today.

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