What to do when you go home after Breast Reduction Surgery
There may be some pain in the first day or two after the procedure and some discomfort for about a week. You will be required to wear a surgical bra and take pain medication.
What else will happen in the recovery period?
The breast will be bandaged for support and can be removed a day or two after surgery, but you will have to continue wearing a surgical bra 24 hrs a day for 1-2 weeks while the swelling and bruising subside.
When will the bandages and drainage tube be removed?
A day or two after the operation, but the surgical bra should be worn 24 hours a day for about a month.
What is the recovery time?
Depending on the individual patient recovery times will vary. You should be up and about in a day or two but your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks.
When will my stitches be removed?
Almost all the stitches used will simply dissolve but if there are any clips they will be removed 5 days after surgery.
Will I have scarring?
The scars will be lengthy and may take months or years to settle. You will have follow-up visits in the months after surgery to check on your progress.
Will there be swelling and bruising?
There will be considerable swelling and bruising of the breasts which usually lasts 2-3 weeks.
Will I experience loss of feeling on my nipples?
After the surgery, it is normal for the area around the nipple and lower breast to feel different. This only usually lasts for a couple of months, though in some patients this can take much longer.
What if my nipples were moved?
If so, the loss of feeling on the nipples will likely be permanent.
What if fluids drain from the wound?
This is normal. However, if there is severe pain or bleeding, contact a doctor.
Will my breast feel tender?
Your breasts will ache and feel tender for a couple of weeks.
What about caring for my children?
If you have small children they may need to be cared for by your spouse or another guardian for the first few days.
What about bathing?
Although it is important to keep the breast area clean throughout the healing process, to avoid infections, breast reduction patients should not submerge their incisions in a bath, swimming pool or other body of water until the breasts have completely healed.
What about lotions and deodorants?
Avoid touching the incisions or bringing any product, such as lotion or deodorant, in contact with the stitched area.
What about menstruation?
The first menstruation after the operation may cause pain and swelling in the breasts.
When can I become active again?
Avoid any strenuous activity for at least 6 weeks and limit your exercises to stretching and swimming.
What about lifting and carrying?
You will need to avoid reaching or lifting of any kind for at least a week and for as long as two weeks.
What about sex?
You should refrain from having sexual intercourse for a week or so after the reduction procedure because becoming sexually aroused can cause the wound to swell.
When can I return to work?
Most patients will return to work within 14 days, but this is down to the individual.
When can I expect to make a full physical recovery?
This may take up to six weeks. As your body heals during that time, you will gradually regain strength of movement. Your scars may take up to seven months to completely heal.
How can I prepare at home before surgery?
- Unless you have someone who can cook for you, you should shop for food and treats such as prepared meals, frozen dinners, puddings and such. You can also cook a few meals ahead of time and freeze portions.
- Instead of heavy 2-litre bottles, buy bendable straws and canned drinks.
- Clean your house – or have it cleaned. You are not going to be up to housecleaning for at least a few days after your surgery, and probably longer.
- Take out the rubbish, recycling, etc. so you don’t have to worry about it when you get home after your procedure.
- Do all your laundry and change the sheets on the bed.
- Make a ‘Things to Do’ list (pay bills, change thermostat settings, errands, feed the pets, whatever) to remind your significant other what needs to be done.
- Purchase all of your medications, vitamins and bandages beforehand so that you have them ready.
- Place all medications either in a weekly pill case or in labelled containers. Mark the containers with the day and time you need to take them.
- Ask a friend or neighbour to look after your pet until you’re on your feet again.
- Have a table by your bed or reclining chair prepared with all of your medications, ample light, bottled water, a few packages of crackers, remote control (with new batteries!) and your phone.
- Have a night light set up so you don’t fall during late night bathroom trips. Medications can make you disoriented.
- Get some extra blankets, since you may get the chills after surgery.
- Place anything you usually need on a daily basis at hip level or on counters so that you don’t have to reach up or bend down. This means canned and dry goods in the kitchen and toiletries in the bathroom.
- Have your dressing gown and slippers nearby. Get slippers with non-slip soles, since you will be a bit unsteady on your feet for a few days.
- Have a few comfortable oversized shirts that open from the front on hand, as well as some loose elastic or drawstring sweat pants or pyjama bottoms.
- You may want ‘black out’ shades or curtains at your windows so that when you do get to sleep – regardless of the hours – you can stay asleep.
- If you think television, video games, or reading are eventually going to bore you or stress your eyes, have a CD or tape player on hand with your favourite relaxing music.
- Put crockery, cups and other frequently used items in low, easy-to-reach places.
- Get a seamless cotton sports bra that does up at the front.
- Have lots of pillows on hand.
What if something goes wrong?
Once you’re home, contact your surgeon immediately if you:
- Experience shortness of breath, chest pains or unusual heart beats.
- Notice any signs of infection.
- Experience bleeding.
- Experience a sudden increase in pain.
Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing.
Find out more
Only through an in-depth discussion with your surgeon will you be able to understand the risks, benefits and expected outcomes of this procedure.
If you would like to find out more about breast reduction surgery or arrange a consultation, contact us today on 08707 606 555, or by completing our online enquiry form for an immediate response.