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What to Expect from Breast Reduction Recovery

By David Passaretti, MD on November 11, 2016


Incision marks for breast reduction surgeryMany women are dissatisfied with the appearance of their breasts. While many women are eager to increase the size of their bust line, overly large breasts are also a common problem. Dense, heavy breasts can affect body proportions, limit physical activities, and cause pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Breast reduction eliminates excess breast tissue to provide patients with a more proportionate, shapely bust line. This procedure is safe and provides patients with overwhelmingly positive results. However, prior to undergoing breast reduction surgery, it is important to understand the recovery process. Here, Dr. David Passaretti’s patients can learn what to expect from breast reduction recovery following treatment at our Fairfield, CT plastic surgery practice.

Side Effects

Although breast reduction surgery has been proven to be extremely safe, it is still a major surgery. As with any surgery, patients can expect to experience some side effects as they recover from their procedure. Below are some of the most common side effects of breast reduction surgery:

  • Discomfort: Breast reduction surgery is typically performed with the patient under the effects of general anesthesia. While this ensures patient comfort throughout treatment, there will be some discomfort once anesthesia has worn off. Patients may experience mild pain during the first several days after surgery. Dr. Passaretti will provide prescription pain medication that can be used as directed to minimize discomfort.
  • Bruising: Bruising is common after breast reduction surgery. Patients may develop significant bruising on the chest. These bruises typically begin to fade within about a week.
  • Swelling: Swelling should be expected after any surgical procedure. Following breast reduction surgery, the breasts may appear swollen for several weeks. It can take up to six months for swelling to completely dissipate and for the full results of surgery to be apparent.
  • Altered skin sensations: The skin of the breast, and the nipples in particular, may experience altered sensations during recovery from breast reduction surgery. Some patients may feel tingling or numbness in the nipples, while others may experience heightened sensitivity. These changes may last for several weeks or up to an entire year after surgery.
  • Scars: Breast reduction surgery requires incisions on the breast. These incisions will result in scars. During the first few months after surgery, these scars will appear red and bumpy. However, over time, the color of the scars will fade and the skin will not appear as raised. Usually, it takes up to a full year for scars to heal completely.

How Long Will Recovery Last?

Every patient will have a slightly different experience following breast reduction surgery. However, all patients should allow their body plenty of time to rest and recover. Patients typically require ten to 14 days of recovery before returning to work and other day-to-day activities. More strenuous activities, such as exercise and heavy lifting, should be avoided for at least six weeks. Even as the body begins to feel more normal it is important to remember that some effects of surgery can last for many months. It is important to allow plenty of time for the body to heal and for the full effects of surgery be realized.

Schedule an Appointment

Breast reduction surgery offers patients a safe way to improve body proportions and eliminate the pain of large, heavy breasts. If you have questions about breast reduction surgery or the recovery that follows, schedule an appointment with Dr. David Passaretti at your earliest convenience.

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