What to Expect During Your Breast Reduction Recovery

Have you recently considered a breast reduction? If you are still on the fence, knowing what to expect during your breast reduction recovery can often help you make your decision and ensure that you remain comfortable while you heal.

At Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates in Missoula, MT, Dr. Stephen P. Hardy and his team are here to walk you through each step so that you know what to anticipate in the days and weeks following your surgery. Here, we will discuss how to prepare for your procedure, what to expect after treatment, and when your final results will show.

Preparation is Key

Resting at home is an essential part of recovery in the days immediately following surgery. Therefore, you must prepare any supplies or arrangements in advance. That way, you can avoid unnecessary anxiety the day of your procedure. Among the most important arrangements to consider are:

  • Finding a driver: Because this procedure requires sedation, patients should arrange for a friend or family member to drive them home immediately after surgery.
  • Food: Stocking up on food is one of the most important steps. Usually, softer foods are recommended during the first few days so that your stomach can recover from the effects of sedation.
Your final results are generally not apparent until six to 12 months after the procedure.
  • Placing items in easy reach: Be sure to arrange everything you will need on the countertops and not on a high shelf. By doing so, you can avoid lifting your arms over your head during the healing process and potentially pulling stitches.
  • Picking up prescriptions: We also recommend going by the pharmacy and picking up your prescriptions ahead of time. This will save you and your designated driver the hassle of trying to do everything the day of your surgery.
  • Work and childcare: Finally, be sure you have made any necessary arrangements, such as time off of work or childcare, ahead of time.

If you have time, you can also set up your favorite books, movies, and other entertainment at your bedside for easy access.

Immediately after Your Breast Reduction

Once your surgery is complete, Dr. Hardy will place dressings and gauze over the surgical site. You will also be fitted for a compression bra. If necessary, the doctor may also place surgical drains to reduce swelling and fluid buildup. Before you leave, our team will provide you with detailed instructions on caring for your incisions and emptying the drains.

Woman wearing compression bandage around breasts.

Keeping the breasts compressed with bandages and and a specialized bra can prevent fluid buildup in the days after your surgery.

The Days and Weeks Following Your Procedure

Generally, the doctor can remove gauze in about two to three days. However, patients should continue to wear the surgical bra until otherwise directed by their surgeon.

Swelling and bruising is a normal byproduct of the procedure and should not be a cause of concern. However, patients should avoid strenuous activity for several weeks to avoid pulling stitches or undermining their results. Patients who work office jobs or other routine non-physical labor can usually resume work approximately two weeks after surgery.

Results and Outcome

Because breast reduction surgery involves a substantial disruption of tissue, your final results are generally not apparent until six to 12 months after the procedure. Additionally, while surgical scarring is noticeable for the first several months, the incision lines will fade over time.

Ensure a Safe Recovery

If you are about to undergo breast reduction surgery, preparing for your procedure can significantly improve your overall experience. To learn more, contact us online or call our office at (406) 728-3811.

Contact Us

Please use this form to contact us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.