What to Expect during Breast Reduction Recovery

Women contemplating breast reduction surgery will understandably have questions about what the recovery process entails. Knowing what to expect as your body heals, and what you can do to facilitate healing, can make your recovery period faster and more comfortable. The two most important steps you can take to ensure an optimally safe and swift recuperation is by choosing a reputable surgeon and closely following their instructions. Dr. Oren Lerman is a highly regarded cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon in Manhattan, NY, who is happy to meet with you to discuss what you can anticipate of your procedure and the breast reduction recovery process.

The Day of Your Surgery

Immediately after surgery you will feel groggy, but relaxed. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings and bandages to prevent infection and to enhance tissue contouring. Some women may have drains inserted into each breast to assist with excess blood and fluid removal. You will be monitored for a few hours, then staff will review your specific postoperative instructions and clear you to return home. You should make arrangements in advance for a friend or family member to drive you home and help care for you over the next few days.

Patient wearing a surgical bra after breast reduction surgery.
Patients will wear a surgical bra for several weeks after a breast reduction

The First Couple of Weeks after Your Surgery

Most women will experience some level of discomfort following surgery. Pain can be managed with an over-the-counter medicine, or you may be prescribed a pain medication by Dr. Lerman. Swelling and bruising will be most pronounced during the first week, and should begin to taper off after this time, potentially lasting several weeks.

Your movements one to two weeks post-surgery will be significantly reduced, and you will need help performing household tasks, especially those that involve lifting and bending. This also restricts everyday activities such as washing your hair or lifting children. Although you need to rest and refrain from certain movements, it is important to take short walks soon after your surgery. Walking around the house will help reduce the risk of blood clots.

Patients should plan on wearing a surgical bra for several weeks once the bandages are removed. Drains are typically detached during your first follow-up appointment after surgery. Most patients have stitches and sutures removed about ten days after surgery.

The First Couple of Months after Your Surgery

Most women can return to work approximately two to three weeks after surgery, if their profession does not require physical activity. You will be able to return to your everyday activity level gradually, taking care not to overdo it and possibly injure yourself.

Patients will typically have incision scars that are a reddish color for several months, and then fade into thin white lines.

About three to four weeks after surgery, most women will be permitted to lift heavier objects over their head and resume exercise routines. Rigorous physical activity may require four to six weeks of healing before it can be resumed. 

Patients of all breast reduction methods, except liposuction-only, will have incision scars that appear a reddish color for several months, and then fade into thin white lines.

Learn More about Breast Reduction Recovery

If you would like to learn more about the breast reduction recovery process, call our practice today at (212) 434-6980, or send us a message online. Dr. Oren Lerman and his team look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Oren Lerman

Oren Z. Lerman, MD

Dr. Oren Lerman performs a variety of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures with a specialty in reconstructive breast surgery. In fact, he is the director of breast reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital's Institute for Comprehensive Breast Care as well as the Microvascular and Cosmetic Breast Fellowship. In addition to the hospital, Dr. Lerman is affiliated with:

  • The New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons (Past President)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery (Diplomate)
  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery

You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Lerman by filling out our online form or calling (212) 434-6980.

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"The one thing that is most important when we're doing cosmetic surgery and aesthetic surgery of the face or the body is to make sure that the patient is happy afterwards..." Dr. Oren Lerman

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