3 min read

How long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

04 May

Breast reduction surgery reduces the size of large breasts and creates an attractive breast shape. For a prospective patient, the recovery and downtime after this surgery plays a very important factor in the decision making process. In this blog, I’ll discuss recovery and downtime including what to expect and what you should avoid doing during this period as well as possible complications.

Typically breast reduction surgery is a safe procedure and patients heal well with no complications. The surgery involves removal of fatty tissue, breast tissue, and skin, and as it does not involve removal of muscle, it generally leads to a smooth recovery. Most patients need a week off work. To optimise healing, patients are instructed to wear a surgical bra, or a bra with no underwire, for four to six weeks after the procedure.


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What to expect after breast reduction surgery

During the first two weeks:

  • You will be given instructions about caring for the wound and dressings
  • You will be advised to take antibiotics and pain medications

You will also need to restrict your activities. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities involving shoulder and chest movement for the first four weeks. However, most patients resume most light regular activities immediately after surgery.

You may experience swelling or tenderness in your breasts immediately after surgery. There may be some pain for a few days, made worse by activity, that is controlled by pain medications. Dissolving stitches are commonly used and any sutures that need trimming is done at the first post op visit. Scarring is prominent initially as it is red and raised. It feels hard like a cord and is usually itchy. As time goes on the scar will gradually lighten or fade away, usually over a period of twelve months.


Possible complications to look out for post breast reduction surgery

Diabetes, obesity and smoking increase the risk of wound healing complications after the surgery. Some patients experience swelling and discolorations, which may be a hematoma (a blood clot within the breast tissues). If you experience this symptom, consult your doctor immediately. Wound break down and infection needs to be treated urgently with antibiotics, and in extreme cases more surgery.

A few patients also find their skin becoming dry, flaky and itchy, which is nothing to worry about. This is quite normal with the beginning of the healing process. However, if you experience constant itching, it may be due to an allergic response to one of the medications.


Things to avoid doing during recovery

You should allow the healing to proceed uninterrupted for 4-6 weeks. Activities and actions that interfere with the healing should be avoided, such as:

  • Excessive physical activity
  • Gentle shoulder movements
  • Raising your arms over your head during the recovery phase
  • Smoking

Be sure to take care of your wounds and follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions regarding medications, bra support and activities.

On realself.com 98% of over 2,500 people surveyed say that a breast reduction is worth it. If you’re thinking about getting the surgery, do your research and don’t be afraid to consult with more than one plastic surgeon. Ultimately you need to be comfortable with them and confident they are going to deliver the results you expect.

Since you’re reading this article, you may be interested in attending one of my free monthly information evenings. It’s for people who have questions about cosmetic surgery, but are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation. Held in an intimate and friendly group setting, of no more than ten people, you’ll have an opportunity to speak directly with me about the type of surgery or treatment you’re interested in. Don’t worry, you’re not expected to commit to anything after this event. If you’d like to learn more about the evening or register your place, simply click on the button below.


plastic surgery Bondi Junction Sydney


Topics: Breasts
Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.