Breast Reduction Surgery: What to Expect
Our breast reduction surgeons will guide you through every step of the surgical process. This starts with a personal meeting to determine the approach that would best meet your needs, and continues throughout your recovery.
Preparing for breast reduction surgery
We start with a breast reduction consultation to discuss your goals and discover if surgery is right for you. Sometimes women may only need a breast lift and not a full breast reduction. Different surgical techniques are available for each procedure, and we discuss each one with you. Bring a list of questions to ask a breast reduction surgeon.
During your breast reduction consultation, you will be asked about your physical health, medications you take, and if you use tobacco. We also discuss symptoms you are experiencing due to having large breasts. This can include both physical and emotional discomfort.
You will receive a physical examination, and pictures of your breasts may be taken for your medical record. Your surgeon will also explain the risks that come with all surgeries and possible breast reduction complications.
Breast reduction surgery
If surgery is scheduled, we will provide instructions on how to prepare, including any foods, drinks or medications to avoid. You may be asked to get a mammogram before the procedure, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. This will be helpful when examining any changes in your breast tissue that occur after surgery.
You will receive general anesthesia for the surgery, which takes two to four hours on average. Your surgeon removes breast tissue and skin. The remaining skin and tissue will be lifted and shaped to the desired profile. The surgical team will take care to preserve nipple sensitivity.
Breast reduction recovery
You will either spend the night in the hospital or return home after surgery. If you go home, you may be asked to return for a post-operative office visit the next day.
A specialized surgical bra will provide support and help minimize swelling as you heal. Your surgeon will let you know when you will be able to wear a regular bra.
Your surgeon may prescribe medications to help manage any pain or discomfort, which can last one to two weeks. Your care team will talk about activities to avoid and what to wear after breast reduction surgery.
You’ll want to avoid heavy lifting or straining until your surgeon says you can return to this type of activity. Some women take one to two weeks off from work to allow for a full recovery. Talk to your surgeon about when you can resume exercise or other strenuous actions.
Breast reduction surgery results
Your breasts should fully heal within two to three months, although many women report near immediate relief from the neck and shoulder pain they experienced before their breast reduction. Having smaller, lighter breasts also gave them a renewed sense of self-confidence and freedom to do and wear what they want.
Your surgeon and care team will check in with you throughout the healing process and are always available to address any of your concerns, including questions about safe pain management methods and how to treat breast reduction scars.
Breast reduction FAQs
Want to learn more? Read our frequently asked questions about breast reduction surgery at LG Health Physicians Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery.
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