Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure that involves removing excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts to reduce their size and shape.
This surgery can be performed for both cosmetic reasons—like changing the aesthetic or appearance of the body—and for medical reasons, such as reducing pain and discomfort caused by large breasts.
Breast reductions are very commonly performed procedures. One of the most common questions that patients have before undergoing this procedure is how long it breast reduction recovery takes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the recovery process for breast reduction surgery, including how long it takes, what to expect and tips for a smooth recovery.
If you’re considering a breast reduction, you should know that the surgery is typically done under general anesthesia and can take a few hours to complete. The method your surgeon chooses will depend on your specific needs, but there are two main kinds: the traditional method and the liposuction method.
The traditional method involves making an anchor-shaped incision around the areola (the ring of pigmented skin around the nipple), down the front of the breast and in the breast crease. Your surgeon then removes excess fat, tissue and skin and repositions the nipple and areola higher on the breast.
The liposuction method, also known as the “short scar” method, involves making a smaller incision around the areola and using liposuction to remove excess fat. The nipple and areola are then repositioned and the skin is tightened to reshape the breast. In both cases, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures, and a surgical bra is placed to support the breasts during the healing process.
The appearance of the breasts after reduction surgery will depend greatly on the starting size and shape of your breasts, as well as the specific technique used by your surgeon. In general, the goal of the surgery is to create a breast shape that is proportionate to your body (and to reduce the size of the areolas if necessary.) The incision lines are placed strategically to minimize visible scarring.
Recovery periods can vary from person to person and it’s important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon. As the swelling and bruising subside, the final results of the surgery will become more apparent. The breasts will be smaller and significantly more lifted, with a more youthful shape and appearance.
In the short term, you can expect to be in your post-op recovery phase for around three weeks. Long-term recovery generally lasts between three and six months.
Recovering from a breast reduction takes several weeks, and it’s important to be prepared for the process. Immediately after the surgery, you can expect to experience some swelling and bruising. You might also feel some pain and discomfort; most people report feeling a little sore. This is completely normal and can be managed with medication prescribed by your surgeon. It’s also best practice to have someone like a partner, friend or family member around for the first few days after surgery to help you lift heavy objects if necessary and make sure you’re taken care of.
You will also need to wear a surgical bra or bandages to support your breasts during the healing process. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions for caring for your incisions and avoiding any activities that could cause strain or injury to them. Make sure to take it easy for at least a week, if not longer. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy and don’t engage in any strenuous exercise until your doctor says it’s okay.
Another important aspect of recovering from your surgery is your sleeping position. You’ll need to sleep on your back for at least two to three weeks. This can pose an issue to people who are stomach or side sleepers. Your surgical team is always here to help with questions regarding sleep quality and figuring out how to best help you catch some Z’s after your surgery.
And keep in mind that your breasts won’t look their final shape directly after the surgery. Your full results can take weeks or even months to be revealed. You will have follow up appointments to monitor your recovery and make sure everything heals flawlessly.
A breast reduction dramatically alters your appearance. To get an idea of what it might look like, you can browse our gallery of before and after photos here.
The team at Plastic Surgery of New York is always available to answer any questions regarding breast reduction surgery and the healing process. For more information or to talk to one of our expert staff members, drop us a line at 855-770-1121. We’ll even set up a consultation free of charge.