Breast reduction operations boast the highest satisfaction rate of any cosmetic surgery procedure. The procedure is a popular solution to numerous problems stemming from a large breast size, including if you suffer from back, neck and shoulder pain; discomfort or skin irritation from bra strap grooving; and difficulty exercising or finding clothes that fit. Not only can breast reduction surgery alleviate these symptoms, the procedure can significantly improve your quality of life by eliminating many of the physical restrictions you may experience prior to electing for surgery.

 

Pre-operative considerations:

Although most patients seeking breast reduction surgery are good candidates, a number of factors affect one’s readiness for surgery. Patients who are significantly overweight are often required to lose weight prior to the operation in order to decrease their risk of post-operative complications. Smokers also have an increased risk of wound complications, and are required to cease smoking for at least three weeks prior to surgery, which may delay the scheduling of the procedure. While most breast reduction surgeries are performed by themselves, some patients can benefit from additional body contouring procedures, such as abdominoplasty or liposuction.

 

About the procedure:

Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes approximately two to three hours. It is an outpatient procedure, typically requiring no more than a 24-hour hospital stay.

 

Post- operative instructions:

  • Following the operation, you will wake up with bandages and a brassiere covering your breasts. Dr. Sati, MD, may decide to insert drainage tubes (small tubes the size of IV tubing) during the operation, which will be removed before you leave the hospital, or within 48 hours of the procedure.
  • Occasionally, patients complain of nausea following the operation. This generally passes after 24 to 48 hours, and is minimized by consuming liquids frequently and avoiding taking pain medication on an empty stomach.
  • Once home, you may get up to use the bathroom or to take a light walk around the house. When taking pain medication, exercise caution in the home, particularly when performing tasks like climbing stairs.
  • The bandages and brassiere must stay in place for two days, after which you may remove them to shower. It is important to have someone assist you in the shower, in case you feel faint. Do not remove the tape over the incisions, although it can get wet. Avoid directing the water pressure toward your breasts, and gently pat dry when finished.
  • With the exception of showering, a brassiere or sports bra should be worn at all times, day and night, for six weeks after the procedure. Use a supportive sports bra without underwire; some have a zipper enclosure in the front, which can be helpful during the recovery period.
  • Rest and sleep on your back, not on your front or sides.
  • You will be able to resume driving after one to two weeks, though it should be avoided when taking pain medication, which causes drowsiness. Light exercise, such as walking or using a stationary bike, may be resumed after at least two weeks. Heavy exercise, heavy lifting and carrying a backpack are not permitted for at least six weeks after the procedure.

 

The healing process:

  • Following the procedure, your breasts will be swollen, bruised and sensitive. Pain medication may be used as prescribed whenever experiencing discomfort. Swelling and bruising will take several weeks to subside.
  • Most patients take a week off work, though they feel well after a few days.
  • Numbness in the breast and nipple area is commonly experienced, and tends to improve over several weeks or months.
  • Occasionally, patients experience drainage from the incisions, which may last a few weeks. To protect your clothes, place a piece of gauze or a cotton sanitary napkin in your sports bra or brassiere.
  • The incisions may be raised, red or hard to the touch for several months.
  • Your breasts will appear very round and high on your chest, but will resume a more natural shape gradually over the following months.
  • The final results of the procedure will not be apparent for six months to one year after the operation.

 

Follow-up appointments:

  • First follow-up: Within one week of the operation
  • Second follow-up: Three weeks after the operation
  • Subsequent appointments are typically scheduled for three months after the procedure.