Breast Reduction

What to Expect in the Months after Breast Reduction Surgery

Woman trying on a dress in a boutique changing room.

Before getting any surgical procedure, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you can expect in the weeks and months afterward. Whether you’re still planning your breast reduction or have already had yours and are curious as to what you can expect a year after breast reduction surgery, this handy guide is a good place to start your research.

The First Days after Breast Reduction Surgery

In the first few days after your breast reduction, some swelling, bruising and tenderness are to be expected. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe appropriate pain management medication and guidelines, such as wearing a special surgical bra to help with swelling and discomfort. Follow his or her recovery instructions as closely possible to help you kick start your body’s healing process and reduce the risk of complications.

Arrange for some extra help with daily duties around the house, carpooling kids and taking care of pets. Focus on getting enough rest, eating healthy and drinking plenty of water.

The First Two Weeks

Most women plan to take at least two weeks off work to recover from their breast reduction. While you may be back to work and your normal daily activities, you should still avoid very strenuous physical activity at this stage of recovery. You should notice that swelling, bruising and tenderness are improving, but your plastic surgeon may ask that you still wear your surgical bra. Check in with their office before switching to a non-underwire sports bra.

The Next Weeks and Months

After the first two weeks of breast reduction recovery, you should be able to gradually reintroduce your body to more vigorous workouts and heavy lifting. But be sure to check in with your plastic surgeon periodically to make sure you’re healing on the right track and are cleared to start a new exercise routine.

Over the coming weeks and months, you should also begin to see gradual improvements to the size, shape and position of your breasts. Keep in mind that while swelling should be diminishing more and more each week, it can persist for six months or more. So don’t be discouraged if you’re still not seeing the exact outcome you’d hoped for just yet—it can still take some more time.

One Year after Your Breast Reduction

After your breast reduction, you should notice an improvement in back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as a boost of self-confidence.

By a full year after your breast enhancement surgery, you should be able to enjoy your final results and new body shape! At this point, you can feel free to treat yourself to a shopping spree to buy new bras and tops that fit your new body, since the majority of the changes post-breast reduction should be complete.

Some women may lose some sensation in their nipples or breasts following breast enhancement surgery. If this was the case for you, you might notice that the sensation is beginning to come back around a year later. In a few rare cases, loss of sensation can be permanent.

You might also notice that your scars are starting to look better and better with each passing month. It can take scars 18 months to fully mature, which is why they sometimes look worse before they start to look better. A year after your procedure, you should have no trouble working with your plastic surgeon to decide on the most appropriate scar treatment if you’d still like to minimize their appearance even further.


What to Expect in the Months after Breast Reduction Surgery
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What to Expect in the Months after Breast Reduction Surgery
Not sure what to expect a year after breast reduction surgery? Plymouth board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Harrington shares a helpful timeline.
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March 15, 2019
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