How long is the recovery after a breast reduction, and how painful is it?

Stephen Handisides
Health Education
Breast reduction surgery reduces the weight of the breast and lifts the breast. It is usually an outpatient procedure and indicated for symptomatic hypermastia, or large breasts which cause neck and back pain, rashes and difficulty fitting into bras. There are numerous types of breast reduction patterns, and in general you will feel almost instant relief from your symptoms rather than discomfort from the actual procedure.

Most patients will take pain medication (Vicodin) for about two or three days after breast reduction. Most patients reveal that their breasts are sore and burn a little during the first 24 hours, but the pain is not excruciating. Since breast reduction does not involve bone or muscle, but skin and breast tissue, it does not cause severe pain afterwards.
Tara Whitworth
Breast reduction surgery requires a large incision, which can be rather painful. Fortunately, your physician will prescribe pain pills for you to take during the most painful part of your recovery. You will need someone to stay with you for the first 2 days or so, as you will be sore and groggy. Your breasts may be wrapped for the first night after surgery. You will need to return to the office the next day to have your wrap removed. It is important that you follow the instructions for caring for your incision, as wound healing issues are the most common complication with breast reduction surgery. Finally, be sure to get plenty of rest and take it easy.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
The recovery after a breast reduction is normally 6-8 weeks. The inflammation and swelling takes at least 6 weeks to reduce to a point that the breast starts to feel soft and natural. Drainage tubes are normally placed for 24 hours and then removed. Sutures are then removed usually between 2-3 weeks post surgically from the skin. Patients can usually wear a regular bra at 4 weeks and can continue to proceed with exercising at 6 weeks. In fact, breast reduction surgery is not all that painful to the majority of patients. Remember, unlike breast augmentation where implants are placed behind the muscle, a breast reduction surgery is removing skin, glandular tissue and fatty tissue in which there are few nerves and therefore the majority of our patients haven't experienced a great amount of pain post surgically.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.