Although breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, has been performed for over a century, the procedure did not become popular until the mid-1980s. At Salas Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL, Dr. R. Emerick Salas, M.D. is excited to offer this life-changing procedure. To help you determine if it is right for you, today, we are discussing how long it takes to recover from the procedure, what you can expect during the recovery and how to make it go faster.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Breast Reduction?
Recovering from a breast reduction can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Everyone recovers at a different rate, but the most important factor determining how long recovery takes is what you define as recovery. You will only need to take a week off from work if you have a sedentary job or two weeks off from work if you have a very active job.
Nevertheless, depending on how you feel, you may need someone to help you take care of your pets and household chores for up to three weeks. If you define recovery as having no restrictions regarding activities you can perform safely, you will not be recovered fully for six weeks. Until six weeks have passed since your procedure, you should not engage in vigorous exercise like swimming, weight lifting, running up hills and biking at an intense pace.
What to Expect During the First 72 Hours Post-Op
In the first 72 hours following your procedure, you will feel tired. During the first few hours after your breast reduction, you can expect to feel groggy. We strongly encourage you to nap whenever your eyelids feel heavy. The more you rest, the sooner you will heal and recover. It is perfectly normal to feel groggy after any procedure that involves general anesthesia or sedation. Be patient, rest, and the grogginess will fade.
You can expect to continue feeling exceptionally tired after the grogginess wears off if you take prescription analgesics. Again, this is a perfectly normal response to these medications. Listen to your body and take a nap whenever you feel like staying awake is too hard. We recommend arranging activities that do not take too much mental energy to keep yourself entertained.
What to Expect a Week After Your Procedure
A week after your procedure, you can expect to start feeling like your old self. If you have a desk job, you may return to work if you want to. You should also be taking long walks around the neighborhood if you are feeling well-rested.
You are free to drive 24 hours after you have stopped taking your prescription analgesics. Most people find they only need to take these medications after a few days. However, you may need to take the drugs for more than three days depending on the extent of your procedure.
What to Expect a Month After Your Procedure
A month after your procedure, you will be essentially fully healed. While everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect for your incisions to be healed fully three to four weeks after your procedure. Once your incisions are fully healed, you may take a bath.
Note, you cannot shower within the first 24 hours post-op. If you want to wash your hair within the first 24 hours of your procedure, you can have someone help you take a bath in your sink or buy dry shampoo.
How Can I Make My Recovery Process Go Faster?
There are several things you can do to make your reduction mammoplasty recovery go faster but they can all be summarized succinctly. Follow all of Dr. Salas’s instructions to the letter. During your initial consultation, you will receive an all-inclusive list of instructions. If you don’t believe you can follow all of these post-op care instructions, you may not be a good candidate for this procedure. Here is a brief overview of what will be expected of you.
Drink More Water Than You Think You Need to
One of the easiest ways to help your recovery go faster and more comfortably is to drink more water than you think you need to drink. Unfortunately, many Miamians think that drinking when they are thirsty is adequate. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, by the time you feel thirsty, you have actually been dehydrated for quite a while. Furthermore, most people mistake thirst signals for hunger and eat something salty rather than drink something hydrating.
The only way to know for sure if you are hydrated is to assess the color of your urine. If it is not at least very pale, you are dehydrated and need to focus on consuming more hydrating foods and beverages. Staying hydrated will shorten your recovery time and increase your comfort because it helps to keeps your blood pressure within a safe range and water is necessary for the healing of your skin.
Sleep More Than You Usually Do
Sleeping more than you usually do is also an important part of healing as quickly as possible after your procedure. Most people suffer from sleep deprivation; even if you do not suffer from sleep deprivation, your body will heal itself faster the more you allow it to rest. To make sure you get enough sleep, let the people in your house know how important your rest is. Then, turn off all of your alarms and let your brain wake you up when your body is rested well enough.
We strongly encourage you to practice sleeping on your back in the two weeks leading up to your procedure if you do not usually sleep on your back. You need to sleep on your back for the first 14 days post-op. You can’t sleep on your stomach because too much pressure would be put on your incisions. It is advisable to practice sleeping on your back before your procedure so you are more likely to sleep soundly when you need adequate rest the most.
Take Several Short Walks Per Day
It is crucial that you nap when you feel tired, try your hardest to sleep at least nine hours per night and rest when you feel only a little tired. Nevertheless, it is also crucial that you walk as much as you can. Walking supports your cardiovascular system and your cardiovascular system plays a critical role in transporting nutrients to your skin so it can heal.
Remember, listen to your body. You don’t need to try to walk at a moderate pace for exercise within the first 24 hours post-op. However, after the first 24 hours, consider pacing up and down the hall until you feel tired. You may want to walk around your house for the first couple of days until you feel confident that you can walk outside without feeling too tired and needing to sit down urgently.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
During your initial consultation, we will review your medical history and assess your current health to ensure that you are healthy enough for this procedure. Once we determine that you are healthy enough to be considered a good candidate for this procedure, we will discuss your goals with you to ensure that it is an appropriate solution for you to achieve your goals.
Most people who want to reduce the size of their breasts will be considered a good candidate if they are fairly healthy. However, this is not always the case. For example, you may want to hold off on this procedure if you are planning to have children in the future. Pregnancy often leads to an increase in breast size and this change may not go away on its own. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when considering whether this procedure is for you:
- Do I want this change for myself or am I doing it for my partner?
- Is there another way, like weight loss, that I can achieve my goals?
- Am I only trying to improve my appearance or am I also trying to improve my quality of life?
- Am I considering this procedure because I think it will give me the self-confidence to meet a partner?
- Can I really follow all post-op instructions completely?
- Do I have the time to take off from work during my recovery process?
Learn More About This Life-Changing Procedure Today
A breast reduction can improve your quality of life in ways you may currently be unable to imagine. Women who opt for this procedure because they are displeased with the size or shape of their breasts often notice that their lower back pain is eased after this procedure. If you think reduction mammoplasty can benefit you, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Salas at Salas Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL.