Prior to undergoing a breast reduction procedure, it is important for patients to understand what to expect during the recovery period as well as how much time it will take before they can return to their normal activities. Dr. Lloyd Van Wyck in Ottawa ON, can guide each patient through the process to ensure successful results. At our surgical facility, we have created a warm and welcoming environment where patients can ask any questions or concerns they may have regarding breast reduction recovery. Knowing what to expect beforehand can help eliminate any surprises so you can achieve optimal healing.
Following Your Procedure
Your breast reduction will be performed as an outpatient procedure. After surgery, you will be monitored for an hour or more before you are cleared to return home to continue your recovery. You should arrange with a friend or loved one to provide transportation from our office.
Before you leave our facility, your chest will be bandaged and you will be sent home in a compression garment. This special garment looks much like a sports bra and is designed to keep the breasts stabilized and minimize any swelling. You can expect to experience considerable soreness during the first two days. Dr. Van Wyck can prescribe medication to relieve pain. Ice packs can be applied gently on top of your bandages to alleviate discomfort; however, you should not apply ice directly to your breasts.
Recovery times vary from patient to patient and will be affected by the complexity of your procedure and by the rate at which you naturally heal.While you will be able to walk around, it would be wise to have a trusted adult friend or family member with you for the first few days. Although you will be allowed to shower after several days, the range of motion in your chest and shoulders will be limited, and you may require some assistance to dress.
The Healing Process
Bruising and soreness is to be expected following any surgical procedure. This should gradually subside within a few weeks. Many patients also experience itching. If this occurs, Dr. Van Wyck can recommend a moisturizer, but it should not be applied directly on your incisions. For the first three days, you should wear your compression bandage or surgical bra over your bandages. Once the bandages have been removed, continued compression over the next few weeks can help aid the healing process. Additionally, avoiding cigarettes and other tobacco products can help reduce your recovery time.
Knowing what to expect beforehand can help eliminate any surprises so you can achieve optimal healing.
Dr. Van Wyck will determine the most appropriate time to remove your stitches. Removal is typically within one to two weeks. Depending on your profession and whether your job is primarily sedentary or physically demanding, you may return to work within 10 to 14 days, but you should avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for several weeks. Patients generally return to normal activity levels and exercise six to eight weeks following surgery. It may take up to six months for swelling to subside completely. Once all swelling has subsided, you should be able to enjoy the results of your breast reduction procedure.
What to Do if Complications Arise
Some women may experience numbness or altered sensitivity for up to a year after any type of breast surgery. In rare cases, these changes may be permanent. Dr. Van Wyck takes the utmost care in every surgery, but be alert and contact our office immediately if you notice symptoms such as:
- Unusual redness, tenderness, or swelling at the surgical site
- Stitches that come out before they are removed
- Increased pain
Some patients may have an emotional reaction—such as feeling depressed—after surgery. It is important that you discuss your mental state openly and honestly with Dr. Van Wyck so that he can provide you with the best resources to help you recover quickly.
Positive Effects of your Surgery
Many patients seek breast reduction surgery for alleviation of back, neck, and shoulder pain. In addition to those advantages, you may find that your breasts are better proportioned and your silhouette more youthful and attractive. Bras, swimsuits, and clothing may fit better and feel more comfortable. You may be able to exercise more effectively and you may enjoy increased confidence.