Recovery Tips for Breast Reduction Patients
Breast reduction surgery can be an incredibly beneficial procedure for patients suffering from the weight of overly large breasts. The techniques used in a breast reduction can help both men and women to overcome the difficulties they face. For men, breasts can cause embarrassment, difficulty participating in certain activities, and frustration. For women, overly large breasts are cumbersome, impeding many facets of their lives and often causing chronic pain in the shoulders, neck, and back. Deciding to have breast reduction surgery is an important first step toward reversing these unwanted circumstances. Follow these tips as you transition through the recovery process toward your new you.
Your Post-Operative Instructions
For your breast reduction to be a true success, you’ll have to allow your body the time and rest it needs to heal completely. Right from the moment you wake up after surgery, you should take your recovery time seriously. Start ahead of time by arranging for someone to drive you to and from your surgery. You won’t be able to drive yourself home afterwards. Ask this person to stay with you for the first couple of days of recovery if you live alone.
During your initial days of recovery, follow your surgeon’s instructions closely, especially when it comes to pain medication. Skipping doses and trying to fight through the pain on your own can stress your system and actually delay the healing process. Listen to your body and provide the comfort and support it needs to heal properly. You should also be sure to avoid other medications as instructed, which may include NSAIDS, alcohol and cigarettes, herbal supplements and more.
Your Activities & Exercise Matter
Right after surgery, you won’t be allowed to do very much at all and you probably won’t want to. Your body will be in need of rest as it begins the healing process, so rest and recline as much as you can. Leave the chores to your family and friends until you’re able to move more. Even then, don’t overdo it! Be sure to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions for activities that are allowed very closely so you don’t injure yourself or cause post-surgical complications. Your activities will gradually be reintroduced into your life and before you know it, you’ll be back in action.
As soon as you are allowed to start moving around again, do it. Walking is a safe activity that can help your body to heal. After breast reduction surgery, a daily walk may aid in reducing swelling, lowering your chance of developing a blood clot, and even brightening your mood. Since you can’t drive while you’re taking pain medication, walking to a friend’s house or the corner store can be a good way to give you some mobility and independence as your body recovers.
Taking Care of Your Incision
Once you leave the clinic or hospital where you breast reduction was performed, caring for the incision will become your responsibility. No one will have a better idea of how it looks and feels during those first few days and weeks. Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to replace the bandages, when to remove any stick-on stitches (called steri-strips) and what to do if you notice changes. Above all else, keep the incision clean and don’t submerge it in water until you are given the all-clear to do so.
You will also be given a pressure garment to wear after surgery, so make sure you do as instructed. This will alleviated some of the discomfort of your healing breasts and also help them to maintain their new shape as you recover. You will likely be told to wear this support garment for about six weeks. Finally, be careful not to exposure your incision scars to direct sunlight for about a year. Apply a strong sunblock to protect the scar tissue from blanching in the sum and becoming even more noticeable.
What If There’s a Problem?
Post-surgical complications are rare when you’re working with a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in the breast reduction procedure. While it is unlikely that you need to worry, it’s still important to know what to watch out for and how to manage any unexpected side effects of your surgery. Some conditions are minor and may require an office visit with your surgeon. Others are more serious and may need faster assistance at a hospital or clinic nearby. Talk to your surgeon about what you need to be aware of. Some of the possible complications are as follows:
- An increase in the amount of swelling or bruising, once the 48-hour mark has passed. Your breasts should be healing, with these symptoms subsiding gradually with each day.
- Swelling and redness that doesn’t subside at all. If you’ve plateaued and cannot find any relief from these symptoms, it could be the sign of a minor problem.
- Redness or increased puffiness at the incision site.
- Excessive pain that is not relieved by your medication. Some patients may simply need a different medication, while others may have the early signs of an issue.
- Any kind of reaction to your medication, including rashes and hives, nausea and vomiting, or headaches.
- A sudden, high fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Any green or yellow liquid oozing from the incision site.
- Excessive bleeding from your incisions. A little spotting is normal, but you should not be soaking through bandages.
- A loss of feeling or motion anywhere on the body or tingling that doesn’t begin to subside on its own.
This list might sound scary to some prospective patients, but remember that it is very rare that these complications occur. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, so always call your plastic surgeon if you notice changes or strange symptoms. Taking action at the first sign of a potential problem can make all the difference between and minor and major issue.
Where Can I Plan a Breast Reduction Surgery?
If you’re ready to plan for your own breast reduction, it’s time to meet with the right surgeon. Consult with Dr. Ronald Lohner, an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon based in Philadelphia who offers male breast reductions to his patients as a solution for gynecomastia. He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and medical school at UMDNJ-Rutgers. Currently, Dr. Lohner is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bryn Mawr Hospital and holds a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. His peers have selected him as a Philadelphia area Top Doctor for the last 8 years. His office is located at [primary_address] in [primary_city], [primary_statefull], on the Main Line. Please call his office at [primary_phone] to schedule a consultation.