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Breast Reduction Recovery

Dr. Erik Miles understands that the recovery process is an important consideration for many breast reduction candidates. As such, he devotes a large portion of the pre-operative consultation discussing the recovery phase in detail. Dr. Miles is always clear that a smooth recovery hinges on the patient’s ability to follow his post-operative instructions to the letter, take medications as prescribed and attend all follow-up visits. In general, his patients normally tolerate the post-operative recovery phase very well, and are happy to trade a few days of slight discomfort for the significant improvement in breast size and shape.

What happens immediately after breast reduction surgery?

Usually the breast reduction procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at Dr. Miles’ state-of-the-art surgery center. The upper chest is covered in surgical dressings and a compression garment that helps support the healing tissues. Patients will receive specific instructions for changing the dressings and taking pain medication as needed to control any discomfort.

After a period of observation by the surgery center nursing staff, patients are released to go home under the care and supervision of a loved one. Some patients feel groggy from the anesthesia and opt to sleep for the remainder of the day.

In the days immediately following surgery, the breasts are usually bruised, swollen and tender. The reduction in size will be noticeable, however the final breast shape and appearance will not be evident for a few months.

How long does it usually take to recover from breast reduction?

The recovery timeline varies among Dr. Miles’ Charlotte breast reduction patients. Some recover more quickly than others. The timeline is not as important as how well the patient follows Dr. Miles’ instructions regarding medications, dressings, follow-up appointments and activity restrictions.  Following these instructions optimizes the body’s recovery and reduces the risk of complications like infection and blood clots.

Breast reduction patients have certain physical limitations in the weeks following surgery. Dr. Miles asks his patients to refrain from bending, lifting or straining for at least two weeks after surgery. Although he does encourage patients to take short walks as soon as they feel ready after surgery, other types of exercise or physical activity, including cardio and weightlifting, is discouraged until Dr. Miles gives the go-ahead. Most patients take about a week off from work, although those with physically demanding jobs may need additional time to recuperate.

Patients are usually asked to sleep in an upright position, propped up on a few pillows. They must refrain from getting the incisions wet for a few days and will need to take sponge bathes or make other modifications for bathing. Swimming is prohibited during the initial recovery period.

Full range of motion and activity level typically returns around six to 10 weeks after surgery, depending on the patient. Every patient is asked to see Dr. Miles periodically during the recovery so he can check the breasts’ healing progress. Scar management therapies are initiated after about two weeks.

Contact Dr. Erik Miles

For more information about breast reduction recovery, Charlotte plastic surgeon Erik Miles welcomes you to call or email our practice. If you are interested in having breast reduction, the best way to learn more about the surgery is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miles.