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Breast Reduction Surgery

How Breast Reduction Surgery Is Done

Depending on your personal situation, breast reduction surgery can be done in an outpatient facility, or you may have to stay at least one night in the hospital. In either case, you will get general anesthesia, which means you will be put to "sleep" during the procedure.

Breast reduction surgery will take about two to five hours, sometimes longer. Your surgeon will make a cut around your nipple then downward on the breast in the form of a keyhole. The operating team will remove extra skin, tissue, and fat from your breasts and reposition your nipple. Your surgeon may use drainage tubes and then stitch up your breasts and wrap them in a special gauze. You may also need to wear a surgical bra.

Recovery From Breast Reduction Surgery

You will need to take at least one week off from work or school for breast reduction surgery. Some people need two weeks, but each situation varies. Your surgeon will instruct you on follow-up appointments for removing bandages and stitches.

While you recover, you'll need to stop physical activity for at least one month after surgery.

After breast reduction surgery, you should expect to feel tired and to have breast pain. This is normal. Your surgeon will give you an oral painkiller to ease you through the first few days after surgery. You should also avoid heavy lifting.

Some people have an emotional reaction, such as feeling depressed, after the surgery. That can be normal, but make sure you tell your doctor about all your concerns.

Breast Reduction Surgery Complications and Side Effects

Scars are a normal side effect of breast reduction surgery. These scars will fade over time but will never completely disappear. Scars can be made worse if you lift heavy objects too soon after surgery. In rare cases, some people have certain complications, such as inadequate healing of the nipple area, that may require a skin graft.

After Breast Reduction Surgery, Contact Your Doctor Immediately:

  • At the first sign of infection, including fever
  • If you have any unusual discharge from the incision site (including pus)
  • If any of the stitches come out before you are due to have them removed
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