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

As with the recovery process following any major cosmetic surgery, breast reduction recovery will require time. To prepare the patient for the recovery period, the surgeon will discuss during the consultation about what to expect in the weeks and months following breast reduction.

The patient should make a judicious decision after committing to the time it will require to recovery after a breast reduction. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jacob Bloom provides breast reduction to patients in Chicago, IL, and surrounding locations in this region of the Midwest.


First Two Weeks

Some swelling and bruising is expected during the breast reduction recovery period. The bruising will subside in the first two weeks, but swelling may resolve gradually over several weeks or months.

The patient can use a moisturizer on the breasts to mitigate any itching and dryness, but avoid applying directly to the incision sites. The patient should carefully follow the post-operative care instructions from the surgeon to minimize discomfort and expedite the healing process.

For the first three or four days after breast reduction plastic surgery, the patient would wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over the gauze and dressings. Once the dressings are taken off, she will continue to wear the special surgical bra for the next several weeks. Sutures and drain tubes are typically removed within one to two weeks after surgery.

The surgeon will advise the patient to avoid any heavy lifting or vigorous activity for a few weeks after surgery. Most women, depending on their profession, would be able to go back to work within 10 to 14 days. The patient may be instructed to refrain from sexual activity for a week or more because sexual arousal can promote inflammation around the incisions.


First Few Months

The patient should ensure that any contact with the breasts is gentle for about four to six weeks following the surgery. The patient should know that her breasts may swell and feel tender during the first menstrual period of the recovery process.

Following breast reduction surgery, some women may also experience sporadic pain or discomfort for a few months, particularly during menstruation. The surgeon may prescribe mild pain medication to relieve these symptoms and make the recovery as comfortable as possible.

Changed sensation of the breast skin and nipple is a common side effect following breast reduction. Some women may experience numbness of the breast and nipple for up to a year, while others may feel hypersensitivity of the breast area. In rare cases, the altered sensation may be permanent.


Tips for Recovery

Follow post-operative appointments

These will allow the surgeon can gauge the patient’s progress and assess any further need to improve the results. The patient can share her thoughts, express concerns or ask for advice during these appointments.

Avoid stress

Remaining stress-free is important for recovery. The patient will have certain days where she feels wonderful and days when she finds she lacks the energy for anything.

A calm and supportive environment and avoiding any stressful tasks will help in the recovery. Dedicated cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jacob Bloom receives patients from Chicago, IL, and other towns and cities in the Land of Lincoln for breast reduction.