Reduction mammaplasty, known colloquially as a breast reduction, has been performed for over a century. Over the years, surgical tools and techniques have advanced, and now this safe, effective cosmetic procedure is one of the most popular in the world. We are proud to offer this image-enhancing procedure at Christopher Tiner M.D. Cosmetic Surgery in Pasadena, CA. Today, we are looking at how long the post-op recovery is and how you can shorten it.
How Long Is Recovery After a Breast Reduction?
You can expect with a reasonable amount of confidence that your breast reduction recovery will only take around six weeks to complete. Every body heals after reduction mammaplasty at its own pace. However, most women only need to take a week off from work if their job is sedentary in nature. On the other hand, it is highly advisable that women with physically demanding jobs take two weeks off from work to focus on their rest.
Keep in mind, even though you should only need to take a week or two off from work, you may want to have someone stay with you for a few weeks and help you take care of yourself. There will be certain post-op restrictions, like a limit on how much weight you can lift safely, that may make recovering alone challenging. Also, you may want to have someone take a few days off from work after your procedure to ensure your home runs smoothly.
Something Else to Keep in Mind
Even though you can go back to work after two weeks if you have a physically demanding job, you should keep in mind your post-op recovery guidelines. You need to make sure that the intensity of your physical activities remains moderate, rather than vigorous, in nature. In other words, you shouldn’t work so hard that you couldn’t sing if you wanted to. Also, make sure you don’t lift anything too heavy, or your recovery will take longer than it should.
Estimated Recovery Timeline
The First 72 Hours
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to feel worn out during the first 72 hours of your recovery. Don’t plan on working from home during this time. You will probably be so tired that you will catch yourself zoning out every once in a while. The reason why so many women feel so tired after reduction mammaplasty is that this procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. This medication can make you feel extremely groggy.
It is also important to be aware that some women take prescription analgesics for a few days after their procedure. In addition to ensuring your comfort, these drugs can make you feel very drowsy. Read the labels of all medications you take carefully. You may not be able to drive or operate other heavy machinery for 24 hours after taking your medication.
A Word of Advice
If you feel yourself starting to doze off, don’t fight it. Your body knows what it needs, you just have to listen to it if you want to recover as quickly as possible. If you feel sleepy, your body needs sleep in order to heal itself more efficiently.
Lie down or recline somewhere comfortable, and nap until you are well-rested enough to wake up naturally. The more you sleep, the faster your recovery period will end. This phenomenon occurs because most of your body’s healing occurs during the final stage of the sleep cycle.
The Next Four Days
During the next four days of your recovery, you can expect to find yourself with noticeably more energy. After a full week has passed, you may start to feel like your old self. However, the time is still not right for you to resume your role of taking care of all the household chores. Rest is still crucial during this time.
Three Weeks Post-Op
To reiterate, everyone heals from reduction mammaplasty at their own rate. However, most women find that they feel great just three weeks after their procedure. Typically, it takes between three and four weeks for the incisions to heal completely. However, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot take a bath until your incisions are healed fully.
Even if you feel like you could resume your usual routine, if your incisions aren’t healed completely, soaking in the tub is out of the question. Also of note, you may not shower within the first 24 hours of your procedure. If you feel like your hair is dirty, have a loved one use dry shampoo to clean your scalp. If you don’t have dry shampoo, have a loved one wash your hair for you in the sink.
How Can I Recover As Quickly as Possible?
Remember, to recover as quickly as possible, you need to sleep when you need to sleep. Don’t resist the urge to doze off if you catch yourself falling asleep. Also, do your best to get nine hours of consecutive sleep nightly. If you can’t stay asleep for nine hours in a row, do your best to get as much consecutive sleep as you can. Every time you wake up, you start over from the first stage of the sleep cycle. Here are some other tips.
Wear a Compression Bra
Even though you can return to work after just a week or two following your surgery, it is highly advisable to wear a compression bra for six weeks post-op. For the fastest possible recovery, wear your compression bra at all times unless you are showering. Compression garments speed recovery because they improve circulation in the area. In other words, it’s easier for your blood vessels to deliver essential nutrients to your healing skin.
There are many reasons why strong circulation is essential for rapid recovery. For instance, your blood carries such growth hormones as HGH, which instruct your skin to heal itself. However, it is also very important because it carries vitamins and minerals throughout your body, including your incision sites. Without adequate nutrition, your body doesn’t have the building blocks it needs to manufacture the collagen it needs to heal itself.
Make sure you’re getting your RDA of vitamins, minerals, and protein during your recovery period. Since you will be mostly sedentary during your recovery, a good rule of thumb is to eat half of your lean mass in grams of protein per day. In other words, if you have 115 pounds of lean mass, make a point to eat 57.5 grams of protein per day during your recovery. Also, you may benefit from increasing your soluble fiber intake temporarily.
Drink Enough Hydrating Fluids
Maintaining adequate hydration will also help your body heal itself as quickly as it can. Individual hydration needs vary based on such factors as body mass, but you are off to a good start if you drink at least half a gallon of water per day. Ideally, your urine should be pale throughout your recovery. If it is clear, add a bit of extra potassium to your diet to eliminate excess water or take a break from drinking for a couple of hours.
Overhydration is a real phenomenon that should be avoided. If your urine is dark, drink more hydrating fluids or snack on produce that is high in water. For instance, if you feel like you can’t drink any more water, you can snack on carrots, celery, apples, or tangerines. Also, keep in mind that you can drink tea and coffee for hydration. However, you need to make sure you’re not drinking too much because caffeine intake should be limited.
To reiterate, a strong circulatory system is a critical factor affecting recovery speed. To support your circulatory system, make an effort to get at least 30 minutes of gentle activity per day. If you feel too tired to go for a 30-minute long stroll the day after your breast reduction, go for shorter walks around your house or yard.
Learn More Today
Whether your breasts are causing you constant pain or they are affecting your self-confidence, you deserve to live your best possible life. Reduction mammaplasty can help you improve your quality of life significantly by improving the size and shape of your breasts. The best part is that the recovery doesn’t even take two months. To learn more, reach out to us today at Christopher Tiner M.D. Cosmetic Surgery in Pasadena, CA, and book an evaluation.