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Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery

preparing for breast reduction surgery

Breasts that are too large can cause a lot of discomfort and frustration. While some people wish they didn’t have this condition, ladies who have coped with it for a long time know how disruptive it can be. Oversized breasts can cause a variety of problems, ranging from difficulties performing physical activities to back discomfort to ill-fitting apparel. If you believe you could be a candidate for breast reduction surgery, there are a few things you should know about how to prepare for the procedure and what to talk about with your physician. Here are some tips for preparing for breast reduction surgery.

What Your Surgeon Might Ask of You

Just as every person is different, every situation is different. Your surgeon will have a series of preliminary questions that could disqualify you from surgery. For example:

  • Do you have a history of heart disease or stroke?
  • Do you smoke heavily?
  • Are you very overweight?
  • Are you on blood thinners?

These are all factors that could lead to serious complications.

If you are a healthy non-smoker, the surgeon will likely order a series of tests. A preliminary mammogram (x-ray imaging of your breast tissue) may be ordered, along with blood testing. It’s important to look for hidden health issues before going into surgery.

Sometimes, if you are significantly overweight, your surgeon may ask you to lose weight to qualify for a reduction mammoplasty. Often, losing 20-30 pounds could reduce your breast size enough to avoid the surgery altogether.

What to Discuss With Your Surgeon

Before your consultation, you may want to write down all of your questions. Your surgeon may answer them all before the end of the consultation, but when he or she asks you if you have any questions, you can pull out your list and make sure all your bases are covered.

Don’t be intimidated and don’t feel rushed. Being well-informed will, at the very least, alleviate anxiety after the procedure. Feel free to bring a pen or pencil to write down details so nothing is forgotten as well.

You might have questions about nipple sensitivity or scarring. You may wonder what your recovery timeline will be. You might wonder what pain level to expect, or if special clothing should be purchased. Will you be able to breastfeed afterward at any point? While reducing the size of your breasts is your number one concern, you still want to have attractive and functioning breasts.

What to Expect Before Your Surgery

Preop protocols differ by the surgeon, but there are some things that you can expect to do before surgery. 

First of all, prepare your home environment, or wherever you will be recovering. For instance, if you will be recovering at your friend or relative’s home, make sure everything is prepared while you are still able-bodied. Set up a table by the bed or recliner (many people say recliners are a better place to recover than a bed). Make sure there is a large water bottle or container, remotes for the TV, books you may want to read, etc.

*Insider Tip: Tape the end of your phone charger cord to the tabletop so you won’t ever have to go fishing for it!*

Secondly, the surgeon will typically ask that you don’t eat or drink for several hours before the surgery. This is because general anesthesia can cause nausea and constipation, so having an empty stomach reduces your risk of dealing with these side effects.

Wear clothes that are simple to take off and put on. Even if a button-up top and sweatpants aren’t the hottest trends this season, they’ll be easy to put on and wear at home. Make sure your hair is cleansed and you feel completely clean before getting in because you may not be able to take a thorough shower until later.

Related Topic: Expectation VS Reality: How To Set Yourself Up For Success When Getting Plastic Surgery

Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery

You shouldn’t make your decision on whether or not to get breast reduction surgery lightly. While modern medicine has made it possible for incidences of serious complications to be rare, it’s still an invasive procedure. Removing healthy tissue can lead to infection, necrosis, and long-term health problems. So, follow instructions as precisely as you can, and go in informed and prepared. Preparing for breast reduction surgery can make your healing process as pleasant as possible.

Recovery from Breast Reduction Surgery

Most breast reduction sutures are inserted beneath the skin and dissolve on their own, so they don’t have to be removed. Skin glue is frequently used to close incisions, and you’ll be provided a surgical bra to wear for comfort and support during your recuperation. 

To relieve any discomfort, you will need to limit your activities for 48 hours, but you will be given drugs to help you manage any pain. Drains are typically put beneath the skin to collect any post-surgery fluids, but these are withdrawn the next morning. You should be able to shower the next morning and resume normal activities within a few days. For a few weeks, you should avoid intense activity. 

Following the surgery

Your breasts will be covered with a gauze dressing or bandages, and a tube might be placed under each arm to drain any excess blood or fluid. You likely will take medication for pain and antibiotics to decrease your risk of infection. 

For the first days or week after surgery: 

  • Your breasts will probably feel tender and sensitive 
  • Your breasts might be swollen and bruised 
  • Your surgeon might recommend an elastic compression bra to protect the breasts 

After that: 

  • You’ll need to limit physical activity for two to four weeks while the breasts heal 
  • Your surgeon might suggest avoiding underwire bras for a few months after surgery

In most cases, scarring disappears with time. Your surgeon will need to see you again to remove the sutures and assess your recuperation.


It’s important that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative care recommendations as carefully as possible as you recuperate from your breast reduction. This not only guarantees that you get the best outcomes, but also lowers the chance of issues while your body heals. You might also expect a smoother, more pleasant recovery if you follow the advice below. 

  • Rest when you need to, but don’t be afraid to get up and walk around. After the first few days, try to get out and about and resume lighter activities. This aids in the healing process of your body. 
  • For the first two to three days, enlist the support of a friend or family member. You’ll most certainly feel hurt at this stage in your recuperation, and getting some extra aid might make it a lot easier to relax. 
  • If you need pain medicine, take it. While some soreness is to be expected as your body heals, don’t suffer if you don’t have to. 
  • If at all possible, avoid driving for the first week or two. Your anesthetic may take some time to wear off fully. The act of driving, as well as the seatbelt over your chest area, may create discomfort in the days ahead. 
  • Avoid smoking and other tobacco products, since they are believed to make the body’s capacity to recover more difficult.

There will be some bruising and swelling, but this will go away in a few weeks. We will advise you to be cautious when sleeping, and we will give you specific post-operative instructions. You’ll visit Dr. Finkel for follow-up exams to ensure that you’re recovering properly and that you’re satisfied with your outcomes. Contact Dr. Finkel at (480) 963-3034 and get your advice today.