Breast Reduction Preparation and Recovery
After you have scheduled your breast reduction surgery, please follow these guidelines. Please note: these are only general guidelines. Your surgeon knows your medical history and will tailor your surgical plan to meet your individual health needs. Always follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and call him or her if you have any questions or run into any problems before or after your surgery.
2-3 Weeks Before Your Surgery
- Do NOT take aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Alleve. These medications are blood thinners and can cause complications during and after surgery. Please make sure you have informed your surgeon of every medication and supplement you have ingested within the last few months. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- If you are taking anti-depressants, please tell your surgeon because he or she will need to adjust your anesthesia level accordingly. To avoid complications during surgery, it is very important that you tell your doctor about any anti-depressants that you are currently taking or have recently taken. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- Please disclose ALL vitamins, supplements and herbs that you have ingested within the last few months to your surgeon. This includes diet pills and fat loss supplements. Vitamins, supplements and herbs can be very dangerous during and after surgery and should be avoided at least 3 weeks before and after surgery. In particular, DO NOT take Vitamin E, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Ma Huang (aka Ephedra), or Echinacea at least 3 weeks before surgery. For a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before and after surgery, read the pre/post operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
- If you smoke, stop smoking at least 2 weeks before your surgery. It is preferable that you stop smoking at least 2 months before your scheduled surgery. Do not smoke during your recovery as that could delay the healing process.
- Any prescription drugs that you will need after your surgery should be filled during this 2-3 week period before your surgery.
- Prepare your home for your recovery. A few tips: Have your house already cleaned; have oversized, clean clothes that open in the front readily available; trash should be taken out; ice packs available; healthy foods pre-prepared and frozen; bills paid; books, movies, pillows available; internet access available, cell phone charged, and important phone numbers and medications easily available. Consider making arrangements for your parents or in-laws to watch your children or pets during your recovery if possible. The most important thing is for you to relax.
The Day Before Your Surgery
- Make arrangements for a relative or friend to drive you home after your surgery. Make sure your escort (friend or relative) has the address where your surgery is taking place, correct directions and information about parking if needed. Tell your escort that BeverlyHillsPhysicians.com will have an extra copy of your Post-Operative Instructions for him/her to pick up and read.
- Make arrangements for your escort to stay with you for 24-72 hours after your surgery.
- The day before your surgery, DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight. If your surgery is in the afternoon, ask your surgeon what or when you may eat before your surgery.
- Do NOT take medications without specific instructions from your doctor.
- Since it will be difficult to raise your hands above your head after surgery, if you wish to wash your hair, do it the night before your surgery.
The Day of Your Surgery:
DO NOT take medications without specific instructions from your doctor.
DO NOT wear tight fitting undergarments, pantyhose or girdles, to surgery.
DO NOT bring jewelry or valuables to surgery.
DO NOT wear make-up or perfume the day of surgery.
DO NOT plan to drive yourself home, or travel home without an escort.
DO NOT plan to spend the night alone.
DO re-read the Patient Information Package provided.
DO shower with anti-bacterial soap the morning of your surgery. Wash your breasts and under your arms thoroughly. Do not apply any moisturizers, deodorant, talcum powder or other products afterwards. Do not use hairspray or perfume.
DO wear clean, dark, loose fitting clothes that open in the front and can be easily slipped back on after surgery. Sweat pants and oversized shirts are ideal. Wear slip on shoes as well.
DO call us if you develop a cold, sore throat, fever or other illness before surgery.
DO brush your teeth but do not swallow any water if your surgery is in the morning.
DO bring a case for contact lenses. It may be easier to just wear your glasses after surgery.
DO bring all medications prescribed.
DO have an adult take you home and spend the night with you after surgery.
DO call for special anesthesia instructions if your surgery is in the afternoon.
DO fill out the Personal Information Sheet provided and leave it in the office so we can contact your escort.
DO take home specific post-operative instructions for your surgery.
Immediately After Surgery—Your recovery
Please note: These are general recovery guidelines and will vary depending upon the type of breast reduction surgery you have and your medical history. Always follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and call him or her if you have any questions or run into any problems before or after your surgery.
For planning purposes, give yourself 2 weeks of rest for your recovery. You should be able to return to work after two weeks.
Do not take aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Alleve during your recovery. These medications are blood thinners and can cause complications after surgery. In addition, do not take any vitamins, supplements or herbal supplements during your recovery, unless your surgeon instructs you to do so.
MEDICATIONS: Take the antibiotics and pain medication your surgeon prescribed according to the pharmacy instructions. Don’t take pain medication on an empty stomach, as it may cause nausea and vomiting. You do not have to take the pain medicine if you are not in pain, but you must take all of your antibiotics.
The first 2-3 days--you will feel pain and must wear a surgical bra over your gauze and dressings. You surgeon may instruct you to ice your breasts. There will be bruising, swelling and numbness but that will subside after a few weeks. You will wear a sports bra for another 1-4 weeks.
You may experience changes in nipple or breast sensation following surgery but these sensations should return to normal within 6-12 months. The healing process after breast reduction surgery is gradual and may take 6-12 months before you see the final results.
You may sleep on your back or on your side, but do not sleep on your stomach for 4 weeks.
You may moisturize your breasts if they become dry but do not apply lotion to any taped areas.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE: A) severe pain not responding to pain medication; B) substantially more swelling and/or pain on one side than the other; or C) if you have drains that are filling too rapidly (your surgeon will review prior to surgery). However, Don’t Take Any Chances! Call immediately if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. During office hours, or after hours, call 1(800)788-1416.
There will be some scarring but the scars will eventually fade to white lines. Keep in mind that your scars will not show when wearing a low cut shirt or bathing suit.
You may have swollen and tender breasts during your first menstrual period after surgery. You surgeon may prescribe pain medication to alleviate the pain.
Driving: You should not drive for at least a week or more after surgery and should NEVER drive while taking pain medications. Please note: speak to your surgeon about when it is safe for you to start driving again because he or she knows your medical history.
POST-OPERATIVE APPOINTMENTS: Make sure you keep all post-operative appointments. It is very important that your surgeon is able to see you and monitor your recovery.