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Breast Reduction Surgery (Reduction Mammoplasty) Post-Operative Instructions

For helpful information on post-operative care following your breast reduction surgery, please view our Post-Operative Instructions video.


Learn More About Bilateral Breast Reduction (Video)
  • Have someone drive you home after surgery and help you at home for 1-2 days.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Follow balanced diet.
  • Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may want to add more raw fruit to your diet, and be sure to increase fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin unless approved by your surgeon.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.


  • Start walking as soon as possible, this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots./li>
  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications (narcotics).
  • Do not drive until you have full range of motion with your arms.
  • Refrain from vigorous activity for 2-6 weeks. Increase activity gradually as tolerated.
  • Avoid lifting anything over 5 pounds for 2 weeks.
  • Resume social and employment activities in about 2 weeks (if not too strenuous).

Incision Care

  • You may shower 48 hours after removal of the drainage tubes.
  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).
  • Keep steri-strips on.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection.
  • No tub soaking while sutures or drains are in place.
  • Wear your surgical bra 24/7 as directed for 6 weeks post op.
  • Your surgeon may let you move into a sports bra after 2 weeks (24/7). The bra needs to be a front closure with formed cups (not flat front).
  • Avoid bras with stays and underwires for 4-6 weeks.
  • You may pad the incisions with gauze for comfort.
  • If your breast skin is exceedingly dry after surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry.

What to Expect

  • You will be discharged from surgery with a drainage tube from each breast.
  • Incisions will be taped with steri-strips. Leave these in place until they fall off themselves or need to be changed. You can expect drainage onto the steri-strips.
  • Maximum discomfort will occur the first few days after surgery.
  • You may experience temporary soreness, bruising, swelling and tightness in the breasts as well as discomfort in the incision area.
  • You may not have sensation in the nipples. This usually returns as your body recovers.
  • Your first menstruation following surgery may cause your breasts to swell and hurt.
  • You may have random, shooting pains for a few months.


  • Most of the discoloration and swelling will subside in 2-4 weeks.
  • Your breasts will feel firm to the touch.
  • Scars may be red and angry looking for 6 months. In time, these usually soften and fade.

Follow-Up Care

  • Drainage tubes will be removed when the drainage is less than 30 cc x1- 2 days. This will vary between surgeons.
  • Sutures will be dissolvable and will be clipped to skin level on first clinic appointment.

When to Call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling or motion.

For Medical Questions, Please call:

  • (734) 998-6022, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • After hours and on weekends, call Hospital Paging at (734) 936-6267 and ask for the Plastic Surgeon on call.
For adult appointments, please call 734.998.6022