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Post Breast Reduction Surgery

The first few hours after surgery are spent in the recovery room. When the patient is fully alert, she will be able to go home with the assistance of a friend or family member. In some cases, a patient is kept overnight in the recovery room to ensure her comfort during the early post-operative period. It is important that the patient sleep with her head and back elevated to reduce the swelling in the operative area.

If drains are placed, they will be removed after three to five days and, at that time, the dressings will be removed and replaced. The patient can safely shower 24 hours after removal of the drains, as those tiny incisions will have closed and become waterproof. Prior to drain removal, only sponge bathing of other parts of the body is permitted, as the drain insertion sites are very susceptible to infection and must remain dry. Instructions are given in the preoperative booklet as to wound care. The sutures are removed approximately ten days after surgery.

Drain removal and suture removal can be done at either Dr. Delgado’s San Francisco office or his Marin County office.

The breasts will be uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain should not be severe. Pain medications are prescribed for use the first day or two, to make movement and sleeping more comfortable. By the third day, pain medications are rarely needed. However, some patients have a low pain threshold and, therefore, may take pain medications up to five days.

The swelling and bruising will resolve after approximately one week, but a patient should allow two weeks for her recovery. Once the bruising and tenderness are gone, the patient can return to normal activity. Most patients can drive a car and return to work or social activities after one week. Sexual activity should also be postponed until a week after surgery, since this can also aggravate swelling and cause discomfort. Strenuous exercise should avoided for three to four weeks following surgery as this can still cause swelling to recur.


A Breast Reduction carries the usual surgical risks of infection, bleeding and complications of anesthesia. However, with Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center’s highly-trained surgical team, the risk of these complications is minimized. Breast Reduction does leave incisional scars around the nipple-areolar complex down to the base of the breast and along the bottom crease of the breast in the inverted-T technique. Sometimes, sensation in the nipple and breast area is reduced. The feeling may not return for up to six months. Most women having Breast Reductions are able to breastfeed; however, a small minority may be incapable of nursing. On rare occasions, there may be a slight difference in size from one breast to the other, or the nipple-areolar complex will have some differences.


Although a significant reduction in breast size can be enjoyed immediately after surgery, it takes a couple of months for the breasts to settle into their new shape. A patient will experience better balance with her reduced breast size and she will also find that clothes fit better with trimmer proportions. As Breast Reduction reduces the weight of the breasts, the body adjusts to a lighter gravitational pull, reducing symptoms of back and neck pain and improving posture. Even though there are scars that result from this surgery, Breast Reduction patients are some of the happiest plastic surgery patients. The changes brought about by Breast Reductions are among the most helpful and dramatic of all plastic surgery procedures.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Reduction

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