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How long does it take to heal from a breast reduction?

Kelly Vasileiadou
23. May 2023
Breast reduction can make sense for health or aesthetic reasons, for example, if women suffer from large breasts causing headaches and back pain, or if they want their breast silhouette to be more beautifully defined. How long is recovery from breast reduction? What should patients know about the healing process?

These are all questions my patients ask me in my clinic every day. I will answer a few of them here therefore. Of course, this will never replace a thourough consultation with a surgery specialist. However, I want to share some of my insights about breast reduction with you at least.

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces the fullness of the breast. This is usually done by reducing the breast gland tissue and skin. In the process, the breast is usually also automatically tightened.

It usually takes several weeks for the patient to fully recover from a breast reduction. In the first days after the operation, the patient sometimes experiences moderate pain and swelling in the breast area. These can usually be treated well with medication.

Overall, the duration of healing after breast reduction depends on various factors, such as the individual lifestyle, the extent of the operation and, last but not least, the type of surgical technique performed.

Possible surgical techniques for breast reduction

Surgical techniques for breast reduction include the Anchor technique, the LeJour technique, the Hall-Findlay technique, In all of these procedures, the nipple with areola is moved up and reduced in size if needed. This creates a scar around the areola. In addition, a vertical incision from the areola to the crease under the breast is usually necessary.

Which surgical method is chosen and applied for breast reduction depends on the individual case and the needs of the patient, but also on the size and shape of the breast. The best way to find out the most suitable surgical option is to talk to an experienced surgeon:

  • The Anchor technique is mainly used for women who need a large reduction in breast size. Here, the surgeon removes excess tissue from the breast and reshapes the remaining breast.
  • The Hall-Findlay technique, a variation of the Anchor technique, is suitable for women with larger breasts. In addition to the anchor-shaped incision around the areola, a vertical incision is made from here downwards and a horizontal incision is made in the inframammary fold.

On the other hand, the following surgical technique is suitable for moderate and small breast reductions:

  • The LeJour technique is often used for women who want a moderate breast reduction. Again, excess breast tissue is removed, but with an L-shaped incision around the areola.

Breastfeeding ability after breast reduction

Many women are concerned that they will not be able to breastfeed after breast reduction. However, this concern is unfounded. Even after a breast reduction, the ability to breastfeed is not always affected.

How long is sick leave after breast reduction?

Sick leave after a surgical breast reduction usually lasts for about one week. However, depending on your professional activity and the intensity of the procedure, sick leave may be longer.

What you should know: Stress and sports after breast reduction surgery

A few days after breast reduction, the patient can usually resume her normal daily activities. However, she should refrain from strenuous physical activity for a few weeks.

Three to four weeks after breast reduction, light sports activities are possible again, and about six to eight weeks later, even intensive strength and competitive sports can be performed again without hesitation.

Self-help tips: What helps patients after breast reduction surgery

After surgery, patients can take additional steps to help their breasts heal faster by adopting specific aftercare steps. These measures include:

  • Immediately after surgery, light cooling of the wound helps.
  • Patients sleep best in the supine position after breast reduction.
  • Many patients feel relieved if they wear a compression bra or support bra after breast reduction.
  • Good scar care, e.g. regular cleaning and application of Bepanthen, Vaseline or silicone gel (without parabens) contributes to optimal wound healing.
  • It is recommended to avoid sports and other strenuous physical activities during the first weeks.
  • Patients should refrain from intense UV radiation from the sun and solarium for the first year after surgery.

The final results of breast reduction can be seen only after several months, as they depend on the individual healing process and other factors. It is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions carefully and to have regular follow-up examinations to ensure successful healing.

About Dr. Kelly

Dr. Kelly Vasileiadou

Specialist FMH for Surgery
Beauty is not perfection. Refining your face or body image to enhance or restore your natural beauty – that is my mission. Your trust commits me to providing you with excellent medicine and exceptional care. My team and I work tirelessly to satisfy you. That’s what I stand for with my name.

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Kelly® today.

Before you decide on a treatment, you have the great opportunity for a personal consultation. Our goal is to care for you not only medically, but also from person to person.

Dr. Kelly® | Aesthetic Surgery and Medicine
by Dr. Kelly Vasileiadou

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