What Is The Recovery Time For A Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction surgery tends to have a high patient satisfaction rate. Not only are you able to eliminate symptoms such as neck and back pain in many cases, but also benefit from the aesthetic outcome.

I use the vertical breast reduction technique that avoids the bottom horizontal scar. Since switching to this technique I have found that my patients have less pain postoperatively and are able to return to work within a couple of days with just over the counter pain medication as needed.

A supportive postoperative bra is worn for 4-6 weeks and regular exercise can resume in 4-6 weeks depending on the healing. Quintessa Miller MD FACSSan Antonio Plastic Surgeon. (Quintessa Miller, MD, FACS, Fort Walton Beach Plastic Surgeon)

4 Days Post-op Breast Reduction

Breast reduction recovery is typically 3-7 days off following surgery. Exercise may be resumed at three weeks and increased to full exercise over the course of two months. (David Stoker, MD, Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Reduction Recovery Expectations

Breast reduction is among the highest rated in patient satisfaction. Fortunately, major complications including nipple or tissue loss are very rare. Factors such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes increase the complication rate.

Typical breast reduction recovery time involves:

  • Outpatient surgery (one night stay if you have major medical problems)
  • Most patients use pain medication for 5-7 days
  • Back to work in 4-7 days
  • Follow up visits at 1 day, 2 weeks and 6 weeks
  • Wear provided support bra for 4-6 weeks (Ralph Trey Aquadro, MD, Auburn Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Reduction Recovery is Fast! Low Complication Rate!

Surgery can be scary! It is important to understand the risks, and then, it’s not so scary. Breast reduction patients routinely have surgery, recover quickly and celebrate freedom! From back pain, neck pain, shoulder strap indentation, rash and headaches.

Adding Drains To Help Speed Up The Recovery Process

They are able to exercise better, sleep better, and breathe better. In a large outcome study, 98.7% of breast reduction patients were either Very Glad, or Glad that they had surgery. Breast reduction is usually an out patient surgery which takes about two hours.

Patients take pain medicine for 1-3 days and return to a desk job in an average of one week. Patients are cleared for full activity at two weeks. It is a Rapid Recovery procedure! So, what can go wrong? Thankfully, the complication is low.

Complications occur more often in patients at greater risk: smokers, diabetics, patients with obesity and scarring from previous breast surgery. Most common, a little ‘scabby’ healing, usually trivial, usually healed up in 2-3 weeks. 5-10% chance.

Permanent nipple numbness. 1% Scars. Some scarring is necessary, but with good scar management, they can be minimized. Short scar techniques like No Vertical Scar and Lollipop techniques combined with aggressive scar treatments afterward, yield very many Happy patients.


Bigger complications, like large skin loss and nipple loss, occur even less frequently, way less than 1% of the time. Even with these rare complications, a reasonable result is usually still achieved. (Luke J. Curtsinger, MD, Savannah Plastic Surgeon)

The vast majority of breast reduction procedure patients are very happy

Although there is no guarantee of a perfect result without the risk of any complications a breast reduction procedure performed by a board certified plastic surgeon that can show you many before and after photos of good results, has great reviews, and has taken the time to communicate with you clearly will likely result in a straight forward breast reduction procedure and recovery.

Even with complications occurring your plastic surgeon will be able to diagnose the problem and initiate the correction/solution. (Remus Repta, MD, Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon)

The Recovery After A Bust Reduction Is Normally 6-8 Weeks

Wound Healing & Recovery Following Breast Reduction

Breast reduction has one of the highest levels of predictable patient satisfaction of all plastic surgical procedures performed. Most women present with complaints of back, neck, and shoulder pain. These symptoms are reliably treated with breast reduction surgery.

Most women comment, “I wish I would have done it sooner!” As with any surgical procedure, scarring is a consequence. There are different methods available for breast reduction. All of them include an incision around the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple) and an incision from the areola to the fold of the breast.

Many breast reductions also include an incision in the fold of the breast. Although good outcomes are expected regarding wound-healing, several factors can increase the risk of wound healing problems. These include smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

What Does Recovery From Breast Reduction Surgery Involve

To minimize the risks of poor wound healing and bad scars, it’s helpful to eliminate these extra risks as much as possible. It is also very important to select a surgeon who is well-trained and experienced in breast reduction surgery. (John J. Edney, MD, Omaha Plastic Surgeon)

Most patients do quite well after a breast reduction procedure. The surgery involves removing breast tissue, fatty tissue and skin with no involvement of the muscle, which makes for a relatively smooth recovery.

Most patients will take 3-4 days off work, during which time they will take narcotics before transitioning to tylenol.

A surgical bra ( no underwire) will be worn for four weeks after surgery prior to a regular bra. Activities with the arms should be minimized for the first week or so, but soon after surgery, most patients can have full range of motion of their arms and resume most regular activities.

Recovery Will Be Hard

Remember, this is a much different recovery than a breast augmentation for example, where the pectoral(chest) muscle is divided and needs several weeks/months to heal.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon for more information regarding breast reduction surgery and its recovery. (William Bruno, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)

The key to a rapid recovery from breast reduction surgery is preparation. To minimize wound healing complications you must not smoke, your should have a proper, balanced diet, and be in good health

Most patients have minimal discomfort after surgery and get back to daily activities over several days, and barring complications, have unrestricted full activities by 4 to 6 weeks after breast reduction surgery. (Fredrick A. Valauri, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

Many breast reductions are done with no complications

You Can Return To Work After Two Weeks

Complications can occur in any surgery, and is not the doctor’s or the patient’s fault. The risks increase in smokers and in patients with very large breasts. That being said, many breast reductions are done with no complications.

I would recommend that you express your concerns with your surgeon and ask about his complication rate as well as any risk factors that might apply specifically to you. You may want to meet with other plastic surgeons if it makes you feel more comfortable in your decision to proceed with surgery.

No one can guarantee that there will be no complication. (Wandra K. Miles, MD, Seattle Plastic Surgeon)

Most breast reduction patients heal well and quickly after their procedure. Absence of complications is the usual case although some minor complications may occur. Comormidities such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes cause an increase in complications. (Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD, Houston Plastic Surgeon)

Finding the right surgeon is the key to minimizing complications.

In our society, the negative is often played up far more than the positive, no matter how much more unlikely those occurrences may be. I know it’s scary to hear about potential complications following breast reduction but, although there are risks with any surgery, the extreme levels you’re talking about really aren’t seen very often.

I would encourage you to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with a trusted reputation. Your safety should be your number one concern, so take the time to find someone who is excellent, and then follow his or her post-op care instructions to the letter.

The majority of women are very happy with their results following breast reduction, so focus on the positive and on finding a highly qualified surgeon above all. (Frank Campanile, MD, Denver Plastic Surgeon)