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Breast Reduction Post-Operative Instructions



You will see your physician approximately five to seven days following your surgery.

You may have mild diffuse swelling. Increased pain with getting up and down. You may have bulb drains – they should have watery pink to red drainage. Your appetite will be decreased. You may have mild temperature elevation. You may have mid-chest pain.

You can expect some drainage on your steri strips covering your incisions. Maximum discomfort will occur in the first few days after surgery, and most people are up and around in 3-5 days.

You may become constipated due to the pain medications and should begin a stool softener (i.e. Colace) after surgery. If you have gone several days without a bowel movement and are feeling uncomfortable, you may want to consider using a glycerin suppository or Fleet’s enema (available at all drug stores).

You may experience temporary electrical or tingling feelings in the breast and nipple in the weeks following your surgery. The feeling is similar to the feeling when your “foot wakes up after it has been asleep.” This represents nerve healing and is normal.

Sutures are dissolvable. They are under your skin and released at the end of each incision. They are clear in appearance and will be trimmed to the skin line at your first postop appointment.


Take frequent short walks to help your circulation and to decrease the risk of blood clot formation in the legs. Walking also helps your breathing. Take frequent deep breaths. Drink abundant clear fluids. You may eat solids if you are hungry – light fare at first.

Do not take your pain medications on an empty stomach. Eat a light snack, such as crackers, about 30 minutes before you take your medication.

Refrain from sleeping on your stomach. Sleep elevated with a few pillows behind your back until your first postop appointment unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Do not drive or operate machinery while you are taking your narcotic pain medication. If you are still taking narcotics by the time of your first postop appointment, then have someone drive you to your appointment.

You may shower the day after surgery. Blot dry the dressings covering your incisions. If the dressings and/or steri-strips come off, dress the wound with antibiotic ointment (Polysporin). Do not tub bathe until cleared by your doctor to do so.

If you have drains, keep track of the drainage by charting the volume; empty and compress bulbs after recording volume. Apply antibiotic ointment to the drain skin exit sites three times daily (Polysporin, Neosporin, or Bacitracin).


No heavy lifting (>10 lbs), vigorous activity, or straining for three weeks.
No tub bathing until cleared by your physician.
No use of Ice or heating pads.


If you have a change in nipple color or appearance, or if one breast becomes larger than the other
If you develop severe shortness of breath or chest pain – call 911, then notify physician.
If you run a fever, or have chills – call our office.
If you have markedly increased pain, bruising, swelling or bloody drainage– call our office.
If you develop leg swelling or pain – call our office.
If you have persistent nausea or vomiting – call our office.
If you are uncertain about a medication or treatment – call our office.
If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms or changes that you do not understand – call our office.