Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery Guide


breast reduction surgery recovery

So I’m 12 days post operative and yesterday afternoon I saw my plastic surgeon for my first post operative appointment. I’m now back in a wire-free bra. At the moment because of swelling I’m wearing a 14D (36D) bra), I don’t want anything too tight around my rib cage, there are two long lines of stitches underneath my breasts that really don’t want anything binding on them.  I hope once the swelling reduces over the next 5 weeks I will reduce to a 12D (34D) though I may end up a 12DD.

I’m starting to feel much better.  The pain I’d describe more as tenderness or uncomfortableness, rather than any sort of searing pain.  If I don’t move I feel nothing now, but as soon as I move, I can feel the stitches and pulling which is less than really pleasant.  I’m still tired, but not as bad as last week, and I’m not napping during the day too often now.  I do need to get a good 9 hours sleep overnight though and I’m taking it very easy during the day.

I wanted to share with you some of the advice I’ve been given about recovery.

Sleep elevated for the first week  or so – 25- 45 degrees, on your back. Then you can sleep as normal on your back or sides though not on your stomach til after the 6 weeks post operative mark.

Scars – tape them with paper tape for the first 6 weeks (after they take off the tape after your operation).  Keep them as dry as possible, replace the paper tape every 2-3 days.  Then after that, rub some Vitamin E cream (not oil) into the scars.  Do not use anything perfumed on the scars.

Exercise – gentle walking as soon as you can post-operatively.  Wait 6 weeks before jogging or weight lifting (or lifting heavy bags of groceries).  Also be careful of stretching your arms up high, there are stitches both inside your breasts and outside that can tear (so no washing and drying your hair or downward facing dogs).  No swimming in pools until your stitches have completely healed up, here are nasty bacteria in them.

Driving – don’t drive for at least a week (get advice from  your doctor).  Take a pillow to put between you and the seat belt when in the car for the first week or so.

Bras – For the first 10 days I’ve been wearing my tubi-grip bandage (2 layers) instead of a bra.  Now I’m wearing soft cup, no underwire bras that don’t rub on your line of stitches.  Sports bra or similar is good to stop the bounce and keep your new assets in shape.  You will also need to wear them to bed.  After 6 weeks you can wear underwire bras.

Sensations – You will have itching, tingling, burning and pulling and all sorts of weird feelings in your breasts during the healing process.  Apparently that’s all normal.

Swelling – it starts to go down after a week or so, but can take 6 or more weeks to subside.  I still have quit a bit of swelling on the sides of my breasts, near my under arms.

Breast reduction before and after


And here is a bit of a before and after photo in the same Karina dress.  My breasts are now around half their original size!


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  • I’ve been wondering how you’re going! Oh my gosh I cannot melee the difference, you look amazing. You are growing, you are radiant WOW. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have small boobs!

    So happy for you s

  • You look fabulous! I love the new hair color and your new shape. It’s more youthful and it suits you and your young attitude. Happy for you!

  • Looking great and glad you’re feeling well!

    Who and how did they decide how small your new breasts should be/ how much of the original they should keep..?

  • So glad your recovery is going well! Thanks for the B&A photos. You look so happy and radiant here. It’s going to be so much fun for you to go shopping for new clothes….

  • Wow! Total transformation! I was planning to get a breast reduction this year (I’m 32D and 4″9) but I’m only 17 and I’m scared about the later effects. Would I be ever able to breast feed? Or even feel around that area (heard that in some cases you wouldn’t be able to anymore)? Curious to see your comments about this. Congrats to a brand new you!

    • Belle – I’d probably wait a bit til you’re older. If you want to breast feed and the like in the future, there are no guarantees. Plus you may find that you remain a D or you may keep growing – you’re still young. I’d let a few more years go by before making such a big decision.

      • I agree you should wait a few more years Belle, for the reasons Imogen states. As to the sensation issue, I didn’t lose any but that was a possibility according to my surgeon.

  • Echoing the thoughts about how radiant you look. I am also loving your hair color. (I had commented in a previous post that I thought the color might be a tad too light, and I don’t know if you’ve changed it since or if it’s the lighting that’s different or my just getting used to it now, but: I love it!)

    • You may be getting used to it. It’s actually getting lighter each time I have the roots touched up. The lighting could have been different too.

  • What a difference your breast reduction has made, you look so much smaller, all over. Wont you now need a new wardrobe of tops? I image that the fit will now be off on jackets too. I am pleased to read that you are feeling so well and looking so fresh and glowing all over.

  • You look wonderful. Your hair color is so pretty with your eye/skin color. It will be fun to see how your wardrobe changes. So glad all went well.

  • Have you talked to your Dr about those silicone scar pads? I used one on a bad scar on my leg and it helped. My scar was raised and red. After treatment it was flat and close to my skin color. You can actually use it later in the healing process.

  • So happy it came allwright you look younger and happier, never notice your big breast until you talk about them, I a m so happy you got the opportunity to make a new versión of them, big hugs and Greetings!!

  • Imogen, you were always a good-looking girl, but you look amazing after the weight loss and surgery.

    Did your surgeon allow you to continue with the 5-2 eating scheme right after the operation or did/do you have to eat more conventionally for a while?

    • Sneza, 5:2 is not recommended post surgery, you really need daily nutrition to let your body heal, and 5:2 is about stressing the body, post surgery, no need for extra stress on it, so currently I’m eating conventionally. I think in another week or so I’ll go back to 5:2 when I feel more healed up!

  • Imogen, glad you are through the early healing stages, this information must be so helpful for the well endowed that are contemplating this surgery. At my hospital I have seen what ladies look like immediately after the op, being an anaesthetist, it seems a huge number of stitches and the surgeons take a long time. I’m glad to know how life changing it is for them, we don’t get to hear that part. Best wishes with the rest of your recovery, you look fantastic, before and after.

    • Thanks. I can tell you that I think I feel all those stitches right now! Many weird sensations going on. But so much better on the whole

  • Hi Imogen —

    My online time has been so limited the last several months — until your newsletter came I had no idea about the surgery (or the blonde hair; big changes!). Glad you are recovering well and hope you continue to heal quickly!

  • You look great not that you didn’t before. I am happy you are recovering so well. It is funny but I never thought that you were that big busted but in the after pictures I now realize how small your rib cage is and what a tiny waist you have. You look so proportionate now. Everything will look good on you no more trying to hide figure challenges, lucky you. Love the hair too.

  • An amazing story. I’ve been reading all of your posts on this topic this morning, and as a small-breasted person, I was surprised how much I could identify with your feelings of discomfort and those of your large-breasted readers who’ve commented. One woman posted saying she doesn’t wear tank-tops because of her large breasts – me too! But I don’t wear tank-tops because of my small breasts and somewhat “bony” (not really bony, just not soft-looking) chest. I sweat like hell in summer, but I’d rather avoid the what seems like negative attention. I loathe summer actually, because I find it frustratingly hard to dress for. Once winter comes and I can pile on the layers (in NZ), I’m clothes-happy again. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a larger woman, they seem to be so comfortable in their bodies. Interesting to find a similar-sounding level of unease to that which I experience as a “skinny” (hate that word) woman in some of the comments. Best wishes to you in your recovery! About the dowager’s hump – I have one too, developed since high-school over my shame and embarrassment at “having no tits”. Lol. But that was my experience. I hope your breast reduction does everything that it’s supposed to do, judging by the positive comments from others in the same boat, it’s a big physical relief.

    • Kate – interesting how being ‘outside the norm’ makes us feel uncomfortable. Thing I always hated about winter was that all those extra layers made me look huge! No season was great.

  • Hello Imogen and congratulations on your operation : )
    I’m on the waiting list for a reduction and I can’t wait (I live in Belfast)! I’m a 32HH and I’ve hated them since I was 19 (I’m 51 now). My sister directed me to your website and I love it. You did her colours for her (Bronac Maria, Madrid) and she’s coming home to look after me for a week after I get my op which is supposed to be within the next few months. It has been great to read your blog and I like the way you explain the range of after effects. After a lifetime of torture with mine i’ll welcome a double boob-tube for a couple of weeks!
    Thanks again and best wishes for the rest of your recovery
    Aine : )

    • Wow – I can’t wait for you – how exciting! It’s pretty surreal going to sleep with big boobs and waking up without them. But I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying my lack of boob now! I’m able to wear clothes I’ve never considered before! Its opened up a whole new world to me. I’m still in some pain, but it gets less and less and I’m only 3 weeks post operative! (My mother’s side of the family comes from Belfast, my great grandfather was the professor of accounting at Queens Uni there!)

  • Wow! I wish I had your courage. You really look great.
    I was a late bloomer. I went away to university with not much there. It seemed as though all of a sudden my breasts were way biGGer. Right now it appears as if I have ten pounds on each side.
    And your hair color! You look 20 years younger.
    You really are an inspiration.

  • I am 19 years old and have been thinking about having the surgery done. I am a 32J. I have a little tummy and waist but have huge boobs. My mother is ashamed of them. I am in college so she can’t dictate what I wear anymore, but while I was in high school, she would never let me wear anything form fitting or flirtatious. I consider my style modest, but i wanted to wear shirts that fitted my waist and hips. Anyway, I have gotten a a lot of attention from them and a lot of it was not unwanted. I like them a lot. However, shopping for bras and clothes is very very frustrating. I am in tears when I cannot find a single dress for church. But my mother has been pushing me to get this surgery done. I don’t want to do it because she told me to. I want it to be my choice. But like I said before I do like my boobs. It’s kind of nice to naturally have the body people get surgery to have. But It does cause a lot back pain and frustration when I’m shopping.
    Does anyone have any advice?

  • Hi!
    Thank you for your post! I was wondering if you had the time to give me some advice? I’m 18, 5ft 2 and 28L my necks often sore but my back isn’t. Buying a bra is a constant struggle as even places like Bravissimo don’t stock a lot in my size and sports bras are next to impossible. Should I get a reduction?

  • Just found your blog and appreciate the information. Curious as to if you remember when the side swelling was finally gone as like you did I still have some swelling on sides at 3 weeks? By the way you look amazing!

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