How Long Does it Take to Recover From Breast Reduction Surgery?

Millions of women in the United States feel the literal and figurative weight of excessively large breasts every single day, and many dream about having a more proportional bust. 

If you are one of the women who has wondered if it’s possible to live a life free of the physical and emotional pain associated with large breasts, you’re not alone. Each year, breast reduction surgery increases in popularity in the United States as more women consider the benefits of the procedure. 

Women with excessively or disproportionately large breasts not only experience physical pain associated with back, neck, and shoulder issues caused by the weight of their breasts, they also experience emotional symptoms like low self-esteem and low self-confidence. Activities that many of us take for granted, such as sleeping and exercising, become difficult and problematic with extremely large breasts. Although it’s never an easy choice to have surgery, breast reduction surgery offers many benefits for women. 

So, how long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

What is breast reduction surgery?

Reduction mammoplasty, more commonly called breast reduction surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes excess fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and excess breast tissue from the breasts in order to reduce the size of the breasts overall. Depending on the size reduction desired by the patient and other anatomical factors, one of three surgical techniques that are commonly used to perform breast reduction surgery are used: liposuction, the vertical/lollipop technique, and the anchor/inverted-T procedure. As your board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Applebaum will select the technique most appropriate for you based on your goals and individual anatomy. 

Liposuction

Women who desire to have the size of their breasts reduced by a small to medium amount may only need liposuction to accomplish their goals. Unlike the vertical/lollipop and anchor/inverted-T procedures, there are virtually no scars left by liposuction, and scarring that does occur is nearly invisible.  Because liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure, it is well tolerated by most patients. Women who may be good candidates for breast reduction by liposuction include those who have very little or no sagging, good skin elasticity, and only require a small to moderate reduction in size. The main cause of the excess breast size should be predominantly excess fat.

Vertical or Lollipop Breast Reduction

Women who need a moderate breast reduction and have some noticeable sagging are more likely to benefit from the lollipop breast reduction technique, sometimes called a vertical breast reduction. Dr. Applebaum prefers the lollipop breast reduction technique because it allows for a significant reduction in size while requiring only minimal scarring. The lollipop breast reduction technique is performed by making a vertical incision from the bottom of the areola to the bottom of the breast crease and then making another incision around the areola, creating the shape of a lollipop.

The original breast reduction procedures, including the anchor or inverted-T breast reduction, require an incision along the bottom of the breasts. The lollipop breast reduction technique does not require such an incision, which helps to reduce scarring. The incision pattern that occurs as part of the lollipop technique allows Dr. Applebaum ample flexibility to remove excess breast tissue and excess fat and reshape and lift the breasts internally into a more youthful shape and position. 

Anchor or Inverted-T Breast Reduction

The anchor or inverted-T breast reduction technique is most appropriate for patients who need a significant reduction in the size of their breasts, have significant asymmetry between the breasts, or have significant sagging or drooping that needs to be addressed. In the inverted-T breast reduction procedures, one incision is made around the areola, one is made from the areola to the bottom of the breast, and another incision is made along the crease of the breast. 

Because the anchor or inverted-T plastic surgery procedure creates more incisions, Dr. Applebaum has the best possible access to the internal portion of the breast, which allows for maximum breast tissue removal and reshaping. While anchor or inverted-T breast reductions do cause more scarring, the scars are easily concealed by bras or bathing suits.

How long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

The recovery process following a breast reduction surgery depends largely on the type of procedure you had done. Recovery times increase based on the size of the reduction, the surgical technique performed, and your physical health. 

The more significant the reduction in size, the longer the recovery process will be

Regardless of whether you have liposuction, a lollipop breast reduction, or an inverted-T breast reduction, you can expect to be sore for the first few days to up to a week following the procedure. The majority of the pain will subside after a week, but some soreness may linger for up to two to three weeks. 

Dr. Applebaum will restrict you from performing strenuous physical activity like heavy lifting or exercise for several weeks following surgery depending on the type of procedure performed. Most patients can return to work in about a week following the procedure, but your return to work may be shorter or longer depending on your personal progress. Most patients take pain medication for about a week following surgery, but some need it for more or less time.

If you would like to consider breast reduction surgery but are not sure if you can afford the cost, contact Dr. Applebaum for a free consultation. Patients experiencing physical and emotional symptoms as a result of their excessively large breasts may have the cost of breast reduction surgery covered by their health insurance company. 

Dr. Applebaum and his staff can help you navigate insurance approval and provide all of the information you need before you choose to undergo a breast reduction surgery. 

Sources:

https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/breast/breast-reduction-guide/ 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/breast-reduction-surgery/about/pac-20385246 

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/8-things-to-know-if-youre-considering-breast-reduction-surgery/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22964671/ 

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tw12680

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