Breast reduction patient information
- Introduction to Breast Reduction Surgery
- Day Before Surgery
- Morning of Surgery
- Post Operative Care
- How to Sit Up
- Contacting Dr. Zevon
- Activity Restrictions
- Post Operative Appointments
- Herbal Remedies
- Resuming Normal Activities
Please read and familiarize yourself with these instructions. By following them carefully you will assist in obtaining the best possible result from your breast reduction surgery. If questions arise, do not hesitate to communicate with Dr. Zevon and discuss your questions at any time. Bring these instructions with you on the day of your breast reduction surgery. Re-read the General Instructions for Cosmetic Surgery Dr. Zevon gave you. Locate your Personal Information Sheet and complete it so that Dr. Zevon’s office will know who will escort you home after your surgery and where you plan to spend the night of your breast reduction surgery. Bring it to your pre-operative appointment, or telephone, e-mail or fax the information to us. If you cannot locate it, let us know so that we can provide you with another.
The Day Before Your Surgery
Nothing to eat or drink after midnight. If your breast reduction surgery is in the afternoon, check with us as to what or when you may eat or drink before surgery.
The Morning of Your Surgery
Washing: Shower or bathe with anti-bacterial soap. Wash your breasts and under your arms. Do not apply any moisturizers, deodorant, talcum powder or other products afterwards. Do not use hairspray or perfume.
Wear simple, comfortable, loose-fitting, dark colored clothing that does not go on over your head. Wear tops with front closures such as buttons or zippers, bottoms that are easy to pull on, and comfortable shoes. Do not wear new clothes. Sweat pants are ideal. No high heels or pantyhose. Do not bring jewelry or valuables with you.
Rest: When you arrive home, be prepared to rest in bed for the first 48 hours after breast reduction surgery. Eat lightly and drink to replenish your body fluids. You may go to the bathroom with assistance as needed. If you feel nauseated, lie on your back with your head down and remain still. Any sensation of nausea should pass by the morning after your surgery. If you feel fine, light activity will not harm you.
How to Sit Up
The easiest way to sit up from lying on your back is to move to the edge of the bed and swing your legs over the edge, bending your knees and placing your feet on the ground. Use your abdominal muscles to sit up instead of pushing yourself up with your arms and chest muscles. If you have assistance, another person can carefully support your back to help you sit up.
After breast reduction surgery, the recovery period and the associated pain are comparable to that after a Caesarian section. Most patients take the prescribed pain medication. In addition, placing ice bags padded with a towel over the breasts may relieve discomfort significantly. The period of greatest discomfort usually does not last more than 12 to 14 hours.
Take the antibiotics and pain medication prescribed by Dr. Zevon according to the pharmacy instructions. Don’t take the pain medication on an empty stomach, as this will produce nausea and vomiting. Have another adult give you the pain medication at the correct time and/or keep written records of how much you take and when you take it. You do not have to take the pain medicine if you are not in pain, but you must take all of your antibiotics. Do not drive while taking pain medication.
Call Dr. Zevon if you have:
1. Severe pain not responding to pain medication
2. More swelling and/or pain on one side than the other
3. A chest wrap that seems too tight
DON’T TAKE CHANCES! Call if you are concerned about anything you consider significant. During office hours, call 212.496.6600. After hours, call 917.612.3800.
Do not bathe or shower until Dr. Zevon gives you permission a few days after your breast reduction surgery. If you have drains in place, do not sit in a bathtub with water above your waist or with the drains underwater.
Sleep: You may sleep on your back or on your side, but do not sleep on your stomach for 4 weeks.
Dressings and Wrap
At the time of breast reduction surgery, gauze dressings and breast wraps will be applied around the chest. These will be removed from 1–2 days after surgery and will be replaced with clean dressings, which will remain in place until any drains are removed 4–5 days after surgery. At that time, you will be placed in a surgical bra, which you should wear day and night for 2–3 weeks after surgery. (You may remove the bra for showering or bathing.)
One drain may be placed in each breast at the time of surgery. Drains evacuate the fluid that accumulates after breast reduction surgery and promote faster healing. When the drain is first inserted, the bulb at the end of each tube is compressed to create gentle suction. As the fluid collects in the bulb, the bulb slowly expands.
Safety pin the bulb of the drain to your dressings. Empty the bulb by opening the plug at the top and pouring out the contents twice a day or when it is half full. Do not remove the bulb from the tubing. Squeeze the bulb to recompress it, and put the plug back into the hole at the top. If the bulb fills rapidly after emptying, or you need to empty it more than three times a day, please call us. Dr. Zevon will remove the drains 4-5 days after breast reduction surgery, when the fluid begins to turn a clear straw color and/or the amount of drainage has diminished. Showering or bathing with the drains in place is not harmful, but do not soak the drain sites under water.
Do not smoke for 48 hours after your breast reduction surgery to prevent coughing and bleeding. Do not drink alcohol for 5 days after surgery, or while you are taking the pain medication. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels and could cause bleeding, and mixing pain medication and alcohol is dangerous. You may drive a car with power steering after one week, if you are no longer taking pain medication. Do not raise your arms above your shoulders for 2 weeks, and DO NOT CARRY ANY HEAVY WEIGHTS, BAGS, OR PACKAGES for 4 weeks.
Some breast reduction patients report that arnica contributes to a reduction in bruising or swelling, resulting in reduced discomfort and edema, and improved healing. Ask us if you wish assistance in locating a source of arnica. Take arnica orally according to manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging.
It is important to see Dr. Zevon as scheduled after breast reduction surgery. If you have drains, they will be removed during the first few days after your surgery. Check your post-operative instructions for your first appointment. If you don’t have an appointment, call (212) 496-6600, tell the receptionist the date you had surgery and she will schedule your post-operative appointment. At each post-operative appointment, Dr. Zevon will advise you how soon the next one should be scheduled.
Initial: 7 days
Substantial: 3 to 4 weeks
Resuming Normal Activities
Work: Follow the plan you and Dr. Zevon have agreed upon. For planning purposes, you can assume that you will be able to return to work within 5 to 7 days, although some breast reduction patients are able to return to work sooner. If your job involves heavy lifting, you may not be able to return to work for several weeks.
Exercise: Avoid strenuous activity and contact sports for at least four weeks. Do not lift heavy weight (more than 10 pounds.) During this time, walking is fine. Dr. Zevon will give you permission to increase your activities according to the progress of your recovery and your overall fitness level.
Exposure to Sunlight: Scars take at least one year to fade to their greatest extent. During this time, it is advisable to protect them from the sun. Even through a bathing suit, sunlight can reach the skin and cause damage. Be especially careful if areas of your breast skin have reduced sensitivity. Use a high SPF sunscreen. We carry sunscreens suitable for post-surgery breast reduction patients.