Breast Reduction, Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your health care provider if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.


After your procedure, it is typical to have the following:

  • "Crusting" under the breast—This small skin loss is fairly normal and can be managed with an antibiotic ointment.

  • Breast pain—You will be given pain medicine to control the pain.


  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your health care provider. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen. Those medicines increase the chances of a bleeding problem. If antibiotics are prescribed, make sure you finish them even if you start to feel better.

  • Apply ointment to incision areas as instructed by your health care provider.

  • Carefully follow the instructions about caring for your incisions. If drains were put in, they will be taken out by the surgeon in a few days. Stitches are usually taken out in 7–10 days.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds (2.3 kg) with one arm, or 10 pounds (4.5 kg) with both arms, for 1 month.

  • Rest for the first 3 days after surgery. However, get up and walk around 3–4 times in the morning and evening. Moving around will help prevent blood clots and pneumonia.

  • Do not do vigorous exercise such as bouncing, aerobics, or jumping for 6 weeks. Walking is not restricted.

  • Do not do heavy physical work for 1 month. This includes yard work and moving storage boxes.

  • Do not drive while you are taking prescription pain-relieving medicine.

  • Wear a bra 24 hours a day for 1 month, unless otherwise instructed. You may remove your bra while bathing. Do not wear underwire bras.

  • You may slowly go back to your normal diet. Start with a light meal and increase as comfortable.

  • You may shower 24 hours after your drains are removed unless instructed differently by your health care provider.

  • Do not sleep on your belly for 4–6 weeks.

  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure.


  • You have redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the area around the incisions.

  • You see fluid oozing from any of your wounds.

  • Your pain medicine is not controlling your pain.

  • You feel nauseous or vomit for more than 2 days after surgery.

  • You develop a cough.

  • You have difficulty moving your arm, or you have pain when moving your arm.

  • You see pockets of blood or fluid in either breast.


  • You have a fever.

  • You have chest pain.

  • Your legs or arms start to swell.

  • You are suddenly short of breath.

  • You have persistent bleeding from the incision or nipple discharge.

  • You develop increased swelling or swelling that is greater in one breast than in the other.