Breast Reduction: Before Your Surgery
What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery removes a lot of the breast tissue and skin from the breasts. This reshapes and lifts the breasts and reduces their size. It can also make the dark area around the nipple smaller.
Your doctor makes a cut around the dark area and down to the crease under the breast. The doctor then removes extra skin and breast tissue and sews the remaining skin together.
After surgery, your breasts will weigh less. But you may have lasting scars on your breasts. And you may have less feeling in your breasts and nipples. Breast reduction may make it hard to breastfeed.
You will probably be able to go home the same day. Depending on the type of work you do, you should be able to go back to work or your normal routine in 2 to 3 weeks. The incisions leave scars that usually fade with time.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can delay recovery. Stop smoking for at least a month before surgery. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery centre
Bring a picture ID.
Your doctor will use a marker to draw lines on your breasts. He or she will use these lines during surgery to reshape your breasts.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
The surgery will take about 2 to 4 hours.
You may have drain tubes in your breasts.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter E381 in the search box to learn more about "Breast Reduction: Before Your Surgery".
Current as of: November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Keith A. Denkler MD - Plastic Surgery