• 30 October 2023
  • Mr A. Siddiqui

Last updated on October 30, 2023

Following breast reduction surgery (cosmetic surgery to remove breast tissue) it’s important to take care of your body for optimal recovery and healing. Here are our top 7 breast reduction recovery tips to help you get back to normal faster!

What to expect during the recovery period post-breast reduction.

Breast reduction surgery recovery can take up to 6 weeks. Here is an overview of a breast reduction recovery timeline and what you can expect during each stage. For further information, you can talk to our surgical team at Breast and Body Clinic UK.

The first few days you will most likely be in the hospital. Our nurses and doctors will provide medication for any pain and this period of time is when the swelling and discomfort around incision sites are at their worst. Rest is essential, but we highly recommend you take frequent small walks to aid recovery.

During breast reduction recovery weeks 1 and 2, you will feel tired and sore, however, the swelling will start to reduce. You should avoid lifting anything heavy and strenuous exercise or activities.

By weeks 3 and 4, you will still experience some discomfort, but it should be minimal. Most patients find any residual swelling will be almost completely gone. You can start to resume most of your regular activities, however, we recommend you avoid strenuous exercise still.

At some point during weeks 5 and 6, you will have a post-breast reduction consultation with your surgeon and they can advise you about resuming all of your normal activities, driving, and exercising. Most, if not all, of your pain, swelling, and bruising should have resolved.

breast reduction surgery aftercare - Breast & Body Clinic

Full recovery from breast reduction to remove excess fat and tissue with or without a breast lift can take several weeks to months however most women will start feeling benefits before then, such as reduced back and neck pain.

7 top breast reduction recovery tips:

It is essential you follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions to ensure optimal breast reduction surgery aftercare and wound healing, as well as the best possible results from your procedure. We have also collated 7 top tips for breast surgery recovery to help:

1. Organise support and ask for help.

You will be sore and swollen, especially the first few days to a week. We highly recommend you arrange for a friend, family member, or other support to be with you for this time to help around the house and to drive you.

2. Take medications and pain relief as instructed.

Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications and send you home with instructions on when and how to take them. You will experience post-operative swelling and feel sore for at least two weeks during the recovery process. It is essential you listen to your body and take your prescribed medication as needed.

3. Sleep on your back in an elevated position.

To reduce the pressure around your chest and to aid the healing process we strongly suggest you sleep with your upper body (torso) in a supported, semi-upright position for the first few weeks. Use pillows and cushions behind your back and knees for comfort.

Breast Reduction Recovery - Breast & Body Clinic

Use pillows behind your neck and back to prop you semi-upright whilst sleeping to aid in recovery and healing.

4. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids.

Eating a diet of nutritious and healthy foods with plenty of protein provides your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, and building blocks it needs for optimal recovery and healing. Staying hydrated helps reduce fluid retention, delivers nutrients around your body, and keeps your organs functioning as normal.

5. Keep moving.

Although rest is vital to your recovery, you should not spend your days in bed. This can increase your risk of a blood clot or chest infection. Take frequent, slow walks to keep your blood circulation moving.

6. Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for 6 weeks.

Vigorous exercises or activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for 6 weeks and then you may resume exercise with the clearance of your surgeon.

7. Wear a special surgical or support bra.

We strongly recommend you wear a surgical bra or wear compression garments for about six weeks. This helps support the breast tissue after surgery, plus reduces swelling and discomfort.

What to avoid during recovery from breast reduction surgery.

There are several things we recommend you avoid during recovery from surgery to reduce the size of overly large breasts:

  • Do not drive yourself for 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Don’t raise your arms above your head for the first week.
  • Avoid smoking (or other tobacco products).
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol.
  • Don’t wear underwire bras.
  • Avoid spas, saunas, and swimming for at least four weeks.
  • Refrain from sexual intercourse until given the all-clear by your surgeon.

Recovery after breast reduction surgery is made simple with these top 7 tips.

With these 7 simple tips plus things you should avoid after breast surgery for a reduction, you are well equipt to cope with recovery.

  1. Organise support and ask for help
  2. Take medications and pain relief as prescribed
  3. Sleep on your back in an elevated position
  4. Eat a healthy diet
  5. Keep moving
  6. Avoid strenuous activity and lifting heavy objects
  7. Wear a special surgical or support bra or compression garment.


Here are some commonly asked questions about breast reduction surgery recovery.

What helps recovery from breast reduction?

There are plenty of things that help recovery after a breast reduction. Taking regular pain relief, resting, gentle walks, supportive bras, eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and sleeping on your back in a semi-upright position are some simple steps you can take to help recovery.

How long do I have to sleep sitting up after breast reduction?

We recommend sleeping on your back in a semi-upright position for at least the first week, but you should ideally avoid sleeping on your side or stomach for up to 4 weeks after your surgery for breast reduction.

How do I clean my breast reduction wounds?

Your surgeon will provide you with clear instructions on how to clean your breast reduction scars and wounds. This generally involves the use of mild soap, no scrubbing, and advised to avoid lotions and creams (especially perfumed ones).

What is the quickest way to recover from breast reduction surgery?

Your surgeon will provide you with postoperative instructions that you should follow in the weeks after surgery to hasten your recovery time. It is essential that you follow this advice and avoid smoking, alcohol, or lying in bed all day.

Mr A. Siddiqui
About The Author

Mr A. Siddiqui

Mr Siddiqui is a Consultant Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, based at The Countess of Chester Hospital in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He trained extensively in plastic surgery before becoming a Consultant in the NHS and developing a private practice in Manchester and other areas of the Northwest. He is considered to be one of the top 10 cosmetic surgeons in Manchester.

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