Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo — MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)
Breast reduction is a cosmetic procedure that reshapes and decreases the size of the breasts. Since it involves the excision and stretching of the skin, it can be difficult to lift your arms for a while after the surgery. In this article, we will share what you should expect for your recovery after breast reduction and when you can freely move your arms.
What to Expect Following Breast Reduction
Immediately after the surgery, you will experience swelling and bruising in the chest area. The extent of the bruising will depend on your health and the placement of your incisions. Nonetheless, this will impact your mobility, and it is likely that you will feel discomfort when moving your arms.
All of your incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, and these incision sites can be sore. Whilst these incisions are healing, they may be red and noticeable. This pain will dissipate after a week of taking painkillers, and after this, patients may experience mild discomfort. Normally, this won’t get in the way of resuming daily activities.
Lifting Your Arms vs. Lifting Weight
Lifting your arms over your head can place strain on incision sites which in some cases can cause wound breakdown and delay recovery. This can worsen the appearance of breast reduction scars and damage the final results of your surgery. Lifting heavy weight after the surgery will mainly place unnecessary tension on the chest, which can be painful and cause further swelling and bruising.
Breast Reduction Recovery Timeline
Week 1 Post-Op
The first week after surgery will be the most difficult in terms of discomfort from bruising and swelling.
During this time, it is useful to have someone help you perform your daily activities, such as washing and cooking, to avoid lifting your arms.
Week 2 Post-Op
Now, you will notice that your swelling is reducing, and your mobility should improve. If your surgeon used rapidly dissolving stitches, you might see them go at this point.
Most patients will be able to resume their daily activities and light exercise. You should still be careful when lifting your arms, especially if you feel a pulling sensation.
Week 4 Post-Op
By week 3 or 4, you will be able to resume most of your daily activities, such as going to work. You should still avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting to ensure the body fully heals, even if you feel better.
Light exercise or lower-body exercise will be possible. You might wait until doing exercises, such as yoga and pilates until you can fully stretch your arms.
Week 6 Post-Op
After six weeks, most swelling should have dissipated, and you should feel comfortable doing all of your normal activities.
You should be able to engage in more strenuous activity as your motion will return to normal, and you can raise your arms as normal. Importantly, though you will be able to raise your arms and lift weights, you should do this gradually and with caution.
Is a Breast Reduction Worth It?
Breast reduction can be the answer to a range of aesthetic and functional concerns caused by large breasts. Some of the benefits of breast reduction include improved mobility, decreased back pain and, better posture.
If you see signs that you need a breast reduction, the surgery may bring you a lot of relief and improve your confidence.
Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today
If you are looking to decrease your breast size, schedule a consultation with us today. During your 1-on-1 consultation, your bespoke treatment plan will be designed to your unique desires.
Our Medical Director, Dr Omar Tillo, has mastered the art of breast reduction surgery and is able to create the patient’s ideal bust. His extensive experience allows for a safe and successful procedure for the best and speediest recovery.