What I Learned About My Breast Reduction & Recovery

So it’s been 3 months since I went in for my breast reduction surgery and I wanted to share some of my experiences with recovery in case you were interested in the procedure for yourself. If you want to start from the beginning check out my previous posts:

5 Steps to a (Possibly) Insured Breast Reduction

Tips to Prepare For Your Surgery Day

Week 1 of Recovery From Breast Reduction Surgery

What Size Am I Now?

To quickly recap, I was a 38H before I went in to have my breast reduction. I am now a 38C. My doctor (Dr. Ronald DeMars in Portland, Oregon) was amazing, I could have asked for a better surgeon to do the job.

Any Complications In Recovery?

I haven’t had any complications in my recovery so far. I can tell you specifically what the best and worst parts of it has been though. Here’s the timeline of my early recovery:

Week 1 – Slept a lot. I was in a front-closure sports bra with padding/dressing for the first 3 days, along with drains that needed to be emptied a few times a day. Sleep was induced by pain killers (Oxycontin and Oxycodone) so I slept pretty well and often. I was not allowed to shower until the drains were removed. My breasts were high and tight during this time. Bruising was deep so I didn’t notice too much.

Week 2 – Sleep was not as great because I was pretty much off all painkillers and only taking Advil. My energy was low. I napped daily and kept my activity to a minimum. Even picking the kids up from school wore me out.  This week was probably the worst of my recovery, mainly due to that and the fact that I had Steri-Strips on my incisions (a sticky surgical tape that helped the surgical glue keep my incisions closed). I had a few small stitches on the out skin, one of which would rub, so the physician assistant trimmed it out for me on my followup visit. Another discomfort came from getting feeling back in my nipples and the fact that it was COLD outside. Every time I got a shiver, my nipples would try to harden and that would pull the incisions and tape, causing a lot of discomfort. I kept that at bay with heat pads and disposable hand warmers in my shirt (over the sports bra). My  breasts started to soften a bit and dropped a little which helped in comfort. Bruising started to come to the surface and my breasts were purple and green underneath and on the sides.

Week 3 – My first week of more energy! I stopped needing my afternoon naps every day. I was able to walk around the grocery store for an hour without feeling drained. best of all? The steri-strips were removed (according to my Dr. they could be removed at 3 weeks if they hadn’t fallen off on their own), and it was a HUGE difference in comfort and sleep. I was able to get comfortable and slept soundly at night. I was still wearing sports bras, but my breasts had softened and dropped even more to a natural position (before they looked like implants!). Bruising was going away. I also started to use a scar oil (Palmer’s Cocoa Butter) to massage into my scars, which were red/pink.

Click here for a (censored) progression photo

Week 4 –  I went shopping for a new bra and found I was fitting into a 38D. I also started trying on new tops to see the difference and was excited for what I saw!

Week 5 /NOW – My energy is back to normal. My sleep is great. My breasts are shrinking a little more and now my 38D bras (that I bought a month ago) are big on me, so I have dropped down to size 38C. I am able to exercise now and officially back to my normal routine. I’ve also lost about 15lbs since my surgery! My scars are fading and I have no bruising whatsoever. Feeling is almost 100% back now.

What I Learned About My Breast Reduction & Recovery

What About the Nipples?

Lots of people asked me about nipple placement. Before my nips were pointing a bit downward, as they do with age, children, and breast size. It happens. What many don’t know is that with a breast reduction often comes a breast lift. The nipple is placed in a higher position. In my case they are about where they used to be when I was in my early 20’s. They are symmetrical, pointing forward instead of downward, and yes I do have feeling in them. I actually have feeling in most of my breast tissue now – the only slightly numb area is below the nipples on the incision but that comes back more and more every day.

rc progress

Is Breast Reduction Worth It?

A resounding YES. Absolutely. 100% worth it. Not only did I feel an almost immediate difference on my back pain, but I felt better about my appearance almost right away. Dr. DeMars had told me that breast reductions are his favorite surgery to do because of the high satisfaction rate of patients. Most women who undergo a reduction are happy right off the bat, and I am no exception. Some awesome things about my surgery:

  1. Back pain is now minimal.
  2. Right away I looked and felt like I had lost weight.
  3. Cheap, pretty bras! About a month after my surgery I was able to wear wired bras and now fit into a Target $12.99 bra. I used to pay upwards of $60 for one bra because of the custom fitting. Plus my old bras are not pretty with the exception of a hot pink one I happened upon at Nordstrom that was my size. And about $60. Yikes.
  4. Clothing fits better. It’s been years since I have been able to wear a button top without gaping at the bust. Now I totally can. I actually went down a full size in shirts.
  5. I am happier with my appearance and my comfort.

Bottom Line…

If you are considering a breast reduction DO IT. Make sure you follow insurance guidelines to see if you can get coverage. Find the best doctor in your area (Portland/vicinity definitely check out Dr. Ronald DeMars). You will be so happy you did it!!

11 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am going for a reduction on Mar 21, I am a size I and will also be going to a C. Your story has really put me more at ease and now I know some of the expectations after surgery. Thank you

  2. Thanks for sharing, I go for my reduction on July 11. I’m currently a size M cup and will be going to a size C cup. I have less than two weeks and have so many mixed emotions. I want and need it. And happy I’m getting it done but at the same time I’m getting scared and nervous. My doctor told me I need a skin graft as well due to my large breast stretching my skin really thin. I’m currently trying to get things prepared and been feeling a little lost.

  3. I am wanting a reduction SO badly! I am a 38F and miserable. Physically and emotionally. I hate my body image because of my chest. I feel like I look 10x my actual size. I have 2 children but my husband and I want one more. I have heard a lot of people telling me to wait on my surgery but I’m so miserable I don’t want to. Plus it will probably be another 2 years before we have another. And I don’t think I can wait that long. Do you have any advise or can you tell me anything more about your personal experience? Were you done having children or have your breast changed much since your procedure?

  4. I am considering a breast reduction. I was a 36 DD at age 11 and after age and 5 kids I’m a 36G. I am nervous about being smaller. I have always been big. I’m worried I will be disappointed at the smaller age.

  5. I just had my reduction today. I am uncomfortable and afraid to look in mirror. Your story tells me I am not alone and it will get better.

  6. I’m only a size DD, but I developed breasts at a really young age, they’ve always been more of a stress for me than anything. I went in for a consultation today, and I have mixed feelings. My mother had a breast reduction years ago and I know it was the best thing she could have done, but I feel too young (22 years old) I know my boobs will grow again when I have kids. I’m very torn– struggle/deal longer and hope I have the money after I have kids, or get it now so I can enjoy it longer and while I’m young with the possibility that after I have kids I may get back to the same size. I’m so so torn. Is DD big enough to take on this drastic change? The doctor said I’m in the 400-500 mg range. Should I wait or enjoy it while I’m young and have the funds?

    I’ve always had pretty boobs, despite the size. Did you feel like the shape of your boobs changed drastically?

  7. Hi all! My daughter had breast reduction done at the age of 16. She was pleased. She had huge breasts! So, I have had mine done this week. Of course I feel shitty. Be that as it made the results worth it.

  8. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. Dr. DeMars was my doctor as well… fantastic surgeon who approaches it with artistry. I also couldn’t possibly be happier with my outcome and I’m only 1 month post op. Breast surgery is truly life changing.

  9. Thank you. Just had mine done 3 days ago . I needed to see what to expect. And you answered every question I had. First website I came across too . Ty

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