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.

What I Learned About My Breast Reduction & Recovery

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!!