Undergoing breast reduction San Francisco is a personal decision that can yield a number of benefits for women. But, as with any surgery, you’ll need to slightly change your routine in the days and weeks after your procedure to aid with healing. The staff of Eric P. Bachelor, MD, FACS, in Pleasanton and Danville, CA, are here to answer any questions you have, provide suggestions, and ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From a Breast Reduction San Francisco?
Because every patient responds a little differently to breast reduction San Francisco surgery, it’s tough to say exactly how long you will need for a full recovery. Realistically, you can expect the process to take between two and six weeks. You’ll likely start to regain energy and strength within seven days, although you will need a minimum of one week from work. Depending on the nature of your job, you may need to limit your workplace activities and/or take additional time off.
The same is true of home. You should plan on needing help with shopping, child and pet care, housework, meal preparation, and even caring for yourself. We likewise recommend you not drive until a seatbelt can be worn easily and comfortably. This can take up to three weeks, meaning it’s important you plan accordingly for your own appointments as well as those of your children or other family members.
An Estimated Timeline
Your surgery will take several hours to complete, and once finished, you will be placed in a recovery room so we can monitor your progress. Breast reduction San Francisco is performed as an outpatient surgery. This allows you to return home once you feel alert enough, and your recovery can then begin in the place where you’re most comfortable.
Again, you won’t be able to drive immediately following surgery. You’ll therefore need to arrange for a friend or relative to bring you to and take you from the procedure. This same person should plan to spend time with you once you’re home. He or she can ensure you’re resting comfortably and provide general assistance. Items you’ll need to have within close reach include:
- Books and magazines
- A television remote control
- Bottled water
- Blankets and pillows
The First Day
The first day is the same as your surgery, and once home, your only goal is to rest. Your body needs to begin the healing process, and an afternoon of sleep and relaxation is the best way to do this.
Caring for Your Body
Sutures placed deep within your breast tissues will dissolve over time. Exterior incisions are closed using a deft combination of surgical tape and sutures. Bandages and compression garments will also be applied to the chest to help support your breasts as they adjust to their new shape and position.
Unless we tell you otherwise, you should plan on wearing your compression garments 24 hours a day, except while showering. These assist with healing and keep you comfortable. Drains are also sometimes inserted to assist with the flow of excess fluids. But don’t worry. We’ll provide all the instructions necessary to properly care for your incisions at home.
The First Week
Keep in mind you will be off from work during this time to continue resting. But even as you take it easy, you must drink plenty of water to encourage healthy blood flow. This is one of several keys to a fast and efficient recovery. Eating well and avoiding strenuous activities are just as important. Remember that you want to nourish your body during this time.
Also remember to take any medications we prescribed for you and call our office with any questions. And know that your post-op directives will probably differ from those of another patient. We tailor these to meet individual needs, which is why it’s important you follow our recommendations for diet, activity restrictions, and incision care.
Rest is critical in the first week or two after surgery, but you should also incorporate gentle walking each day. This prevents blood clots and promotes blood flow, which your tissues need to heal. But don’t overdo it. Start with just 10 minutes a day and gradually work up to 30 or 40 minutes.
Once you start this habit, you’ll find it easy to continue beyond your healing period – which is a great way to establish a healthy lifestyle. Walking will also help increase your overall strength as you slowly but surely return to normal activities.
No Heavy Lifting
With a gradual return to normal activities, be careful to not strain your body. You won’t be able to lift anything heavy even as your walking regimen continues to build. This means no:
- Cat litter bags
- Dog food bags
- Vacuum cleaning
- Milk and/or juice jugs
- Grocery bags
- Weighted briefcases, carry-ons, or purses
These recommendations will remain in place for a minimum of two weeks. Also avoid raising your arms over your head – you should instead keep them at a comfortable, downward position – and lifting or carrying children. Stretching and exercising are also off the table until we provide the go-ahead.
The First Month
You’ll feel your body change in a number of ways through this early period. Yes, your incisions will heal. But you’ll also feel more energetic, and the pain in your neck and shoulders will subside because your breasts are smaller. You’ll need to delay a return to underwire bras because the wire can damage and chafe skin that’s still in recovery. But your body will certainly feel less restricted.
We urge you to slowly ease back into full activities. You don’t need to rush, and doing so may harm your long-term results from surgery. We’ll likely clear you for low-impact exercises toward the end of the month. By this time, you’ll also be able to care for yourself, drive again, and return to work. In short, you’ll be back to your usual routine and feeling more like your old self – but with more confidence and increased freedom of movement.
Ways To Speed Up Your Recovery
We know that after just a few days of resting, you’ll be eager to make a full recovery. It’s therefore important to understand that much of your healing will depend on your own actions. To illustrate, you can make life a bit easier by planning for your return home before you even go into surgery.
Ensure You Have Nourishment
Start by pouring juice, milk, and water into small containers and stowing them in the refrigerator. You’ll have plenty of fluids on hand without having to worry about lifting heavy gallon jugs. The same is true of meal planning. By strategizing what you’re going to eat for at least a few days, you can give yourself more important time to heal.
Ideas for pre-made meals you can easily store in the freezer or refrigerator include high-protein choices like fish, poultry, and eggs. Protein can help you heal more quickly, and a nutritious meal of grilled fish, greens, and rice is simple and comforting. Snacks are just as important to plan for. Opt for easy choices like fresh fruit, pretzels, nuts, yogurt, crackers, and cubed cheese. These can accompany your medications and be enjoyed with little to no effort.
Reduce Your Workload
You should also use paper plates and plasticware to eliminate worries of loading and unloading the dishwasher or washing dishes as you heal. Likewise, plan your outfits by having a few already picked out and within easy reach. Button-down shirts with loose, cotton pants or shorts will be the easiest choices after surgery. Also keep nightwear in a convenient spot and:
- Stock antibacterial soap, extra gauze, and flexible neck straws
- Create a space for medications and wound supplies
- Establish your healing spot in a comfortable room
Watch How You Sit and Sleep
The positions you sit and sleep in will play crucial roles in your healing. You should try to keep your chest slightly elevated in the first week or so after surgery. This means that rather than lying flat to sleep, you should prop yourself up with a few pillows under your torso. Also avoid sleeping on your back – try for your side or back instead. And when you sit, you can keep your chest elevated by sitting upright in a chair or recliner.
Love the Body You’re In
Breast reduction San Francisco can improve your posture, reduce pain in the neck and back, stop skin rashes, and even decrease the number of headaches you experience. In short, it can be a rejuvenating and liberating surgery. And by following our recovery guidelines, you’ll be back to your regular activities in no time. Schedule your consultation today by contacting the offices of Eric P. Bachelor, MD, FACS, in Pleasanton and Danville, CA.