Breast Reduction & Breast Lift: 13 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Surgeries

  • 3 years ago

Breast lift and breast reduction surgery photo results over time

Earlier this year I had breast reduction surgery and a lift. (See my story.) Here are 13 things I wish someone had told me before surgery.

I wish I would have known how wonderful I was going to feel after this surgery.
If I had, I would have done this years ago. All of my back, neck, and shoulder pain is gone forever. My confidence also went through the roof. When I woke up in recovery, I could instantly feel the difference and loved how perky my breasts were. My hubby commented on how good my posture was.

2. Communicate with your doctor to find out when your drains will be removed
The day after surgery I went to the clinic to see the doctor. He checked my drains and was able to remove one of them right away. This was nice and totally unexpected. If I had known they were going to pull it so soon I would have doubled up on the pain meds. And also do not watch while they pull a drain out. It smarts a little bit and made me woozy. It goes quickly, but please do not look! I was really out of it, had not eaten much, and was nauseous. I got really dizzy and had to sit down before I fainted. I blame most of that on all the meds and lack of food.

3. Stitch removal can hurt.
Two weeks post-op I had the stitches removed from my nipples. If I had known it was going to hurt like a bugger, I would have medicated myself heavily before this appointment as well. It felt like someone was pinching my nipples really hard… OUCH. I was about jumping off the table and had tears in my eyes. I was pretty hyper sensitive in that area.

4. Massage, massage, massage.
At two weeks post-op, I started massaging my breasts with Palmer’s Vitamin E Skin Therapy Oil. It felt great and helped the extremely dry and flaky skin I had on my breasts. Go gently and be patient. To this day, I still use the oil on my entire body. My scars look awesome and are barely visible. No raised or red areas at all. I had all internal stitches with the exception of the nipples.

5. Take the smooth way home.
We should have driven home from the hospital on a less bumpy route (We drove through a heavy construction route). Oh my goodness! Every bump on the way home made me tense up in pain. You also need to have a pillow in the car to place under the seatbelt which goes across your chest — never thought of that prior to surgery!

6. Don't be shy, strike a pose.
Looking back, I should have taken a camera to the hospital to have some good "before" pictures taken. I took some at home, but they weren't great. It would have been fun to take pictures of the markings the doctor made before surgery.

7. Don't buy bras until later.
I purchased bras before surgery in what I thought would be my new size. Dumb idea because until you are healed and the swelling goes down you really have no idea of your final size. I donated the bras to a good cause so it turned out fine. Please wait a few weeks before shopping for sexy bras.

MORE: Who Is a Good Candidate For Breast Reduction? (VIDEO)

8. Prepare your significant other (if you have one) for what to expect immediately post-op.
I should have shown my hubby some pictures of breasts after a reduction. When he had the first look that evening I thought he would die. He tried not to react but it was so obvious he was freaked out. You really need to prep the men because their toys are not going to be pretty for a while, and that upsets them. Imagine his horror when he got a look at all the incisions and stitches in the nipples — bruised, bloody, swollen… Yikes! It's a little bit like something out of a horror movie. I think he was worried they would never look normal again. 

9. Your breasts might look weird for a while.
Before the surgery, I didn't realize that my breasts would look a little boxy for a while post-op. They needed time to settle and drop, but why did I not know this?! Guess I forgot to ask that question! They are all fine now (see photo above), but it took some time.

No heavy lifting.
Ok now ladies this is really important: DO NOT — and I repeat DO NOT — attempt any heavy lifting or exercise for the first month after surgery. I went back to the gym at four weeks post-op with my doctor’s approval. I was able to exercise without any pain and I was absolutely excited.

11. You're going to have scabs around your nipples that will itch something fierce.
Resist the urge to scratch! I discovered that I was actually scratching in my sleep, and woke up one morning with a bloody nightgown. I discovered that I had actually scratched the scabs right off. Boy, did that hurt! If you are finding they itch in the day, try sleeping with socks on your hands to prevent scratching in your sleep.

12. Surgical bras are very comfortable, so wear them around the clock for the first six months.
I woke up in one after the surgery, but wish I had thought to get a couple more right away. You need a clean one to wear while you wash the others, so have at least three on hand. The longer you wear them, the better your results will be. No underwire bras for at least 4 months!

What Is Recovery Like After Breast Lift Surgery? (VIDEO)

13. Do not try and sleep on your tummy for at least the first month.
I slept on the reclining sofa for the first few nights and that was comfy. When you do go back to your bed, have a pillow under each arm/elbow. It hurt to lay flat on my back with my arms falling to the mattress. You will need to raise them up a little bit.

Enjoy your new and perky rack! — Kimmers25

Want to know more? Read Kimmers25 transformative beauty journey here!

Comments (1,259)

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Breast reduction surgery removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts. These are some basic indications for breast reduction surgery:- 1) The woman with macromastia presents enlarged breasts that tend to be sagging, the weight of which cause her pains in the chest, neck, back, and shoulders 2) Inhibit breathing deeply; rendering the woman unable to take a deep breath and fill her lungs with air. 3) Lower breast-hemisphere skin infection (inframammary intertrigo) 4) Cause brassière-strap indentations to the shoulders; and render her unable to properly fit her clothes. For more references on breast reduction surgery visit the following link:-
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Have anyone have issues with sleeping? I'm 4 weeks post op and have yet to have a full night sleep. I can sleep for about 4 hours then I'm up and once I really get into my sleep after it's close to me having to wake up. I end up being tired and groggy the whole day. I have been taking Tylenol PM a few nights out the week to help but it really doesn't. The surgeon offered to put me on prescriptions during my last appointment but I decline. I'm really rethinking it. Since I will be sleeping on my back for who knows how long, I will not be able to rest fully.
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Try making a nest out of pillows and blankets to support you while you sleep, particularly under your knees and at your sides. It could be that you're moving in your sleep and waking yourself up, but being supported by your sides and under your knees might make you feel more secure and less likely to sleep restlessly.
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This was great and I did not use any recliner to sleep. I slept in my bed from day 1. You should tried.
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I've also been in my bed from day one. I'm just not a back sleeper. It's the most uncomfy position for me. Even with the fortress of pillows lol.
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I've had the fortress of pillows since I've been home, days later I did the pillow under the leg which do help but I'm a wild sleeper so it get kicked around a lot.
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I just had to do it. When my body started to 'want' to move on my side, I knew I was getting better. I just had my areolas revised and I have to do this again. It's been a week and I have the pillows once more. I'm afraid to hurt myself and the stitches so I sleep on my back but with a 'little' twist. If you put 2 to 3 pillows under your head it will seem like you are in a recliner. Feel better.
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How did the revision procedure go for you?
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Order a wedge pillow from amazon, it is comfortable and just the right incline, with pillows and have pillows on the side for your arms, I am now 3 weeks post op and still use hem, in another bed for now as not to disturb my husband.. I am a major side sleeper too!
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The wedge pillow helped me out so much jenky! I slept in bed from day one! I used alot of other pillows as well! I'm a side sleeper as well and used long body pillows along my sides & one under my legs to help remind me not to turn over!
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I agree with you t.g.evening! That's exactly what I did! It took me a good month to get used to sleeping with all the pillows, but it got better with time. I also drank herbal tea at bedtime. Thanks for the good info!
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Adding small pool noodles cut to length and inserted inside the wedge pillow case on each side will help you to not roll off while you sleep. I'm a side curled up sleeper too. The back and leg wedge are a must for anyone having a verticle and medial thigh lift. I'm having an extended bracioplasty, breast reduction and lift, and a mini tummy mons tuck November 3rd. I'm nervous about not having use of my arms and the pain. But my surgeon is totally awesome!
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That is great, sleep is so important!
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Riroyal1, It's been a week. I did have some pain but it was manageable and taking pain killers or tylenol did help. What I have most problems with is my right nipple, which has always been more sensitive than my left. My PC put in inside and outside stitches (with glue, which leaves little scars). The stir-strips are all around and after the 3rd day I could shower facing out. Since the nipples are sensitive, I am wearing a bra but I put a flat round cotton to shield the nipples because they do rub. Whatever helps. We have to be creative and if it works, pass it on. I go Friday to get the strips and stitches out. The strips are not coming off as of yet. They are hanging on.
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How long did the procedure take? Have you looked yet at the results so far?
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No, I have not looked at them since the steri strips are still on. They have not loosen up so I don't want to force them off. I'll let the PC do it. The procedure took about an hour, but he took pictures (he takes pics before and after everything he does), listen to all my questions. The only thing I was concerned about was getting shots to numb the area. He is so gentle that it was not as bad as I anticipated. He also gave me a good dose of Valium with 2 antibiotics. I go Friday.
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Riroyal1, Sorry I forgot to ask you if you are considering doing the revision?
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Sounds like a good experience.
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I go back to my PC the first week of November and I'll decide then. Also, it will depend on if he will cover the cost or I have to pay.
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Hi , I am post op surgery was on August 28. Dr. Was worried left breast would give me worst time, it was my lumpectomy radiated survivor six years ago, but it seems less bothered than the other, but the right was much, much larger, so more was removed. I use the pain meds 1 in morning 1 at night, have a wedge pillow... My doc said I could lift my arms over my head, but I have read other stuff. What have any of you heard... That is a good idea to get more than one surgical tubes are still in on both sides... Good to know it might be a little painful getting them pulled out, I wondered ... I am so far, really happy.. The itches haven't happened yet, but I take a histamine blocker daily, maybe that is why or maybe it is too soon. But thank you thank you for having this community created. I hope to hear back on the letting arm thing... Congrats to all you lovely ladies!
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It's a good idea to have more than one surgical bra so that you can wash them and dry them while still having support. They last longest if hand washed and air dried, which can take a whole, so you may want a second bra to wear while the first bra is drying. I bought 3-4 of the Fruit of the Look front closure bras to wear during recovery.
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Thank you for the information, are those bras at a Walmart, Shopko type store? When did you have your surgery again? How much was removed? How long till both breasts looked close to the same? Thanks for any input
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I bought the Fruit of the Loom ones at Walmart. They're about $10 each, cotton, with hook-and-eye closures at the front. They run small, so I found it helpful to buy one size up from normal. I had surgery in December 2013 and had about 2.5 lbs removed from each breast. My breasts looked roughly the same immediately after surgery and as time has gone on, they've kept improving in appearance due to incisions healing, breasts "dropping and fluffing" (starting to look round instead of boxy), and finally scars beginning to whiten and fade.
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Good info! I will go there right breast had about 3 times more removed than the left radiated breast and it still looks larger, I hope it fluffs up and shrinks a little more from the inflammation, however at least they are much closer to the same size than they were before surgery. Did you use creams or scar oil to help with healing? I think my dr. Said to wait until the scabbing was gone to apply anything, just curious if you had and if it works. Thanks!
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I waited for all the scabbing to be gone and did try Bio-Oil for a while. I don't know how much it helped the color of my scars. It can't help to try it, though. Applying moisturizer or lotion helped because my incisions and the surrounding skin did get dry--10 months later, it still gets dry if I don't moisturize.
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