I Am So Nervous About my Reduction! How Painful is It and How Do You Adjust to Your New Shape?

I am 32 years old and have been wanting this procedure for years, and now that its 4 days away I'm so nervous! I have a great support system with the exception of my mother (who tells me it will just make me look fat). My plastic surgeon assured me TNT it's not all that painful because there is no muscle tissue involved but I've never had a major surgery, never even a brown bone or stitches! I am also curious how other patients adjust to their new body after the procedure. Thanks!

Doctor Answers (6)

Breast reduction not as painful as you might think!

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  • Most women are pleasantly surprised to find that they do not have as much pain after their breast reduction as they expected.
  • Most of my patients take a combination of narcotics and ibuprofen for several days after the operation.  By one week, and often sooner, most patients stop taking the narcotic medication.
  • Most patients adjust rather quickly to their "new body" after the breast reduction operation, and are super thankful to not be carrying around all that extra weight.  Occasionally, however, a small percentage of patients have a short period of adjustment, and rarely depression, as they accept their new figure which sometimes is very different from the large sagging breasts that  defined them for so many years.
  • Best of luck to you!


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Is Breast Reduction Surgery Painful?

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The procedure itself is not painful as you will be asleep under general anesthesia. Since there is not any dissection of the muscle it is much less painful than some breast surgeries. Pain thresholds are different for everyone, most likely you will be prescribed prescription pain medication which most women need only for a day or two and then you can switch to Tylenol. Most experience immediate relief from back, neck and shoulder pain after surgery and love how their clothes fit making the adjustment to their new shape exciting. The biggest complaint I receive from women after breast reduction surgery is that they wish they had done it sooner. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, Jr., MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Anxiety prior to breast reduction is normal

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Being very anxious prior to (this) surgery is very normal and understandable. What your plastic surgeon apparently explained to you about the level of discomfort after surgery is quite true for most patients. In the end, you should be very happy with the outcome and the positive effects that the procedure has for you physically (and maybe even mentally). My experience with my breast reduction patients is that they are extremely happy with their outcome and have far less discomfort on average as compared to breast augmentation patients.

Good luck!

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

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Nervous about breast reduction

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It is completely normal to be nervous and apprehensive prior to surgery.  It is also good that you have a good support system.  Your plastic surgeon is right when he says that the surgery itself is not excessively painful.  Most of my patients say that they have almost immediate relief in terms of their back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.  I think that because they feel so much better in regards to these issues, the pain from the actual surgery is relatively tolerable. In terms of adjusting to your new body, it will take time.  Your breasts will initially look abnormal -- they will be swollen, bruised, and may have an odd shape (almost "franken-boob").  But within 6-8 weeks as the swelling goes down, they will begin to settle and start to look and feel like YOUR breasts.  Good Luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Pro op jitters

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Your surgeon is right, the surgery is amazingly not that painful at all.  As far as adjusting to your new shape, patients with breast reductions are some of the happiest plastic surgery patients.  Imagine, people will actually be looking at your eyes when they talk to you for a change!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast Reduction and Pain

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 Most women with large breasts have decreased sensation due to nerve stretching, and, as a result, the postoperative pain is not very bad.  The relief is usually noticeable right away, and the lift provided makes the breasts look better.  Good luck.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.