Breast Reduction Surgery - How Much Pain is There?

I Am Having Breast Reduction Surgery in a Couple of Hours. I am worried about the pain after the surgery. How much pain will I experience?

Doctor Answers 17

Breast Reduction surgery and pain

Breast reductions can be painful, but compared to other surgeries they generally are not excessively painful. A fingertip injury can be much more painful. Plantar fascitis can be excruciating. Musculoskeletal pain, especially in areas that are used with frequency can be difficult to deal with. A Breast Reduction, though painful, is reported by my patients to be more uncomfortable for awhile than painful. Tender and sore are also frequently used adjectives.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Pain Following Breast Reduction Surgery

It’s not unusual to have pain following breast reduction surgery. Pain tolerance varies from patient to patient with some describing it as minimal, while others describe it as severe. In many cases, the quality of the patient’s surgical experience is related to post-operative pain management.

In the immediate post-operative period, patients are given narcotic pain relievers. They are rapidly switched to non narcotic pain relievers as soon as this becomes possible. This usually takes about seven to ten days following surgery.

Small amounts of discomfort may be present for several months following the procedure. When prolonged pain is present, this might indicate the presence of a complication. Under these circumstances, consultation with your plastic surgeon would be appropriate.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Pain post breast reduction

Most patients will find that the pain after a reduction is minimal.Realize pain will very from patient to patient.Usually your doctor will prescribe pain meds that will be more than adequate.Also ice after wards is good as well.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Breast Reduction Surgery: More relief than discomfort

Breast reduction surgery reduces the weight of the breast and lifts the breast. It is usually an outpatient procedure and indicated for symptomatic hypermastia, or large breasts which cause neck and back pain, rashes and difficulty fitting into bras. There are numerous types of breast reduction patterns, and in general you will feel almost instant relief from your symptoms rather than discomfort from the actual procedure.

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Pain after breast reduction

Most patients will take pain medication (vicodin) for about two or three days after breast reduction.  After that time, most patients can control the pain with just Tylenol.  The procedure involves dissection through soft tissue (breast tissue/fat) not muscle, therefore the pain is quite manageable.  You will also feel the relief of removing the extra weight from your breasts which will alleviate your neck/back pain rather quickly.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 377 reviews

Pain from breast reduction is less than most patients think

Despite the magnitude of breast reduction surgery, it is surprisingly less painful than most would think. Most patients reveal that their breasts are sore and burn a little during the first 24 hours, but the pain is not excruciating. Since breast reduction does not involve bone or muscle, but skin and breast tissue, it does not cause severe pain afterwards.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Pain after Breast Reduction?

Thank you for the question.

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

Every patient's pain threshold is different;  however, breast reduction surgery is generally very well tolerated.  Most patients do very well with the use of oral narcotics for 7 to 10 days.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews

Pain after breast reduction

Breast reductions are not very painful procedures. There is generally only some minor discomfort posoperatively.

Gary D. Breslow, MD, FACS
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breast Reduction pain

Most breast reductions take 3-4 hours. Post operative pain is variable. Most patients can be managed with oral pain medication such as Percocet or Vicodin. Intramuscular pain medications are also used. You will probably notice an immediate improvement in the neck, back and shoulder pain.

Burr von Maur, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

The pain after breast surgery is almost always less than you would anticipate

because of the nature of the surgery.  In general, it is operations that require movement or injury of a muscle that cause the most pain after surgery, typically associated with movement.  In breast reduction, the entire surgery occurs above the level of the muscle and pain is not aggravated as much by movement.  In addition, because in most patients who undergo breast reduction there is relief of back, neck, and shoulder pain due to the decreased weight of the breasts, the overall benefits outwiegh any discomfort from the surgery itself.  Since patients also look better after breast reduction surgery, they tend to be some of the happiest patients in our plastic surgery practice...

Michael H. Rosenberg, MD
Mount Kisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.