3 days post breast reduction. Constipation. Should I be concerned?

I am 3 days post-op breast reduction. No bowel movement yet. Appetite is down but trying to drink water and eat some Fruits and veggies through the day. Walking some but tiring easily. Should I be concerned? What is best to take if I need some "help"? Thx!

Doctor Answers 7

Breast reduction and constipation

Often constipation early post-op is related to taking pain meds that can slow down your gi tract. It might be best to speak with your doctor to recommend stool softeners and to stop the pain  meds if possible.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Postoperative Constipation Normal

The recovery process following any surgery can lead to anxiety. The situation you describe, as other specialists have said, is almost certainly caused by prescription pain medication. It sounds as though you are taking the right steps — drinking water, eating fruits and veggies — and that should help. As you cut back on the narcotic for pain, you should notice a return to regularity. If you remain constipated, contact your plastic surgeon. Best of luck.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


You need to be pro active and not wait for it to get worst.  This is a common problem with some patients post surgery.  Talk to your plastic surgeon to get some help as there are many options.

Andre Aboolian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

3 days post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us. 
3 days after Breast Reduction, it's not time enough to express a valid opinion of results.
On the other hand, generally to avoid the normal p.o. swelling, I recommend to limit the arms movement for two weeks. 
Also it's not advisable to carry weight and take the antiinflamatory painkillers drugs.
Finally, I recommend you always use a therapeutic bra.
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 256 reviews

Constipation after surgery...

Your plastic surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to clinical management. Unfortunately, constipation can be a problem for many patients after any type of surgery. Generally, bowel movements return to normal someone between 4 to 7 days postoperatively. This occurs as patients wean off narcotics and resume regular diets. I would suggest basic measures such as high-fiber foods, good hydration ( consider prune juice),  increased ambulation… Hopefully, prescription laxatives won't be necessary. Again, best to run your questions/concerns by your plastic surgeon who knowing your history may have more precise advice. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Postop Constipation

Constipation is very common after surgery due to narcotics.  There are lots of ways to help this situation.  Walking and staying well hydrated can speed up recovery.  Also, the sooner you are able to comfortably wean off your narcotics, the faster you will return to regular bowel movements.  I usually have my patients take colace (a stool softener) twice a day until they are off narcotics. They can also drink coffee or prune juice if that helps. If they haven't had a BM after 2 days, I recommend dulcolax suppositions twice a day, and if that still is not enough, they can add miralax or Fleets enemas.  Please check with your surgeon's office to see what they prefer you to do, but know that you have many options!

Robert Cohen, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Constipated after breast reduction

Thank you for asking about your breast reduction.

  • Your constipation is almost certainly from narcotic medicines given during surgery or taken afterwards.
  • Constipation is not good for us - although some people tolerate it better than others.
  • Please contact your surgeon's office for directions on what to take.
  • I have my patients take one tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia every 12 hours until they move - if your surgeon's office does not have their own recommendation, ask if this is ok for you to take.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 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.