At the offices of Dr. Gutowski in Glenview and Chicago, IL, we know the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin. This is why we recommend breast reduction surgery for women dealing with the pain and discomfort of large breasts. It reduces excess skin and lifts tissues for a natural and more youthful appearance. And recovery is probably easier than you think.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Breast Reduction in Chicago?
On average, you can expect your recovery to take two to six weeks. If you have a sedentary job, you’ll likely be cleared to return to work within just a week; for a very active job, you’ll need a respite of two weeks.
With these guidelines in mind, it’s important to remember everyone recovers at a slightly different rate. If you find it’s taking a little longer for you to recover than, say, your friend, rest assured this is perfectly normal. The same is true if you find you need a little less time. In either case, listen to your body and follow the guidelines we provide.
The First Three Days After Surgery
You’ll probably feel tired in the 72 hours immediately following surgery. We strongly recommend you take a nap when your eyelids feel heavy. Your body will do a great deal of healing while you sleep, so the more you rest, the sooner you will recover.
After the first 24 hours, you should also start moving around. Slow, gentle walking will reduce your risk of developing a blood clot and send oxygen-rich blood cells to your incisions. Walk up and down the hall or around the house a couple of days and then, as you feel stronger, begin walking outside. Remember, however, to sit when you feel tired and only walk as you can – this isn’t a race.
Suggestions for Activities
For times when you are awake and feel more energized, we recommend you have easy activities within reach. These might include books or magazines to read, movies to watch on your tablet, or even word puzzles. Don’t feel compelled to over-exert yourself, however. The time will quickly come when you feel like yourself again.
One Week After Surgery
By this point, some of your former energy will have returned. You might feel anxious to return to work as a way of reclaiming your former schedule, and we’ll let you know exactly when you can do so. The walks you take should gradually increase in length to encourage strong circulation. Remember the more blood that flows to the surgery site, the better.
One Month Post-Surgery
You can expect to be all but fully healed at this point. You’ll also be cleared to resume most, if not all, of your daily activities. You will, however, need to continue avoiding strenuous movements, particularly in your chest area. This includes stretching, reaching, and lifting. And while you can continue walking, vigorous exercise will remain off the table.
You may feel tempted to wear snug clothes that didn’t quite fit before, but for now, loose and comfortable garments are better options. They’ll allow your surgery sites to breathe and not rub or chafe your skin. Near the end of the month, you may be cleared to start brief, low-impact exercises.
Six Weeks After Surgery
Here is where things get good. Not only will you feel comfortable resuming your normal routine, but in most cases, we also give clearance to resume exercise and soak in a bath. It’s likely you’ll once again be able to don your favorite underwire bra as well. Sleeping on your stomach and/or side will be more comfortable, and confidence in your chest range of motion and strength will come surging back.
Ways To Speed up Your Recovery
After breast reduction, several simple steps will help hasten your recovery. We’ll provide an all-inclusive list of instructions during your consultation, but some steps not necessarily listed may also prove beneficial. One of these is to drink more water than what you think you need. Many people believe drinking when they’re thirsty is enough, but this is incorrect.
The truth is that by the time you feel thirsty, your body has been dehydrated for some time. To compound matters, thirst signals are often mistaken for hunger. People then reach for a sweet or salty snack that only causes further dehydration. The best way to determine if you’re hydrated is by looking at your urine. Any color other than very pale is a sign of dehydration and means you must consume more beverages like caffeine-free tea or water.
Why Hydration Is Important
Water is crucial to your skin’s overall health. Drinking more as you heal feeds the skin with the fuel it needs to regenerate. Staying hydrated also keeps your blood pressure within a safe range to reduce stress on your body.
Sleep More Than Usual
We discussed this topic earlier but thought it deserved a second mention. Plenty of amazing things happen when you fall into a slumber. Contrary to popular belief, your brain doesn’t shut off but instead sorts and stores the day’s information. Hormones also flood the body; in terms of healing, growth hormone released by the pituitary gland helps the body repair itself.
Cortisol levels similarly drop and your immune system releases small proteins called cytokines. During times of illness and/or injury, these help the body fight trauma, infection, and inflammation. Ultimately, these activities will help you make a faster and more seamless recovery. To ensure you get the shut-eye you need, you should:
- Let others in the house know how important rest is for your body
- Shut off all alarms and instead wake naturally
- Lie on your back to protect your incisions
When we’re home, it’s easy to indulge in comfort foods like cookies and Chicago pizza, but these choices have little to no nutritional value. The better option is to eat wholesome foods that support your body during the recovery process.
One of the best suggestions we can make is to cook and freeze healthy meals in advance of your surgery. This eliminates mealtime stress and also ensures you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Also have healthy snacks on-hand – like fruits, vegetables, and yogurt – and maybe just a treat or two to indulge.
Preparing for Surgery
We’re going to start by saying smoking can seriously impede your ability to heal after breast reduction surgery. It deprives tissues of crucial oxygen and can, in turn, lead to complications and/or increase your recovery time. You should therefore kick the habit at least two weeks prior to your procedure.
At the time of your consultation, we’ll ask about prescription medications you’re currently taking. We’ll then advise what you can and cannot continue taking. Aspirin and anti-inflammatories, for instance, are off the table. We’ll let you know when these can be safely resumed.
Arrange for Household Help
You’ll need help from a partner, friend, or family member starting the day of surgery. You won’t be able to drive for about 48 hours after, so someone will need to drive you to and from your procedure. Likewise, it’s a good idea to have a person stay with you a few days to care for pets and/or children. They should also be on-hand to help with tasks like meal prep and household chores.
This brings us to our next point: for two or three days post-surgery, you’ll need to be resting so won’t be able to shop, cook, or clean your house. Taking care of these tasks in advance is a good idea. You should additionally have several outfits selected and in an easy-to-reach place to avoid bending or stretching. Remember to choose loose, breathable clothes, such as comfy button-downs, a dressing gown, and sweatpants.
Ready Your Recovery Room
Whether you plan to spend a few days in your bedroom or the living room, create a comfortable place for yourself with a small table on which you can keep:
- Your phone
- TV remote control
- Snacks, such as crackers
This table should be about eye level so any items you need can be easily retrieved. Also, have soft pillows and a few extra blankets prepared. These will encourage you to rest as your body recovers.
Benefits of Surgery
Breast reduction does more than change your appearance. It can also boost your self-esteem, physical health, and body image. Ninety-five percent of patients report feeling satisfied with their results, producing one of the highest satisfaction rates of all cosmetic procedures.
You’ll also enjoy improved skin health. Large breasts can irritate the skin underneath and cause rashes. Some women also experience bacterial infections and intense itching in this area, both of which also improve after surgery.
Of course, the goals of surgery are firmer, lighter, and smaller breasts more proportionate to the rest of your body. This additionally means no more backaches, neck aches, or headaches. You’ll enjoy better posture, and the areolas will be smaller and more proportionate as well.
Larger breasts often restrict movement and cause pain during high-impact activities like running and dancing. Many times, women choose not to engage in these activities at all and therefore miss the benefits of exercise. Breast reduction surgery, however, straightens the spine and relieves the pressure placed on other parts of the body. This can make exercise much easier and encourage a more active lifestyle.
Still You, Only Better
Whether you want to wear more form-fitting clothes around Chicago or hope to amplify your confidence, breast reduction surgery can change your life. It’s true you’ll be sidelined for a few days and need time away from work, but your recovery will go smoothly if you follow a few key steps. Schedule your consultation today by calling the offices of Dr. Gutowski in Glenview and Chicago, IL.