Postoperative Instructions- Breast

Breast Reduction

Postoperative Anesthesia

After anesthesia, you may feel nauseated and may even experience vomiting for the first 24 hours. You may take anti-nausea medication if prescribed to alleviate your symptoms. If your vomiting persists despite medication, please contact us immediately. You should feel much better by the next day. If you are still suffering nausea and vomiting after the first 2 days, please let us know. If you were sedated or underwent general anesthesia, do not drive or operate any machinery as you may injure yourself or others. Sometimes, the narcotic pain medications you are taking may also cause some upset stomach and/or nausea. Try taking these medications with food, or abstain from taking them if they cause undue nausea and vomiting. It is also natural for you to feel a bit of fatigue for the first 2 to 3 days after surgery as your body recovers from the combined effects of surgery and anesthesia.

Showering and Water Exposure

You may shower after the drains have been removed. Prior to that time a sponge bath should be performed.

Wound Care

1. The breast incisions will be covered with steri-strips. The steri-strips should remain in place until Dr. Bray Jr. removes them the following week. All of the sutures used for a breast reduction dissolve over time and do not need to be removed. After the steri-strips have been removed Dr. Bray Jr. will give you instructions on further incision care.

2. After a breast reduction you may have drains in place. You will be given instructions on drain management after you leave the surgery center or hospital. The drain output should be recorded twice a day. The drains will usually be removed when the output is less than 30cc over a 24 hour period.

3. You will be wrapped in an ace wrap after surgery. The following day Dr. Bray Jr. will remove the ace wrap and a sports bra may be placed. Before your surgery you should buy a soft cotton sports bra to be used after surgery.

4. Sleeping at night with your head elevated with a couple of pillows will also help with recovery. Sleep on your back or side only.

5. Avoid any hot packs as you may burn yourself unknowingly. After your surgery, your wound area will be numb for several weeks, and you may burn yourself if you apply too hot an object near or on your operated skin.

6. Avoid any excessive rubbing or scratching of the wound area as this may disrupt the suture line or cause darkening of your skin. If you should have severe itchiness or redness around the wound area, contact us immediately so that we may prescribe a medication to alleviate your symptoms.


Please take them as directed. It is recommended that you take your antibiotics with food to minimize any chance of an upset stomach. If you are nauseated, please wait until the nausea has subsided before resuming your antibiotics. If you develop diarrhea, please stop taking your antibiotics. If your diarrhea should persist, please contact us regarding this matter. If you should develop a fever (> 100.5) after the first 2 days, please let us know as well.

Pain Management

If you have significant pain after surgery, please take the prescribed pain medication. Please be sure to take your pain medication not more frequently than prescribed. Also, as this medication is a narcotic, you are advised against driving or operating any machinery while taking your pain medication. Further, you should not partake of any alcohol when using narcotic pain medications. If you have only mild pain, you may take plain Tylenol to alleviate your symptoms. However, if you take plain Tylenol you should wait four hours before resuming your other pain medications as they frequently already have Tylenol in them, and you do not want to overdose on Tylenol. You should also avoid taking any other pain medications, especially aspirin or aspirin-related products (See the Preoperative Instruction Sheet for a partial list of aspirin and aspirin-related medications). If you develop any unexplained pain, you should report this to us immediately.

Bruising and Swelling

It is normal that you have moderate bruising and swelling after surgery for the first 2 weeks. You will notice every day that the bruising and swelling are diminishing. However, if you develop any new-onset swelling, especially in the first 2 to 3 days, please let us know immediately.