Breast Reduction Aftercare Instructions?

I was speaking with one of my friends the other day, and she mentioned her breasts being very swollen and sensitive because of a breast reduction she underwent 10 days ago. I wanted to give her advice but then I realize I knew nothing about breast reductions (I know, I'm not a medical professional and I shouldn't give out medical advice but I'm also a good friend!).  Do you think that silicone-based products (e.g. a gel) might be helpful to prevent scarring? I don’t even know if she can use something like this, or if it will even help her much. Her birthday is in 2 weeks, and I was hoping I could give her something useful as a gift. Are there any products that dramatically reduce scars? Because many products claim they'll help but you know… anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. Have any of you used some these products on the market? Are they good? If so, which ones would you recommend? Thank you! 


F, 50, Maryland

It is wonderful that your friend has such a supportive friend! If she is struggling, I would suggest going over the instructions she was sent home with after her procedure with her to help determine what she can and cannot do. Many surgeons will not want you to apply any topical creams or lotions to the incisions for quite some time after the surgery.  

Swelling and bruising are still normal ten days following breast reduction. It can take several months for all of the swellings to diminish, and up to a year for the breasts to settle into their new size and shape. A supportive bra (I used the ones from the hospital for the first several months!) and ice can help ease the pain and swelling, as well as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Be sure your friend is checking her temperature and examining her breasts for any sign of infection that could be causing increased pain and swelling as well. 

Months after my surgery, I found Vitamin E oil to be helpful for my scars, but be sure to wait until her surgeon has approved using anything like that, as it’s important to let the incisions heal into good, strong, scar tissue internally for the long term success of her reduction surgery.

The aftercare instructions will be provided by the surgeon and will include follow-up appointments. If drains are positioned, they will be removed within the first week.

Keep your incisions dry. The surgeon will provide a print out for specific care instructions after the surgery. Avoid the use of creams and lotions on the incisions.

Monitor your temperature regularly, and contact the surgeon if it is elevated. This can indicate an infection. A pain pump may be provided to relieve stiffness, tenderness and pain. Follow the exact pain medication instructions and aftercare instructions for the wounds. Swelling may last up to four months. Rest, increase your fluid intake and follow all aftercare instructions.

After a breast reduction, a woman's breasts are swollen, sensitive and sore. Post-surgical activities must be limited in the hours and days that immediately follow surgery. Within the first two weeks, activities may include walking and gentle movements that are not impactful and that do not involve arm movements. The breast tissue needs time to heal as the swelling and bruising diminish. After two weeks, light aerobic exercise may be added. Full activities are to be resumed gradually over three to four months. Your friend should follow her after-care instructions to ensure proper healing. 

Products for scarring are available and include silicon sheets, cream and gel. Massage techniques may also be suggested by the surgeon but may not be started until the breasts have healed and the majority of the swelling and bruising is gone. I recommend the use of silicon sheets because they are very light and gentle. 

Hi Narcygarl,

I had a breast reduction several months ago and the best thing to help with scarring is Vitamin E oil.  It is safe and gentle and not expensive, I used it and it really helped.  

I did tried SkinMedica and it was fine but I wanted something more natural so for I tried Vitamin E and it ended up working better and I was really happy with the results.

Good luck to your friend!