Preparing for your breast reduction surgery is important, but so is preparing for your recovery period. You want your healing to go well, while being comfortable and excited about your results. So here is our list of essential items and preparations you need to make for your recovery period.
1: Ask Your Surgeon About Post-Operative Guidelines
The first thing you should ask is your surgeon is what you should do during recovery. The recovery period and requirements are unique to each person. You need to know how to manage your recovery. Your time frames for healing and returning to work and exercise are different from other patients. So having guidelines from your surgeon are important! Dr Drielsma will explain post-operative recovery carefully and provide you with detailed instructions.
2: Triangular Wedge Pillow
After surgery, you will need to sleep on your back for around two weeks. For those who prefer to sleep on their side, this can be frustrating and difficult. A triangular wedge pillow is both comfortable and will keep you propped up in bed. These pillows are also wide enough to stop you turning over in your sleep, protecting your surgical sites.
3: Easy to Remove Clothing
During your recovery period, you will need clothing that is easy to put on and remove. Dr Drielsma fits his patients with special bras that have front eyelet releases to wear for around 4 weeks. Button front tops and shirts, zip front clothing, and loose-fitting garments are also good options to have ready to use during this period. You need something that is comfortable to rest in and easy to dress and undress yourself, particularly if you don’t have someone staying with you.
4: A Good Water Bottle
Staying hydrated while healing is extremely important. Drinking plenty of water helps your skin stay healthy and regenerate, which is important during healing. And during the recovery period, you might not feel like getting up and down to get glasses of water. A water bottle is easy to carry around with you, or keep next to you while resting. You can also infuse fruits into your water bottle, to make it more enjoyable. And, remember, that coffee, tea and soft drinks are not acceptable replacements for water.
5: Healthy Foods and Diet
A healthy diet is good for the body and promotes healing. It is important to focus on what you’re eating during recovery and ensuring that it is optimal for healing. Avoid fast food, take out, and sugary foods and drinks. Focus, instead, on a healthy fruits, vegetables and proteins. Avoid foods and drinks containing alcohol, caffeine, and other intoxicating substances. You will also need to stop smoking before and after surgery, and it is highly recommended you do not smoke again, even after your recovery period. Smoking damages the skin and body, making it harder to heal and get good results from your breast reduction procedure. Adopting healthy habits will not only help you during recovery, but also improve your well being long after surgery.
6: Time off Work
It is important to ensure you take adequate time off work. Your surgeon will advise you on the exact amount of time you will need to recover, but in general, you need at least 2-3 weeks off work. If you have a job that requires a lot of lifting or heavy labour, you may need more time off work. You will also need to spend one night in hospital after your surgery and following discharge keep your dressings on your breasts dry and intact for a week. Dr Drielsma will clearly advise you on these aspects as well.
7: A Friend or Family Member
Having someone to help you during your recovery is also very important. At least for the first few days you will need someone to stay with you and help you with day-to-day tasks. This includes reaching for things and lifting. If you have children or pets, you will need help with them as you should not be bending or lifting until your surgeon allows it. You will also need help driving to and from appointments, shopping, and anything that requires physical exertion. If you do not have a partner, you will need to ask a friend or family member for help until you and your surgeon deem it safe.
8: Scar and Pain Management
Managing your pain and scar healing during recovery helps ensure a successful result. It also helps you have a comfortable recovery period. Dr Drielsma and his anaesthetist will provide you with advanced pain management strategies which you will be advised to follow. If you have any concerns, Dr Drielsma’s team will be able to advise you as needed. Further, you will also be given scar management treatments, and recommendations for treatments to improve the appearance of post-op scarring.
You will also be advised you as to when you can engage in light walking and activities, as well as when strenuous and normal activity can be started. Generally speaking, Dr Drielsma will advise you against return to the gym and strenuous activity till the 6 week mark in order for you to have a healthy and comfortable recovery.
Did you enjoy our blog about things you need after breast reduction surgery? Are you researching breast reduction? Contact us today to book your first consultation with Dr Drielsma. We are excited to help you!