Discharge Instructions for Breast Reduction

You had a procedure called breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty. Breast reduction is a surgical procedure to decrease the size of a woman’s breast. Women choose breast reduction to relieve back pain, to decrease the size of the breasts for appearance, or to balance a difference in breast size.

Home Care

  • Take your medication exactly as directed.

  • Keep an ice pack on your chest to relieve discomfort and to avoid extra swelling. Put the ice pack on for 20 minutes; then leave it off for 20 minutes. Repeat as often as necessary.

  • Wear the special bra or Ace bandage you were given before discharge as directed by your doctor. Expect to wear the bra or wrap 24 hours a day for about 3 to 4 weeks. You may remove it when you shower, starting 3 days after your surgery.

  • Shower as necessary, starting 3 days after surgery. Gently wash your incision site. Pat the incision dry. Don’t apply lotions, oils, or creams.

  • Do not submerge your incision in a tub bath until it is completely closed. Doing so may introduce bacteria and cause an infection.

  • You will have a dressing over your incisions. Be sure to ask your health care provider how to care for your dressing. Your stitches may dissolve on their own. Or, they may be removed at a follow-up appointment. If you have Steri-Strips (small white adhesive strips) at your incision sites, do not remove them. They will come off on their own.

  • Make an appointment to have your stitches or staples removed in 7 to 10 days.


  • Don’t raise your arms above breast level until your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Don’t lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least 5 to 7 days.

  • Sleep on your back. Use pillows to keep the upper part of your body elevated.

  • Don’t drive until your doctor says it’s OK.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing, sudden shortness of breath or gradual shortness of breath that gets worse

  • Bleeding or drainage through the special bra or Ace bandage

  • Pain that is not relieved by medication

  • More soreness, swelling, or bruising on 1 breast than the other

  • Redness in the breasts or warmth to the touch

  • Any rapid swelling in 1 area or breast

  • Sudden chest pain

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or chills

  • Increasing pain with or without activity