Post Operative Swelling

The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens.

Post Operative Swelling

Swelling is a common complaint after breast reduction surgery.  For the most part, it is unavoidable.  

Remember that your body has been through major trauma with this surgery.  While you see it as a major improvement, your body is screaming "invasion"!  

This is yet another reason to maintain adequate hydration before and after your surgery.  Water is needed by every cell in the body, and when your body is dehydrated, it retains water. Water retention can add to your swelling discomfort.  So please, remember to drink at least eight - 8 ounce glasses of water a day.

Excessive activity after your surgery also aggravates swelling.  By being active and trying to resume a "normal" lifestyle too soon after surgery, you rob your body of the energy it needs to heal.  This almost always leads to increased and painful swelling.

Please talk to your plastic surgeon about what he or she recommends for your swelling.  You can also print out this list and ask if you can try any of these things.

Swelling Indicators

Many people are unsure if they still have swelling. There are a few tell tale signs that may indicate this to you.

One way to tell is how your nipples appear in relation to your breasts overall. Breasts that still have swelling often have nipples that appear either cross eyed or lazy (pointing outward). This can signify swelling on the outside of the breasts, or inside (cleavage area) of the breasts respectively.

Another indicator is when a seam on your bra leaves a far deeper marks than just 'sheet marks' from simply wearing them. These deeper marks take a lot longer to vanish. Typically, sheet marks will vanish with a shower. Swelling marks (from a bra) often will not vanish during a shower. They can last quite a while - such as up to an hour or so.

*  Annette's lemon tea.  This tea has been raved about from one end of BreastHealthOnline to the other!  Additionally, some plastic surgeons have liked it so well they are now recommending it to their patients.

Drink one or two cups of this tea before bed at night and you will see a marked improvement in your swelling in the morning. It is especially helpful to tender breasts during your first post op menstruation.

To make lemon tea you will need:

One whole fresh lemon (not bottled (Not ReaLemon) or in the lemon shaped containers, but Minute Maid frozen is great)
One cup of hot/boiling water
Sugar/honey/molasses to taste (no artificial sweeteners)

Using firm pressure, roll the lemon on a table or counter
Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the all the juice
Mix juice and one cup of hot water
Sweeten to taste

1-2 cups a day are sufficient. It can be made cold (Lemonade) if you prefer.  Be warned though, lemon juice is highly acidic so don't brush your teeth right after drinking this, it softens the enamel. Drink it with a straw, avoiding your teeth and rinse your mouth with clean water after consumption. Let your teeth recalcify for a few hours before brushing. By doing all of the above you won't damage your enamel and can drink lemon tea for years!

*  Drink Water.  Increase your intake of water.  Add some lemon or lime if you don't like the taste of plain water.  Either way, it's very important that you remain hydrated.

*  Rest.  When people report increased swelling it is usually because they have started to do too much.  Sit down and take inventory.  99.5% of what you are doing can wait.  While a messy house may be frustrating to you, it would be more frustrating if you ended up in the hospital because of internal damage.

 Things can wait until you are up and around again.  We can't say it often enough: Rest, rest, and rest some more.

*  Warm Moist Packs.  
Used for Mondor's Cord only

Easy warm pack instructions:

Two thick hand towels
Microwave safe platter

Wet towel with water so it's wet but not dripping.  Place wet towel on the platter and heat in microwave until very warm.  Wrap wet towel with dry towel and place on swollen area.

You can also find microwavable hot packs in the store that do the same thing.  Most of those are filled with a sort of bird seed like filling.

Again, please check with your plastic surgeon before trying any of these suggestions.  Some surgeons do not want their patients using ice or heat as it can cause serious blood flow problems and compromise your nipple health. You must follow their instructions. The swelling is rough, but we all have to go though it to some degree.  Just hang in there, and it will be better before you know it.  Soon, you won't remember what it was like to have swelling.

  • Saturday, 05 May 2012