Tips to Minimise Bruising and Swelling Post Breast Reduction

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of overly large breasts. This operation can provide relief from physical discomfort and enhance body proportions. However, as with many surgical interventions, breast reduction is often associated with swelling and bruising during the recovery period. Over time, with proper care and attention, swelling and will subside and scarring will fade significantly.

Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim is experienced in performing face, breast, and body procedures. Dedicated to achieving the desired outcome, Dr Lim is recognised for his patient-centered approach.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Breast Reduction Guide

Breast Reduction Guide

Why Bruising Occurs After Surgery

Incisions and Tissue Manipulation

Breast reduction surgery involves making incisions and manipulating the breast tissues to achieve the desired size and shape. During this process, it’s not uncommon for small blood vessels, especially capillaries, to be damaged or broken. When these vessels are disrupted, blood can leak into the surrounding tissues, manifesting as a bruise on the skin’s surface.

Factors Influencing Bruising

The degree and appearance of bruising post-surgery can differ greatly among patients. Several factors play a role in this variation:

  • Skin Type: Some individuals naturally bruise more easily than others. Those with fair or thin skin might notice more pronounced or widespread bruising compared to those with thicker or darker skin.
  • Age: As we age, our skin becomes thinner and loses some of its elasticity. This can make older individuals more susceptible to bruising after surgical procedures.
  • Surgical Technique: The method and approach used by your plastic surgeon can also influence the extent of bruising. Some techniques might be less invasive or cause less tissue disruption, leading to reduced bruising. It’s essential to discuss the expected outcomes, including potential bruising with Dr Lim before the procedure.
  • Individual Healing Response: Everyone’s body reacts and heals differently. Some people might experience minimal bruising that fades quickly, while others might see more extensive bruising that takes longer to diminish.

How Long Does Bruising and Swelling Last After Surgery?

The complete resolution of bruising can take anywhere from two to four weeks and sometimes longer. Some minor, residual swelling might persist beyond this period, but it’s generally subtle and may only be noticeable to the patient. It can take several months to a year for all the swelling to fully subside, especially in procedures that involve deeper tissues or larger surgical sites.

Several factors can influence the duration and severity of bruising and swelling:

  • The Extent of the Surgery: More extensive surgeries or those that involve significant tissue manipulation can result in increased bruising and swelling.
  • Individual Factors: Every individual heals differently. Factors such as age, overall health, skin type, and even genetics can play a role in how quickly one recovers.
  • Post-operative Care: Following Dr Lim’s post-operative care instructions, including the use of compression garments, cold compresses, and keeping the surgical area elevated, can help reduce the duration and intensity of bruising and swelling.
  • Medications and Supplements: Some medications and supplements can increase the risk of bruising. It’s essential to discuss any medications you’re taking with Dr Lim before the procedure.

Efficient Methods to Reduce Bruising after Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery offers numerous benefits, from alleviating physical discomfort of neck, back, and shoulder pain, to delivering a more proportionate overall appearance. However, like any surgical procedure, it can lead to temporary side effects such as bruising and swelling. Here are some effective strategies to manage and minimise these post-operative symptoms:

Utilise a Supportive Compression Bra

  • A compression bra without wire is specially designed to offer support to the breasts after surgery
  • It helps in reducing swelling by providing consistent pressure, which can prevent fluid accumulation in the surgical area
  • The consistent support also aids in tissue healing and shaping the breasts as they heal
  • It’s recommended to wear the compression bra continuously, even during sleep, for at least 3 months post-surgery
  • Dr Lim can guide you on the best type of compression bra suitable for your needs

Engage in Mild Physical Movement

  • While rest is essential after surgery, a bit of light activity can be beneficial for recovery
  • Gentle movements, like walking around the house, can be initiated a few days post-surgery
  • These movements promote blood circulation, which can help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots
  • However, it’s essential to avoid strenuous activities, especially those high-intensity activities that involve lifting the arms or heavy lifting
  • Always consult Dr Lim about when and how to reintroduce physical activity into your routine

Monitor Your Nutritional Intake

  • Nutrition plays a vital role in the body’s healing process
  • Consuming a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and carbohydrates can aid in faster recovery
  • Home-cooked meals are preferable, and it’s wise to limit salt intake as excessive salt can lead to fluid retention, exacerbating swelling

Apply Cold Compresses

  • Cold compresses can be highly effective in reducing both swelling and bruising
  • They work by constricting blood vessels, reducing blood flow and fluid accumulation in the affected area
  • For the first three days after surgery, apply wrapped ice packs to the breasts
  • Ensure the ice is wrapped in a cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin and potential ice burns
  • It’s recommended to apply the cold compress several times a day, in intervals, for optimal results

Stay Well-Hydrated

  • Drinking ample water post-surgery can assist in flushing out toxins and reducing swelling
  • A well-hydrated body also promotes better blood circulation, which is beneficial for the healing process
  • While hydration is key, it’s also advised to limit the intake of caffeinated beverages as they can lead to dehydration

Maintain the Right Sleeping Posture

  • Post-surgery, the position in which you sleep can significantly impact your recovery
  • It’s best to sleep on your back with your upper body slightly elevated
  • Using a recliner or stacking pillows under your head can help achieve this position
  • This posture ensures there’s no unnecessary pressure on the surgical sites and aids in reducing swelling

Prescribed Drugs

  • Post-operative pain, discomfort, and swelling can be managed effectively with the right medication
  • Dr Lim will prescribe specific medications to assist with these symptoms
  • It’s essential to take these medications as directed and on time for optimal comfort and healing
  • Always consult with Dr Lim before taking any over-the-counter drugs or supplements during the recovery period
Breast Reduction Patient 20 — Front View
Breast Reduction Patient 20 — Front View

Things to Avoid after Breast Reduction Surgery to Reduce Bruising

  • After undergoing breast reduction surgery, it’s essential to be aware of not just the recommended practices but also the activities and habits you should avoid. Steering clear of certain actions can significantly enhance your recovery process, ensuring it’s smooth and free from complications
  • Engaging in strenuous physical activity soon after surgery can be detrimental. While light movement can be beneficial, heavy lifting or high-intensity workouts can strain your surgical sites, leading to complications or prolonged healing. It’s always best to consult your plastic surgeon about when it’s safe to resume your regular exercise routine
  • Fresh surgical scars are particularly sensitive to the sun. Prolonged exposure can darken the scars, making them more noticeable. If you find yourself outdoors, it’s wise to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen to any exposed areas
  • Smoking or vaping is another habit to avoid. It restricts blood flow, hindering the healing process, and increases the risk of post-surgical complications. Ideally, you should quit smoking several weeks before the surgery and maintain this throughout your recovery. Similarly, alcohol can thin the blood, raising the risk of bleeding and potentially interfering with prescribed medications. It’s advisable to limit or entirely avoid alcohol consumption in the weeks following your surgery
  • While it might be tempting to return to wearing your regular bras, underwired ones can irritate the incision sites. It’s best to stick to the compression bra or other recommended supportive wear until Dr Lim gives you the go-ahead
  • Taking unprescribed medications can be risky. Some over-the-counter drugs might interfere with healing or increase bleeding risks. Always check with Dr Lim before introducing any medications not part of your post-operative care
  • Hot baths or saunas can be inviting, but excessive heat can exacerbate swelling. It’s recommended to stick to lukewarm showers and avoid submerging your surgical sites in water, such as in baths or swimming pools, until you’re fully healed. Lastly, while scars might itch as they heal, resist the urge to scratch. If the itching becomes too bothersome, consult Dr Lim about potential remedies

FAQs about Methods to Reduce Bruising after Breast Reduction


What causes bruising and swelling after surgical procedures?

  • Bruising occurs when blood vessels, especially capillaries, are damaged during surgery, leading to blood leaking into surrounding tissues. Swelling is a result of the body’s natural response to trauma, causing a buildup of fluid in the surgical area.

Is there a way to reduce the severity of bruising and swelling post-surgery?

  • Yes, following post-operative care instructions, such as using cold compresses, wearing compression garments, and keeping the surgical area elevated, can help manage and reduce these symptoms. Additionally, avoiding certain medications and supplements that can increase the risk of bruising is recommended.

How long should I expect the bruising and swelling to last?

  • While most noticeable bruising and swelling will diminish within the first two weeks post-surgery, complete resolution of bruising can take two to four weeks or more. Some minor swelling might persist for several months up to a year, especially for surgeries involving deeper tissues.

Are there any signs of bruising after Breast Reduction that should concern me?

  • While some bruising and swelling are expected, if you notice extensive areas of deep purple or black bruising, increased pain, or if the swelling becomes hot to touch and red, you must consult your plastic surgeon or healthcare provider immediately.

Can my diet or lifestyle choices impact the healing process?

  • A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can aid in faster recovery. Staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and engaging in light activities as recommended can also positively impact the healing process.

Further Reading about Breast Reduction Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Reducing Bruising after Breast Reduction

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About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.

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