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Breast Reduction Recovery

Exercising and Working After Breast Reduction


Updated August 05, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, decreases the size of the breasts while maintaining an aesthetically-pleasing shape. After breast reduction, you will want to know what activities are permissible so that you can get the best possible result. Here’s what to expect in terms of activity after breast reduction.

  • Motion will be painful at first. Avoid heavy lifting or pushing anything over five to 10 pounds for the two weeks. Additionally, avoid any motion that puts your arms over your head for the first two weeks after surgery. Wear button-down shirts to avoid this motion.

  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat lightly (bland food initially, then build up to your normal diet).

  • Avoid strenuous and/or high impact exercises that will increase breast motion for four weeks after surgery. You may and should do other forms of exercise. You may wear a support bra for comfort reasons only without an underwire.

  • You may resume driving when you are no longer requiring prescription pain medications and you are pain-free.

  • Expect to take one to two weeks off from work depending on the nature of your job. Your surgeon will guide you as to when it is time for you to go back to work.

  • Follow up with your primary care physician regarding routine breast examinations.

More About Breast Reduction Recovery:
How to Care for Your Breasts
Breast Reduction Pain Management


Breast Reduction Recovery. Accessed May 22, 2011.

Hall-Findlay EJ. Vertical Reduction Mammaplasty. In Thorne CHM, Beasely RW, Aston SJ, Bartlett SP, Gurtner GC, Spear S, eds. Grabb and Smith’s Plastic Surgery, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2007.

Cohen BE, Ciaravino ME. Reduction Mammaplasty. In Evans GRD, ed. Operative Plastic Surgery. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

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