How do I prepare for my breast reduction surgery

It is now the countdown to the day of your surgery. You will have been given a set of instructions about who to prepare for your surgery.  Please follow these instructions even if they seem a bit restrictive or silly.

If you smoke then stop smoking two weeks before surgery. Smoking can affect wound healing by depriving the tissues of essential oxygen which will increase the recovery time.

Stop smoking at least two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Your surgeon would prefer you to give up altogether but if this is not realistic then make sure you are not smoking up until the day of your operation. If you are then your surgeon will not perform the surgery.

If you are taking any prescription medicines then check with either your surgeon or GP. They can advise you about what you can or cannot take. Aspirin and anti-inflammatories are banned as are several ‘over the counter’ remedies.

Do not resume taking these until your surgeon tells you it is safe to do so.

Bromelain and Arnica Gel can help to ease any swelling or bruising following surgery. But check with your surgeon first.

As the day of your surgery draws nearer, it is a good idea to make a ‘To Do’ list as there will be numerous things for you to arrange! As well as deciding what you need to take with you on the day of your operation there is also the post-surgery preparation to arrange.

Everyone is different in regards to what they will need to organise at home but here are some useful guidelines:

  • Arrange for your partner or a member of your family to drive you to and from the hospital. You will be disorientated and groggy following the anaesthetic and will not be safe to drive. This will last for around 48 hours and in that time you must avoid driving, operating any machinery or making any important decisions.
    If they are unable to help then ask a close friend to do this.
  • Arrange for someone to come and help you for the first few days following surgery. This means being on hand to help out with the normal everyday jobs and to be there if you need some moral support. Ask your partner to look after your children (if you have a family) and your pet (if appropriate).
    If you do not have partner then ask a family member or friend.
  • You will not be able to do any housework, cooking, shopping or other normal tasks for the first few days. Make sure that these jobs have been done in advance. Go food shopping before your operation and buy in plenty of ready prepared meals, fresh fruit and vegetables, bottled water and snacks.
    Another option is to cook several meals which will last you for a few days and freeze them. Or ask your partner to do the cooking!
  • Make sure you have enough medicines, bandages/dressings, antibacterial soap, ice packs and scar reducing creams. If your surgeon agrees to you using Arnica Gel and Bromelain then purchase these beforehand.
  • As regards your diet; you will need plenty of vitamins and minerals, and protein to help the healing process. Buy foods which are high in these.
  • Draw up a list of your medications and note down when you need to take them and how often. Write these instructions on each medicine container. You will be very tired and ‘woozy’ during this time and it is easy to forget when to take your medication.
  • Have in a good supply of magazines, books, DVD’s etc. You will have to have plenty of rest when you get home and so spend this time watching television or reading. Listening to music can also help.
  • Have a small table close to hand with a decent night light, light snacks such as crackers, the TV remote control (this is important), a small bottle of water, your medications and your phone.
  • Place any item that you use on a daily basis at eye level. This means bathroom toiletries and kitchen utensils, tins, bottles etc. You do not want to be reaching over or bending down for things. Have these things at hip or eye level.
  • Make sure you have some nice, soft pillows and a few extra blankets within reach. It is not uncommon to feel cold after surgery. You will also be tired and ‘under the weather’ and it is a good idea to wrap yourself in a blanket or a duvet during this time.
  • Wear something loose and comfortable. A dressing gown and slippers with a non-slip sole are ideal. If you feel well enough to get dressed then wear a loose top and baggy sweatpants or jogging bottoms.
  • If you have any events, family occasions etc arranged at this time then reschedule them.

If you drink alcohol then have your last drink a week before surgery.

The day before your surgery is when you can do a last minute check on what to bring with you to hospital. Pack a small case or bag with the following items:

  • Shower cap, toothbrush and toothpaste and toiletries.
  • Nightwear, a comfy dressing gown and easy to pull on slippers.
  • A sleep mask. This is handy to pull over your eyes when you want to sleep during the day.
  • Hairbrush, comb and other hair items.
  • Lip balm, tissues and body lotion/massage oil.
  • A couple of good books and/or magazines.
  • Glasses case if you wear spectacles. If you wear contact lenses then bring your solutions and containers; or if you have daily disposables, then enough pairs to last you whilst you are in hospital.
  • Do not wear contact lenses or make up on the day of surgery.
  • You might want to pack an MP3 player or an iPod. This is nice and easy to listen to when you don’t feel up to reading or watching television.
  • Essential medications (check with your surgeon first)

Have your last meal no later than midnight. The rules are no eating or drinking six hours before surgery.

Breast Reduction Surgery Guide Index:

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