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When Can I Sleep On My Side After Breast Reduction Surgery?

By: Dr. Rolando Morales


When it comes to all that goes into breast reduction surgery and recovery, your sleeping position may seem like a small detail. For many women, however, this is one of the first topics they want to discuss prior to their procedure and can even be a source of anxiety for those who strongly prefer front- or side-sleeping. Fortunately, most patients adjust well to their prescribed sleeping position after a breast reduction, and— more importantly — it is only temporary. Here, Houston, TX board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rolando Morales and the caring team at Morales Plastic Surgery provide helpful information about what to expect after breast reduction surgery, including how long you may need to adjust your sleeping position and why.

What happens during breast reduction surgery?

To better understand why you may need to modify your sleeping position after a breast reduction, it's helpful to know how the procedure is performed. During breast reduction surgery, Dr. Morales will make an incision (or a series of incisions) on the breasts, through which he can excise excess breast tissue, trim away extra skin, reposition the nipple-areola complex, and lift and reshape the breast. The incisions are then closed with sutures, and drains may be placed if appropriate. Patients are then placed in a specialized medical-grade bra for support and compression, which aids in the healing and recovery processes. Through breast reduction surgery, patients can find relief from a range of unwanted symptoms associated with overly large or heavy breasts, including:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Poor posture
  • Rash, chafing, and skin irritation in the breast crease
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling in the arms and hands
  • Deep depressions from bra straps
  • Discomfort with exercise and physical activity
  • Difficulty finding clothing that fits comfortably
  • Self-consciousness about size or proportion of breasts

How should you sleep after breast reduction surgery?

During breast reduction recovery, patients should plan to sleep on their back with their upper body slightly elevated. This can be accomplished with something as simple as an extra pillow, but an adjustable bed or recliner can certainly be used as well. This modified sleeping position is important for helping to reduce swelling, optimize healing, and prevent pressure or tension on the healing tissues and incisions that could potentially delay your recovery.

How long do I have to sleep on my back after a breast reduction?

Each patient's breast reduction recovery timeline will vary somewhat based on their individual surgical details, their body's healing response, and other factors. On average, patients are typically encouraged to continue sleeping on their back with their upper body elevated for about 4 – 6 weeks after a breast reduction — or until cleared by Dr. Morales during a postoperative follow-up appointment. Dr. Morales understands the desire to return to your favorite sleeping position and will work with you to ensure you are able to do so as soon as it is safely possible.

Say goodbye to the pain of heavy breasts and hello to a whole new you with breast reduction surgery in Houston, TX

Breast reduction surgery can be one of the most transformative and life-changing procedures for women who are struggling with the physical and emotional consequences of having overly large or heavy breasts. Don't let your large breasts weigh you down any longer. Call Morales Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX today to schedule your private consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rolando Morales and take the first step toward changing your life for the better.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.