Breast reduction reduces and reshapes large, pendulous breasts for greater comfort and a more proportionate body contour.
- Downtime: 1-2 weeks
- Pain Level: Moderate
- Results Duration: Very Long Lasting
Heavy, disproportionately large breasts
Swelling, bruising, and general soreness after surgery
Designed to reduce breast size
Follow-up visits are scheduled to monitor recovery process
Excess skin and breast tissue are surgically excised
Usually performed under general anesthesia
Smaller, shapelier, more proportionate breasts
Results are evident once breasts heal fully
Large, pendulous breasts may cause a woman to potentially experience various medical problems caused by the excessive weight of the breast tissue. Many women, especially teenage girls, are also very self-conscious because of their unusually large breasts.
Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) removes fat, glandular tissue, and excessive skin, resulting in smaller, lighter, and firmer breasts that are better-shaped in proportion to the rest of the body. This plastic surgery procedure offers immediate, long-lasting results, significantly improving a woman’s self-confidence and physical comfort in many cases.
How is Breast Reduction Performed?
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes 2-4 hours to complete. During the procedure, an anchor-shaped incision is made from the nipple to the base of the breast and around the breast crease. Your surgeon will remove excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, relocates the nipple and areola, and reshapes the breast using skin from around the areola before closing the incisions with stitches. Liposuction may be needed to remove excess fat from the armpit area as well. In cases where only fat needs to be removed from the breasts, liposuction alone can be used for breast reduction.
Who is a Candidate for Breast Reduction
Breast reduction might be the right choice for you if you suffer from any of the following symptoms:
- Problems with posture
- Skeletal deformities
- Back and neck pain
- Skin irritation
- Breathing problems
- Indentations on the shoulders from bra straps
- Low self-esteem due to disproportionately large breasts
Breast reduction surgery is not recommended for women who intend to breast-feed since many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed.
How Long is the Recovery Time After Treatment?
For a few days after surgery, the breasts are bound with an elastic bandage or a surgical bra and you may be given surgical drainage tubes for fluid removal. Stitches come out in a week and the surgical bra must be worn for about a month.
A little pain is normal after surgery, whether it’s mild discomfort, swelling during menstruation, a measure of numbness or sensitivity, or random, shooting pains that may last for a few months. Swelling, bruising, crusting, and slight changes in breast size are also common. Most patients return to work in about two weeks, although you should avoid heavy lifting for three to four weeks, and only gentle contact with the breasts should occur for six weeks.
When Will I See Results?
You will see the results of your breast reduction right away and the outcome will continue to improve as swelling subsides and the breasts heal. The improvement in breast size will be permanent. Scars fade with time but will not disappear, although they can be hidden with a bra, bathing suit, or low-cut top.
Questions and Answers
Q: Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Breast Reduction Surgery?
A: If your large breasts are causing physical symptoms like chronic pain or back issues, you may qualify for insurance coverage for your breast reduction. It is important to contact your insurance provider to see what the criteria are and what steps you might need to follow to be covered for your procedure. If you are pursuing breast reduction for purely cosmetic reasons, coverage is not likely.
Q: What Size Will My Breasts Be After Surgery?
A: The size of your breasts will depend on how much excess breast tissue you have and the size you hope to achieve after your procedure. Your surgeon will take plenty of time to discuss your goals with you to ensure your breast reduction meets your expectations as closely as possible.
Q: Will I Be Asleep During My Surgery?
A: Yes. Breast reduction is performed using general anesthesia. You will be comfortably asleep during your procedure and you won’t remember anything about it afterward.
Q: Will I Have Scars After Breast Reduction Surgery?
A: If your breast reduction is performed via liposuction, visible scarring after the procedure will be minimal. If the breast tissue is surgically excised, as it is in most breast reduction procedures, there will be scarring afterward. Your surgeon will make every effort to keep scarring as inconspicuous as possible. Most women discover that a scar after surgery is a small price to pay for the increased comfort and self-confidence they gain from this procedure.
Q: Can I Get Breast Reduction If I Plan to Get Pregnant in the Future?
A: Some women do choose to have breast reduction before pregnancy if their breasts are causing significant physical symptoms. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to nurse after your procedure, since this surgery affects both the nipple and the milk ducts. Your surgeon will discuss your options at your initial assessment to determine whether it is better to move forward with the surgery or wait until your family plans are complete.
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