Also known as reduction mammaplasty, a breast reduction is performed in order to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with a patient’s body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.
A breast reduction may be performed at any age, but physicians normally recommend waiting until breast development is complete. Childbirth and breast-feeding could potentially have significant effects on the size and shape of breasts. Nevertheless, many women decide to undergo breast reduction before having children and feel that they can address any subsequent changes later. It is extremely important to discuss this scenario with your plastic surgeon if you plan to have children in the future. During your initial consultation you will have to be prepared to communicate your needs clearly to your physician. Be candid when describing your desired breast size and any other aspects of your breasts that you would like to improve – this way your surgeon will understand your expectations and will be able to accurately determine if they could be achieved in a realistic way. He/She will then also have the necessary information to assess breast reduction risks as they may apply to you.
Good candidates for breast reduction normally complain of one or more of the following conditions:
- Breasts that are disproportionately large in relation to their body shape
- A visible disparity between the sizes of their breasts
- Unusually heavy, pendulous breasts with nipples and areolas that face down
- Back, neck of shoulder discomfort due to the weight of their breasts
- Discomfort due to tight bra straps
- Skin irritation in the crease beneath the breasts
- An inability to participate in certain physical activities due to the size and weight of their breasts
- Extreme self-consciousness related to the size of their breasts
There are a number of breast reduction techniques and the one eventually used in surgery is determined by a number of individual factors, as well as the patient’s personal preferences.
The method most commonly used involves three incisions. One runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola; one is made around the areola and the third follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. The surgeon then proceeds to remove excess tissue, skin and fat, after which the nipple and areola are shifted to an elevated position. A section of skin that was previously located above the nipple is then brought down and together in order to reshape the breast. In most cases the nipples and areolas remain attached to the underlying tissue to allow for the preservation of sensation. In extreme cases patients’ may want to consider liposuction to improve the contour under the arm.
In the days after surgery patients can expect their breasts to be swollen, bruised and sore. Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. Surgical drains are normally removed a day or two after surgery at which point dressings are also changed or removed. Stitches are removed in stages, beginning at about one week subsequent to surgery. For further information, contact us today to begin your journey towards a better you.
There may initially be a lack of sensation in the nipple and areola areas, however this is normally temporary. It could take several weeks, months or even a year before everything is completely back to normal. Breast reduction recovery time varies, but patients can generally expect to return to normal physical activity within a few weeks.