What is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure to reduce the size of your breast to bring them into better proportion with the rest of your body frame. Abnormally large breasts (macromastia) may cause back pain and discomfort for the individual and prevent them from physical activity and breast reduction is an intervention to alleviate their discomfort. However, you may want to reduce the size of your breasts for purely aesthetic reasons and to improve your self-image. The procedure removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin. It may be combined with breast lift surgery.
Who is a good candidate?
• You experience neck, back, or shoulder pain due to the weight of your breasts
• Your breast have been fully developed
• Your breasts are visibly asymmetrical
• You are self-conscious about the large appearance of your breasts
• Your breast size limits your physical activity
• You are otherwise healthy and do not have a serious illness or medical condition that may impair the healing
• You are a Non-smoker or can abstain from smoking for at least three weeks before and after the surgery
• You have a positive outlook, with a clear and realistic vision of what you want the procedure do for you
There are three common incision patterns that are used in breast reduction procedure. Which of these incisions is used for you depends on the degree of correction needed for you.
The traditional method requires three incisions: Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease. This pattern is used when there is a significant degree of tissue that needs to be removed from your breasts.
A vertical incision is used when there is a moderate degree of reduction needed for your breasts. The incisions, in this case, will be around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease. If the degree of reduction is minimal your surgeon may place your incision only around the areola.
Extra skin and fat tissue are removed through the incisions.
In all three methods, the nipple and areola which are still attached to their original blood and nerve supply are shifted to a higher position and the underlying tissue is lifted to produce a more youthful contour. If the areola is relatively large and stretched it will be adjusted to a more balanced size. For a better contour, your surgeon may use liposuction to remove some of the fat closer to the armpits.
Next, the incisions are closed and are sutured deep into the underlying tissues to support the new shape of the breasts.
The surgery takes about 2 to 3 hours and is usually done under general anesthesia. However, it can also be performed under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia at your surgeon’s discretion.
After the surgery drainage tubes may be placed on your incisions. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze bandage and you will be asked to wear a compress garment bra for support. The wound dressing can be removed by the end of the first week after the surgery. You will experience some pain, however, the pain is manageable by prescription painkillers.
Within 3-7 days after your surgery, you will be able to take shower and you may return to work after the first week. You should limit your movement for the first week, never the less you need to walk every few hours to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 4-6 weeks after the surgery.
Over time the incision lines will fade. The final appearance of the scars, however, is dependent on many factors including your age, genetics, exposure to nicotine, etc.
Like any other surgical procedure, though infrequent, complications may occur and they include Fluid retention or excessive loss of blood and fluids, infection, reaction to anesthesia medications, pigmentation changes (hypo/hyper), skin numbness – this is to be expected and is usually only temporary.
Some potential complications specific to breast reduction include:
• Temporary or permanent changes in nipple or breast sensation
• Breast contour and shape irregularities
• Breast asymmetry
• Unfavorable scarring with keloid formations