Exceptionally large breasts can cause a variety of problems, both medical and personal. The weight of overly large breasts can cause back, shoulder and neck pain, skin irritation, and even skeletal deformities. Bra straps may leave deep impressions in a woman’s shoulders. Unusually large breasts may also cause a woman or teenage girl to feel uneasy and self-conscious.
Breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty, can help women who are troubled by large breasts. Breast reduction surgery removes glandular tissue, skin, and fat from breasts. It can make them smaller, lighter, and firmer. The goal of breast reduction is to bring a woman’s breasts into better proportion with the rest of her body.
What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is performed to remove excess tissue from the breasts in order to create a more proportionate shape. The removal of tissue decreases the weight of the breasts, and can make a woman more physically comfortable. When we perform breast reduction, we use an anchor-shaped or vertical limited incision that circles the areola. The physician then removes fat, skin, and excess glandular tissue. After moving the nipple to its new position, the plastic surgeon shapes the new contour of the breast by bringing the remaining skin down and around the areola. The doctor may also use liposuction to remove any excess fat that remains under the armpit area.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
Women who are physically or emotionally impacted by the size of their breasts may be good candidates for breast reduction surgery. Some of the complaints that may lead a woman to seek this procedure include:
- Chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back
- Pain and indentations caused by bra straps
- Persistent skin irritation beneath the breasts
- Activity or clothing restrictions due to breast size
- Poor self-image
Breast reduction surgery may be performed at any age, however, many insurance companies require the patient to be 18 years old. Teen patients may choose to have this surgery in order to relieve social pressure as well as physical discomfort. If breast reduction is sought during the teen years, it is best performed once full development has been reached.
The breasts are affected by pregnancy and nursing, so there may be reason to postpone reduction until after such events. However, having breast reduction prior to pregnancy does not necessarily inhibit the ability to breastfeed.
What to Expect During the Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. Patients are asleep and do not feel any pain. Heart rate and other vital signs are monitored throughout the procedure.
- To excise excess tissue, incisions are made around the areola, the dark circle of skin that surrounds the nipple.
- A vertical incision may extend down the center of the breast, meeting a final, horizontal incision along the lower curve. The areola and nipple remain attached to the tissue beneath it in order to retain blood flow.
- In addition to the predetermined breast tissue to be removed, excess skin will be excised, tightening and lifting the breast
What is the Recovery Process?
Common sensations that patients have after breast reduction include:
- Pain. We will provide prescription pain medication
- Numbness around the nipples.
- Itching, as incisions heal.
- A feeling of fullness due to skin tightening
All post-surgical sensations should progressively improve during the first two weeks after surgery.
Stitches are placed under the skin and will dissolve
A compression garment is worn for the first several weeks after breast reduction in order to support recovering tissues and minimize swelling.
Is Breast Reduction Surgery Painful?
Patients are asleep under general anesthesia for the surgery. After anesthesia wears off, you will be given prescription pain medication. Pain for most patients resolves in about a week though for some may last longer.
How long does the Breast Reduction Procedure take?
Breast reduction can take from 2 to 4 hours. The length of the procedure correlates with the size of the breast and the desired amount of reduction. This surgery does not simply remove tissue, it does so in a way that reshapes the breast to look natural in its smaller structure.
Breast Reduction Recovery Time
Arm motion may be slightly limited for a few weeks but leg and abdominal activity and exercise are not affected.
Many patients return to work one to two weeks after breast reduction. More strenuous activities may take longer. Fatigue may occur more easily during recovery
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Schedule a Consultation
Obtain the full details of breast reduction surgery. Schedule your consultation in our Rochester office at (585) 922-5840.