Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)
Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure
designed to remove fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them
smaller, lighter, and firmer. This procedure can also reduce the size of the
areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
with extremely large, pendulous breasts experience a wide array
of medical problems including, but are not limited to, back and
neck pain; skin irritation; physical deformities; and breathing
problems. Once breasts are fully developed (usually at age 18),
women may elect to have this procedure to alleviate the serious
physical discomfort having extremely large breasts create.
(enlargement of the male breast) is not an uncommon condition,
affecting as many as 40 percent of men. This condition may affect
either one or both breasts. The majority of the cases have no
known cause while the others might be related to the use of certain
drugs and or medical conditions.
goal of breast reduction is to create smaller, better-shaped
breasts in proportion with the rest of the body.
is breast reduction surgery performed?
surgeon will make the first incision around the dark pigmented
area around the nipple (areola) so that it can be repositioned
to a higher location. The nipple itself is not removed, however.
Then, a second incision is made horizontally in the crease line
under the breast. The third incision will go vertically from
the nipple to the crease line. Excess fatty tissue will be removed
and skin will be trimmed away to reduce, tighten, and reshape
the breasts. Finally, the incisions are closed with small sutures
(stitches). Bandages are applied to the breasts and you will
be placed in a surgical bra for support.
long does breast reduction surgery take?
reduction surgery generally takes about one to three hours per
breast, depending on extent of the repair and the techniques
type of anesthesia is used?
reduction is most often performed under general anesthesia, causing
you to be asleep during the whole procedure.
is the procedure performed?
breast reduction surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures,
allowing you to go home within hours of the operation. However,
if an extremely large amount of breast tissue will be removed,
the doctor may want you to stay overnight in the hospital where
medical personnel can monitor your initial recovery.
can I return home and resume normal activities?
breast reduction is done on an ambulatory basis but in some cases
may require an overnight stay. However, it is necessary that
you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you
home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
women return to their usual activities in one week. However,
you must not lift anything for the first two weeks and do no
heavy lifting for the first four weeks. Avoid raising your arms
above your head for at least two weeks.
do I prepare for breast reduction surgery?
your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes
that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance
of your breasts is a matter of personal perception and preference,
you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon
can determine the appropriate alternatives. Your surgeon will
explain how your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and
the condition of your skin may affect the results of this procedure.
You also should make arrangements ahead of time for someone to
drive you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your
daily activities during your recovery period.
to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete
health history and physical. This will include examining and
measuring your breasts, as well as photographing them as a frame
of reference during the surgery and afterwards. Your surgeon
may also require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray). Knowledge
of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries should
be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time. Specific
instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will
be given to you after the health history and physical is complete.
Depending on your individual health status, the instructions
may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking
and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will
be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's
precautions are necessary during recovery?
is important to wear your surgical bra for seven to ten days
after your procedure. At approximately the fifth postoperative
day, your bandages will be removed. Your surgeon may recommend
a particular style of bra be worn for the two to three weeks
following the wearing of the surgical bra. Your stitches will
be removed in stages during the second week after your procedure.
It takes six-eight weeks after your procedure for your breasts
to obtain their final shape. At first, they may be somewhat bruised
and swollen; but gradually the swelling will decrease and your
supportive bra will help shape the breasts. Additionally, you
will receive specific instructions to follow during your recovery
including rest and sleeping positions, bathing and showering
techniques, and caring for your incision area.
are the possible complications after breast reduction surgery?
scars in breast reduction procedures are placed in natural skin
demarcation lines around the areola, down the breast, and across
the bottom of the breast. In most women, the scars from the incisions
will be pink for about six months and gradually fade thereafter.
It is important to know that all scars are permanent and their
height, width and final color are never completely predictable.
with any surgical procedure, small nerves to the skin are interrupted
during surgery. Portions of the nipple area may feel numb or
have less than full feeling. Sensitivity returns over several
weeks, but some diminished feeling may last indefinitely. This
does not usually interfere with erotic sensation and many women
even report an increased erotic sensitivity with their new breasts.
procedure is without risks; however, the majority of complications
known to be associated with a breast reduction are minor when
the procedure is performed by an experienced board certified
plastic surgeon. It is always important to be informed about
the possible complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss
any concerns you may have with your surgeon.
results can I expect after breast reduction surgery?
your procedure, you will experience some discomfort for a few
hours when the anesthesia wears off. Your surgeon will give you
medication to relieve any distress. Most women require very little
pain medication after the first 24 hours.
note that the loss of elasticity that caused the original sagging
of the breast can recur. Occasionally women lose part of their
improvement over variable periods of time. Rarely, a woman will
request another procedure to reduce the breasts again; or perhaps
request a breast lift to correct undue sagging. The vast majorities
of women maintain their results and do not require any other
women report that the results from breast reduction are so favorable
that concern about scars is minimal. Your breasts may not attain
their final shape for up to ten weeks. Be sure to address any
questions or concerns to your surgeon immediately. Your health
and happiness are the most important considerations any time.