Having large breasts can cause significant health problems for many women. Improvement and resolution of the recurrent problems associated with large breasts including back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain due to grooving from bra straps, skin rashes under the breast, skeletal deformity, and breathing difficulty are well documented after breast reduction. Significant improvement in daily activity of living is also noted. Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, reduces the breast size and lifts the breast to a better position that better fits your body anatomy. (See pre-op and post-op photos of breast reduction surgery.)
what is breast reduction surgery?
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient surgery. Excess breast tissue is removed and sent to pathology. The breast and nipple areolar complex are lifted. The areolar is reduced because they are large. The scar is similar in shape to an anchor that goes around the areolar with a vertical line from the areolar to the breast crease and a line in the breast crease. The trade off is a long scar for a much more lifted and youthful smaller breasts that fit your frame and improve your symptoms. A drain is placed in each breast to remove fluid build up after surgery.
Can breast reduction be combined with other surgery?
Breast reduction can be combined with other surgeries. Some of the surgeries done concurrently include liposuction, arm lift, abdominoplasty and more. A surgical plan will be customized to your specific need after evaluation.
What is the recovery?
Patients go home on the same day after surgery. Walking is encouraged. Bruising will resolve in about 2 weeks but swelling will take about 6 weeks. Strenuous activity is not recommended for 6 weeks. A soft elastic bra should be worn at all times for the first six weeks. Underwired bras can be worn after 6 weeks. Patients are back to normal daily activities in about 1 week. The drains are usually removed in 1-2 weeks.
Who are the ideal candidates?
Ideal candidates are non-smoker, healthy individuals who have maintained an active lifestyle with stable weight. If you do smoke/vape or use any nicotine product, you need to stop using for at least 2-3 months prior to surgery and remain nicotine free for 3 months after surgery to optimize healing. Otherwise, your risk of skin and tissue necrosis and open wound is extremely high that surgery should not be pursued.
What are the complications?
As with any surgery, there is risk of bleeding, infection, hematoma, fluid collection, tissue necrosis, nipple necrosis, open wound, contour deformity, scarring, asymmetry, decrease or no sensation in the surgical area, decreased or no sensation to nipple, changes in pigmentation of the areolar, and need for further surgery. Breast reduction can reduce the ability of breastfeeding in the future but most patients are still able to do so. Most breasts are not perfectly symmetric, so slight asymmetry can occur after breast reduction. Higher risk of wound complication and tissue necrosis are seen in patients who have wound healing problems including uncontrolled diabetes and smoker/vapers using nicotine products. It’s essential to have your diabetes controlled and stop using nicotine products before and after surgery. Otherwise, your risk of skin and tissue necrosis and open wound is extremely high that surgery should not be pursued. Breast reduction is safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Some of my happiest patients are breast reduction patients as the surgery is life changing for them!