Breast reduction surgery, technically known as reduction mammoplasty, is designed to reduce the size of the breasts and create a more attractive breast shape and form. Women with very large breasts often suffer from breast pain, along with back, shoulder, and neck pain. They often have posture problems, develop shoulder grooves from bra straps, and may suffer uncomfortable and skin rashes beneath the breasts. In addition, women can experience embarrassment and be limited in the types of physical activities they are comfortable with. Breast reduction surgery may help alleviate some or all these common problems.
The traditional procedure removes excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue from the breasts and repositions the nipple and remaining tissues to create smaller, lighter, and firmer breasts. The goal is to make the breast size more balanced and in the perfect proportion with the rest of the body, relieving physical and emotional discomfort. Patients having this procedure tend to be among the happiest patients in the plastic surgery field. The relief of being free from overlarge breasts can be life-changing.
The procedure can be performed in a variety of ways, depending on the skill and expertise of the surgeon and the anatomy and wishes of the patient. Predefined incisions are made on the breast, and excess skin, fat, and breast tissue are removed. The nipple is then elevated to its new position on the breast mound and the remaining tissues are closed around it. Some liposuction of adjacent areas may be performed at the same time to recontour and reshape the new breast. The scars on the breast will depend on the pattern used for the reduction.
The traditional operation requires about four hours to perform. The surgery is performed under a general anesthetic for your own comfort. Most patients return home the same day. Some swelling and bruising is common, but this tends to resolve by the time the stitches are removed, which is about ten days after the procedure. Pain and discomfort tend to be minimal and are easily controlled with oral pain pills.
The recent introduction of ultrasound assisted lipoplasty, or ultrasonic liposuction, has allowed plastic surgeons to reduce the size of one or both breasts without the extensive cutting and scarring associated with a traditional breast reduction procedure.
A small incision is made under the breast and around the areola (nipple area) to allow insertion of an ultrasonic liposuction cannula. After the cannula is inserted, the fatty portion of the breast is liquefied and removed, reducing the size and volume of the breast.
This technique has limitations in terms of the amount of volume reduction that can be obtained. It may produce some elevation of the nipple, but cannot approach the volume and lift that can be achieved with the surgical reduction methods described above. Nevertheless, it may be an excellent option for some women who wish for a less dramatic reduction in breast size and want to avoid a surgical procedure or scarring. For more information on ultrasonic liposuction breast reduction
Although the procedure used in breast reduction is usually straightforward and uncomplicated, problems rarely occur. These possible complications include bleeding, infection, change in sensation around the nipple, scarring, asymmetry, and nipple or tissue healing problems. Inability to breastfeed in the future is also a possibility due to the nature of the surgery. Concerns about future breastfeeding should not be a problem for patients undergoing an ultrasonic breast reduction.
Although surgical complications are unusual and rare, it is important that every patient is fully informed about the procedure, the options available, and the potential problems. Write down a list of questions and concerns that you’ll want to discuss with your plastic surgeon so you are confident that you are fully aware of every aspect of the procedure – we are here to help, and we value honesty and integrity, and fully educating our patients as an important part of our practice.
For some patients, depending upon the symptoms experienced and the type of insurance, your procedure may be covered. As overly large breasts can lead to several physical problems, the procedure may be considered therapeutic. The first step is to speak with us so we can evaluate your condition and discuss your symptoms.
It is advised that you plan at least a full week off work to recover. You will be limited in the type of physical activities that are safe during healing, and will need to avoid vigorous exercise for at least a month.
Many women with excessively large breasts also have large areolas. During your surgical procedure, the breasts will be reshaped, and the size of the areola reduced to match the new breast proportions.
In a breast reduction procedure, the breasts are reshaped and contoured to be balanced with the rest of the body, and repositioned as part of the surgical procedure.
Initially, you will experience some swelling. As this diminishes, your new breast size will become visible. Your breasts will be higher on your chest, rounded, with nipples centered as they should be, and your body will appear more proportioned, balanced, and younger.
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