For the woman who has struggled all her life with excessively large breasts, breast reduction surgery can be an emotionally and physically rewarding procedure. Not only will the procedure give you smaller, firmer breasts, it will put an end to physical discomfort, allow you to increase your physical activities and your clothing options. In fact, of all the procedures that plastic surgeons perform, reduction has the highest degree of patient satisfaction.
- Best Candidates for Breast Reduction
- What to Expect at Your Consultation
- How Breast Reduction is Performed
- Recovery from Breast Reduction
Best Candidates for Breast Reduction
Women who have reached full breast development, usually 16 years of age or older, who suffer from one or more of the following conditions: back, neck and shoulder pain, overly heavy breasts, indentations across your shoulders from your bra straps, skin irritation beneath the breast, feelings of self-consciousness about the size of your breast, restriction of physical activity due to the size of your breast.
What to Expect at Your Consultation
At your initial consultation, plastic surgeon Dr. James Matas will discuss your motivations for reduction surgery, along with assessing your physical and emotional health and reviewing information you provide about previous surgeries, previous pregnancies/breastfeeding, history of weight loss, past and current medical conditions, as well as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies and pharmaceutical medications you take.
He will carefully examine your breasts, considering the amount of breast tissue to be removed and the position of your nipples and areolas. In some cases, a breast lift may be the most appropriate option.
He will explain the exact technique he intends to use, location of the surgical incisions, the type of anesthesia, where the surgery will be performed and the risks and possibility of complications.
How Breast Reduction is Performed
The incisions necessary for a reduction usually resemble an anchor shape, and are located around the areola, extending downward toward the bottom of the breast and horizontally beneath the breast following along the natural crease.
When Dr. Matas has removed the excess breast tissue and skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. Since the areola is usually larger than desired, it is reduced in diameter. The skin around the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast to its smaller size.
Ideally, the nipples and areolas remain attached to the underlying tissue when shifted, and this may preserve sensation and make it possible to breastfeed in the future. When it is necessary to move the nipple a great distance, sensation may be lost.
Reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and usually takes four to six hours to complete. Depending upon individual circumstances, it may be performed outpatient or with a brief hospital stay.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
You’ll be instructed to take it easy for the first week, and to discontinue certain strenuous activities for about one month. You may return to light work within one or two weeks after surgery.
Over the next few months, your breasts will start settling into a more natural shape and you will begin to regain sensation in the breast and around the nipple. Your scars will be reddish in appearance and will gradually fade and become less visible. It is important to protect your scars from the sun and tanning beds for one year to prevent them from darkening permanently.
Your New Look
Breast reduction surgery can have a dramatic effect on your body image. While it may take some time to adjust to such a large change, you’ll have a greater ability to enjoy life to its fullest. You may become more physically active, and it’s not unusual to lose weight as a result of this increased activity. You can expect to maintain your new shape long-term, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant in the future.