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 expand your clothing options. In fact, of all the procedures that plastic surgeons perform, reduction has the highest degree of patient satisfaction.
- What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?
- Breast Reduction Candidates
- Breast Reduction & Teens
- Breast Reduction Consultation
- Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift
- Non-Surgical Breast Reduction
- The Breast Reduction Procedure
- Recovery from Breast Reduction
- Breast Reduction Results
- Breast Reduction Scars
- Breast Reduction Cost
- Medical Insurance & Breast Reduction
What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure that creates smaller, lighter breasts for women struggling with the physical, emotional, and/or aesthetic challenges that can be caused by large, heavy breasts. During the procedure, precise amounts of excess skin, breast tissue, and/or fat are removed from each breast and the remaining tissue is reshaped to its new form. For each patient, Dr. Matas creates a customized surgical plan using the techniques that are best suited for achieving her goals.
Who Is a Candidate 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.
Can Teens Undergo Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery may be performed for teenage patients who have large breasts and experience symptoms of body pain, discomfort, self-consciousness, difficulty finding clothes that fit well, and/or challenges while exercising. It is not uncommon for candidates 16 years of age or older to undergo this procedure. Studies have shown that breast reduction surgery often makes a positive impact on teen and adolescent patients. After treatment, patients can start living a life that is unburdened by excessively large and heavy breasts. Our team at the Advanced Centre for Plastic Surgery will ensure that each teenage candidate and their parents/legal guardians understand all aspects of the procedure in order to make a well-informed decision about undergoing breast reduction surgery.
What Happens at My Breast Reduction 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.
Does Breast Reduction Surgery Provide Similar Benefits as a Breast Lift?
Breast reduction and breast lift surgeries can effectively reshape and reposition the breasts; however, each procedure focuses on different concerns. Breast reduction surgery may be recommended for women who struggle with overly-large breasts that are excessively heavy. Breast reduction surgery can remove the surplus fat, tissue, and skin to decrease the volume and overall weight of the breasts. Breast reduction surgery generally includes the benefits of a breast lift. Dr. Matas can lift the nipples and areolas to a more ideal position (similar to what is performed during a breast lift) to accommodate the new breast shape and size. A combination of both techniques can help reduce the bulkiness and heaviness of breasts, while also elevating them to a more youthful position.
For women who are concerned about improving the appearance of their breasts (and do not have large, heavy breasts), a breast lift alone can be an ideal solution. This procedure can raise sagging breasts, nipples, and areolas to a higher position on the chest so that the breasts are more lifted and perky.
Is Breast Reduction without Surgery Possible?
There is currently no non-surgical option that effectively alleviates the symptoms of heavy and sizable breasts. Diet and exercise may get rid of overall body fat, including breast fat, but they do not address the excess tissue and skin that can contribute to the heaviness of large breasts. A breast reduction procedure can deliver optimal results since the surgery is designed to remove excess fat, skin, and tissue causing the burdensome weight.
How Is Breast Reduction Surgery 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.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Breast Reduction?
After surgery, you’ll be wearing a surgical bra designed to hold gauze dressings in place over the incision sites. In some cases, you may also have drain tubes designed to capture excess fluids from swelling. You can expect some discomfort from surgery, along with bruising and swelling, but this can be controlled with the medications we prescribe. Over the course of the first week, your sutures and drain tubes will be removed.
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.
What Will My Breast Reduction Results Look Like?
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.
Will I Have Breast Reduction Scars?
Visible scars are to be expected following breast reduction surgery. The appearance of your scars depends upon the incisions made during your surgery, the quality of your aftercare, and the unique healing properties of your skin. Once the incisions have healed, scar tissue may appear red and raised; but with time and proper post-operative care, scars should flatten and fade considerably. To assist your healing, your post-operative patient care kit will include an effective 100% silicone gel scar reduction product called Silagen®. When Silagen is applied as directed and scars remain protected from UV rays, the appearance of your scars should diminish appropriately. For patients interested in further scar reduction when tissue has matured, microneedling treatments can often provide additional improvement. To see examples of healed breast reduction scars, we invite you to explore our before-and-after gallery.
How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost?
The average price range for breast reduction at the Advanced Centre for Plastic Surgery is $7,000 to $10,000. It is important to understand that since breast reduction surgeries are highly customized to suit the needs of each patient, the techniques and surgical approaches used can vary widely, affecting the overall cost. In order to receive an accurate price quote for your personalized breast reduction surgery, a consultation with Dr. Matas is necessary. During the appointment, he will complete a full assessment of your health and surgical needs to design a procedure that meets your goals. Once your surgical plan has been established, you will have the opportunity to review a comprehensive price quote with a knowledgeable member of our office team. In some cases, your medical insurance plan may assist with the cost of breast reduction surgery and we encourage you to check your coverage to learn more about available benefits. To further assist with the cost of treatment, we also offer plastic surgery financing through CareCredit®, a trusted third-party lender that provides qualified applicants with a variety of loan options and flexible payment plans.
Does Medical Insurance Cover Breast Reduction?
If breast reduction surgery is a medical necessity, then medical insurance may partially or fully cover the procedure. It is usually a medical necessity if large breasts are causing you physical pain and discomfort in the neck, back, and/or shoulders. We encourage you to speak with your insurance company to go over the specific terms of your plan, and to find out if there are any other criteria that need to be met for reimbursement. Patients should be aware that our office does not accept insurance and full payment for surgery must be made up front. Reimbursement must be arranged with your insurance company independently. Patients who are approved applicants may also take advantage of plastic surgery financing through CareCredit® if further financial assistance is desired.