Breast reduction surgery is something often considered by women with very large and heavy breasts who may experience a variety of medical problems caused by excessive weight. Problems may include the neck, back and shoulder pain, skin irritation from bra strap indentations in their shoulders, and even skeletal deformities and breathing problems. Yeast rashes under the breasts are quite common. There is usually a decreased ability to exercise, as well. In addition to the physical discomfort, women and teenage girls with unusually large breasts often report feeling self-conscious.
Breast reduction, also known as mammoplasty, is designed to alleviate these conditions. The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The results are intended to give women smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of the body.
Because of heavy breasts often sag, breast reduction always includes a breast lift. This can give the most beneficial improvement in breast position. Dr. Lee will make the best recommendations for you in your consultation.
Breast reduction is generally done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia in an accredited surgical center. The surgery itself usually takes two to three hours, and the associated pain is minimal.
Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. Another technique called a “vertical reduction” utilizes a scar around the areola and vertically down to the bottom of the breast. Dr. Lee removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and will move the nipple and areola into their new position. Some patients elect to have their nipples reduced as well.
Liposuction can often be used on the sides of the breast to optimize the result and produce better symmetry.
Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks.
Most women can return to work (if it’s not too strenuous) and social activities in about two weeks. But you’ll have much less stamina for several weeks, and should limit your exercises to stretching, bending, and swimming until your energy level returns. You’ll also need a good athletic bra for support.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. You’ll be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, your body will look better proportioned, and clothes will fit you better. These benefits make breast reduction one of the most satisfying procedures in plastic surgery.