Breast reduction is performed to decrease the size and weight of a woman’s breasts. Oftentimes, large breast size is accompanied by physical discomfort (in the back or neck, for example). The patients patients often seek breast reduction to alleviate these pains, while also making their breasts more proportional in size to their bodies.
Why Breast Reduction?
There are a number of reasons why women seek breast reduction surgery, or reduction mammoplasty, including:
• The desire to have smaller, better shaped and more proportional breasts to the rest of the body
• Chronic back/neck pain from the heavy weight of the breasts
• Chronic rashes underneath the breasts from constant rubbing and irritation
• Difficulty finding a bra that fits properly
• Difficulty with daily activities including exercise
• Constant teasing particularly in the teenage population
Breast reduction surgery not only reduces the size of the breasts, but also lifts and reshapes them as well. The areola, which is the pigmented part of the breast surrounding the nipple, can also be reduced during the procedure, enhancing the overall aesthetic result. This surgery shares many of the same techniques and principles as breast lift (mastopexy) surgery. Both aim to create a more aesthetically pleasing and proportioned breast shape.
Effective Technique and Recovery Time
There are a number of breast reduction techniques that ultimately accomplish the same goal but use different approaches. The technique used really depends on the size of the breast. In the majority of cases, incisions will encircle the nipple-areola and travel straight down towards the bottom of the breast crease (so called ‘lollipop incision’).
In larger reductions, an additional incision is made in the breast fold (so called ‘inverted T incision’ or ‘wise pattern’). These incisions generally heal very well and the resultant scars are acceptable to most patients. Sutures used are self-absorbable and don’t need to be removed.
Taping is used to further reinforce the incision lines and should be allowed to fall off on their own. Drainage tubes may be are used temporarily for larger reductions to evacuate fluid and decrease swelling. They are removed when the output reaches a level signifying proper internal healing.
A light surgical bra, which helps to support the newly shaped breasts, is worn for the first 4-6 weeks. Depending on the occupation, most patients can return to work after about 1-2 weeks. Activity should be light and progress gradually as tolerated over the following weeks. Full activity is usually permissible at 6 weeks.
Breast reduction surgery has one of the highest rates of patient satisfaction amongst all plastic surgery procedures, and my patients have also raved about their new, well-proportioned breasts and renewed self-esteem. Energy levels also tend to increase as patients are less weighed down and encumbered by the large size of their breasts.