What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
If you’ve got disproportionately large breasts that are causing neck pain, back pain or other physical symptoms, you may want to consider a breast reduction. Through this method, these body parts can be reduced to a more compelling and appealing size and form.
It is the process of removing surplus fat, skin and glandular tissue from the breast to give it a more proportionate size and shape. Breast Reduction mammoplasty is a plastic or cosmetic surgery but is also carried out for medical benefits such as: –
A heavy bust leads to back and shoulder pain, not to mention other physical incompatibilities as well. In this case, a reduction mammoplasty is a viable option for women to relieve themselves of such ailments.
Post-lactating periods are when breasts tend to enlarge and sag at the same time. A reduction mammoplasty surgery can help middle-aged women to avoid similar complications in the future.
It is also important to note that this surgery isn’t just for women, either. Men who have conditions such as gynecomastia (where male breasts are enlarged abnormally) also may seek a breast reduction.
Your Consultation for Breast Reduction Surgery
Before getting breast reduction surgery, you will go in for a pre-operative consultation, during which time your surgeon will take a detailed medical history, including whether or not you’ve ever had a lump removed from your breast or any other medical conditions affecting your breasts. He or she also will take a detailed family history. You should be in good physical and mental shape in order to undergo this surgery.
It’s important that you are completely honest during this consultation. That includes being completely open with your medical history. It also means being very open as to why you’re seeking a breast reduction. You should expect to discuss the emotional issues you’ve dealt with; that is, how have you felt dealing with your breast size? How has it made you feel, physically? What types of physical conditions have you experienced?
Your surgeon may take photos of your breasts and measure them. During this time, the surgeon also will discuss how much breast tissue should be removed to achieve the desired results. You also will learn about how to prepare for the surgery and how to plan for your recovery. Your surgeon may prepare you for this procedure by performing a mammography and breast exam.
How is Breast Reduction Done?
Depending on your personal situation, the procedure can be performed in an outpatient facility or you may have to stay at least one night in the hospital. In either case, you will be given general anesthesia, which means you will sleep through for the procedure. It’s important to have someone with you who can drive you home and stay with you at least the first night if you’re not staying in the hospital.
The surgery itself will take about three to five hours. Your surgeon will make an incision around your nipple, then downward on the breast, in a keyhole form. The excess skin, tissue and fat are removed and your nipple is relocated for cosmetic purposes. Your surgeon may use drainage tubes and the incision site is then sutured. Your breasts will be wrapped in special gauze. If required, you may also wear a surgical bra.
What are the Breast Reduction Surgery Procedures?
- Makes an incision around the areola and down each breast
- Removes excess breast tissue, fat and skin to reduce the size of each breast
- Reshapes the breast and repositions the nipple and areola
- The nipple and areola usually remain attached to the breast
Note 1: Might need to be removed and then reattached at a higher position as a skin graft if your breasts are very large
Note 2: Your surgeon will try to achieve symmetry between your breasts, but some variation in breast size and shape might occur. The size of the areola also might be reduced. Your incision scars might fade over time but will never completely disappear.
How to Prepare for the Breast Reduction?
You need to be in good physical shape to ensure proper healing, so follow your surgeon’s instructions on vitamins you can take before and after the surgery. Likewise, it’s very important to eat well-balanced meals. This is no time for a diet!
During your preoperative consultation, your surgeon will ask about your habits, including whether you smoke or what medications you take. You may have to quit smoking for a period before and after surgery to ensure proper healing. You may also be asked to lose weight because being overweight can increase your risk for complications after breast reduction.
Likewise, you also may have to cease taking certain medications, such as aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin or Aleve. Your surgeon will instruct you on this.
Before you undergo surgery, you’ll need to get your home ready for your recovery. This should include:
- Plenty of ice
- Gauze and clean washcloths and towels
- Loose, comfortable t-shirts and blouses
- Soft bras. Your surgeon can recommend where to buy these
- Special ointments or creams as recommended by your surgeon for incision site
- Telephone within reaching distance of your primary rest area
- Magazines, movies, or other quiet forms of relaxation.
Recovery and follow-up care for breast reduction?
You will need to take at least one week off from work or school. Some patients require two weeks, but each situation varies. Your surgeon will instruct you on follow up appointments to remove bandages and sutures.
If you are a physically active person, you will not be able to resume your activity for at least one month after surgery. It is very important that you realize the emotional impact of surgery. A lot of people experience depression, but this is normal! Make sure you communicate with your doctor about all your concerns.
Complications and side effects of breast reduction
You should expect to feel tired and you will have breast pain. This is normal!
Your surgeon will give you a prescription antibiotic ointment and oral painkiller to ease you through the first few days after surgery. You should avoid heavy lifting at all costs, as this can promote scarring.
It’s important to note that a breast reduction will cause scars as a normal side effect. However, the scars can be made worse if you lift heavy objects prematurely. Though they are rare, some people may experience certain complications such as inadequate healing of the nipple area, which may require a skin graft.
What are the rehab and time periods for breast reduction recovery?
The procedure itself takes 2 to 4 hours’ time. Rehabilitation time is between 12 to 15 days and return to daily work schedules is 4 to 6 weeks for a complete breast reduction recovery.
Also, there are certain post-treatment behavioral traits which may cause complications in the future and thereby leave a proper breast reduction recovery incomplete are:
- Smoking (Very harmful for breast reduction recovery.)
- Indulging in high sugar food
- Surplus high protein diet
Although a breast reduction recovery varies with individuals, stats suggest that proper procedures lead to only 10% of the patients complaining of minor temporary complications.