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Breast Reduction

Breast reduction can relieve the physical and psychological burdens of excessive breast tissue. Men and women choosing breast reduction often suffer from back and neck pain, reduced mobility, and social stigmatization. A surgical breast reduction allows them to participate in active sports, relieves back pain, and creates a flattering profile.

Why should I perform a breast reduction surgery?

Physical symptoms as well as aesthetically pleasing appearances are reasons why someone might desire a breast reduction. Candidates of breast reduction surgery may suffer from any of the following:

  • breasts that are too large for their body frame
  • heavy breasts with nipples and areolas that point down
  • disproportional breasts
  • back, neck, or shoulder pain caused by the weight of large breasts
  • indentations made in their shoulders from tight bra straps
  • restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of their breasts
  • dissatisfaction or self-consciousness about the largeness of their breasts

Many women with overly large breasts are unable to perform certain activities comfortably. Many women and teens are very self-conscious of their busts and may suffer adverse social and psychological hindrances. Plastic surgeons suggest waiting for breast development to totally stop before considering a breast reduction.

How is the procedure performed?

The plastic surgeon will determine the specific technique that can reduce your breast size. The most common method used involves three incisions:

  • one incision around the areola
  • one incision that runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast
  • one incision that follows the natural curve of the breast crease

Breast reduction involves removing the excess breast tissue, fat and skin, and shifting the nipple and areola to a higher position. Large breasts usually stretch out the areola so they must be reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast.

Sometimes liposuction will be used to improve the contour under the arm. The nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue to preserve sensation. The ability to breast-feed is also preserved when using this method, though not guaranteed.

In instances when a breast reduction is being performed on extremely large breasts, the nipples and areolas may need to be completely removed. A loss of sensation and the possibility to breast-feed may have to be decided to achieve the desired breast size.

Potential complications

Significant complications associated with breast reductions are infrequent. Still, potential complications may include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • reactions to anesthesia

A patient may need a blood transfusion during the operation, though this is rare. Since this can be anticipated, the plastic surgeon may suggest donating your own blood in preparation for surgery under certain circumstances. Following guidelines given to you by your plastic surgeon can reduce the risks.

Breast reduction recovery

The recovery time for each patient following breast reduction can vary based upon the amount of tissue removed and other factors. Many patients are able to return to work within days of the operation, although a breast reduction often prevents individuals from resuming any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks.

Each breast reduction recovery stage is marked by a different aspect of healing:

  • A few days into the breast reduction recovery, drains are removed.
  • Stitches come out within the first week.
  • By the third week of breast reduction recovery, the swelling, bruising, and numbness should have significantly subsided.

Breast reduction results will emerge as the swelling goes down, over the first days and weeks following the breast reduction, with the final results appearing around a year after the surgery.

Some individuals may have their breast reduction covered by health insurance. Ask your insurance company and medical provider to see if your breast reduction qualifies for full or partial coverage.

Recovery advice for patients

Breast reduction recovery can be made more effective in a number of ways:

  • Throughout the recovery period, patients should stay in contact with their physician and follow all medical instructions.
  • Using ice packs on the chest region is highly recommended for the first days of breast reduction recovery to alleviate swelling.
  • Patients should avoid sleeping on their stomachs during the initial recovery period.
  • Patients should monitor their incision sites and contact their physician if infection appears. Avoiding infection can help reduce scarring and will optimize surgical results, as well as speeding recovery.

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