A breast reduction, also referred to as a reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reduce the size and improve the shape of the breasts. Typically, women who are candidates for this procedure have physical symptoms related to the weight or shape of their breasts. These symptoms include back pain, neck pain, and bra strap grooves. The incisions vary based upon the breast size before the operation and the final post operative size.
An incision is made around the nipple and areola accompanied by a vertical incision below the areola with or without a horizontal incision made in the crease below the breast. Short scar techniques are frequently applicable in breast reduction surgery and allow excellent reduction of size with improved shape while limiting the extent of the incisions.
For reduction of very large breasts, in some cases the nipple and areola may need to be surgically removed and reapplied as a graft. Removing and reapplying the nipple/areola tissue will result in the loss of nipple sensation and the inability to breastfeed.
The procedure usually requires 2-4 hours of operating time depending upon the technique chosen and the size of the breasts.
The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia supplemented with local anesthesia. Smaller reductions can be performed under intravenous sedation without the need for general anesthesia.
Inpatient or outpatient:
Depending on the size of the breasts, type of anesthesia selected, and length of the surgical procedure, patients may return home on the same day as their surgery or spend the night at an aftercare facility or hospital.
Possible side effects:
Prolonged swelling and delayed healing.
Risks associated with breast reduction include: unfavorable scarring, loss of nipple sensation, loss of ability to breastfeed, loss of nipple and breast tissue, unsatisfactory shape, and failure to achieve aesthetic goals.
Typically one to two weeks is required for recovery. Most patients return to normal activities in that period of time. Strenuous physical activities are discouraged for three to six weeks after the operation.
Most patients who undergo a reduction mammoplasty are pleased with the size and the shape of their breasts and are delighted with the improvement and lessening of the symptoms of pain and discomfort that they experienced due to the weight of their breasts. Breast reduction makes physical activities easier and patients enjoy their new appearance and ability to wear clothing that was uncomfortable or unattractive before the surgery was performed.