Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is performed to remove extra tissue, skin and fat from the breasts. As the procedure’s name suggests, its goal is to reduce a person’s breast size and improve their proportion to their body frame. Larger (and disproportionate) breasts may have a negative effect on one’s body image and can be uncomfortable when engaging in some physical activities. Since breast reduction is a major surgery, it is important to be aware of its Pro’s and Con’s. Read on to learn more.
People who have large breasts might consider breast reduction surgery most especially if they are:
- experiencing chronic pain on the back, neck and shoulders
- getting shoulder grooves from bra straps
- having chronic irritation or rash on the skin under the breasts
- enduring pain in the nerves
- unable to participate in some activities due to discomfort/pain from having large breasts
- having a negative self-image, depression and related mental issues due to large breasts
- having difficulty fitting into bras and having other wardrobe problems
- experiencing public embarrassment and other social stigmas
Also, it is important to note that breast reduction surgery is not only designed for women, but can be an option for some men as well. There are cases where some men have abnormally enlarged breasts, a condition called gynecomastia, and the affected male may undergo breast reduction surgery in order to restore his chest size and improve his body image, as well.
Breast reduction surgery is typically not advised for those who smoke, have obesity, and to those who do not want breasts scars. Moreover, women should consider postponing breast reduction when planning to have children as there might be some difficulties in breastfeeding after the procedure. Also, it is recommended to hold-off breast reduction when planning to lose weight as losing weight will surely result in changes in the size of the breasts. There is no ideal age for having breast reduction but a second surgery might be needed in later on especially when the first one was done on not fully-grown breasts.
Like any other medical procedure, the first step is to have a proper consultation with the cosmetic/plastic surgeon. The consultation will enable you to find out if breast reduction surgery can assist you in achieving the ideal breast size and shape for your body. The consultation with the surgeon will also generally involve looking into your medical history and health, overall. The size and appearance of your ideal breasts following surgery will also be discussed, to help manage your expectations. The surgeon will make necessary medical examinations of the breasts which can involve taking pictures of your breasts as well as taking measurements. A mammogram (x-ray imaging of the breasts) might also be done.
The consultation will also be a good venue for the doctor to discuss the benefits and the risks involved. The known benefits include reduction of pain and discomfort (in the shoulders, neck and back) associated with large breasts, reduction of skin irritation/infection, rashes and chafing, promotion of an active lifestyle as reduced breast size can make movement easy and less uncomfortable/painful and boosted confidence and self-esteem. On the other hand, the common possible risks involved with the breast reduction surgery are as follows:
- bleeding , infection and negative reaction to anesthetics (same with other major surgical procedures)
- Challenges in breastfeeding or losing the ability to breastfeed entirely
- Surgical scars
- Losing feeling on the nipples or losing the nipples or skin around the nipples (rare cases)
- Blood clotting
- Short-term or long-term loss of feeling in your breasts or nipples
- Damage to your body’s nerves, blood vessels, and other body parts
- Bruising or swelling
- insufficient nipple area healing which will require another surgical procedure (skin grafting)
After the consultation and deciding that breast reduction surgery is fit for you, the schedule of surgery will likely be set by the surgeon. Usually, instructions will be given to help with your preparation. You should be in good shape when undergoing the surgery as it will affect your results and recovery process too. Common preparations are as follows:
- Quitting smoking for at least six weeks prior the procedure
- Not taking aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent bleeding during the procedure
- Be sure to have your home ready for the recovery process and have plenty of ice, clean wash clothes and gauze.
- Be in loose and comfortable clothes
- Arrange for someone to take you home and be with you for at least a night after the procedure
Breast reduction surgery can be done in a hospital or an outpatient clinic and generally takes around 2 to 5 hours to complete. The procedure will require the patient to be under general anesthesia, being a major surgical procedure. The methods used by the surgeon to reduce breast size will depend on the size and shape of the breasts, the extent of tissue to be removed and as well as the target look of the breasts after. The surgeon might use liposuction, vertical or “lollipop, and/or inverted-T or “anchor” methods to perform the following:
- Making incisions around the nipple and areola, as well as down each breast
- Removing of excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to reduce the size of each breasts
- Reshaping the breast and repositioning the nipple and areola
After the procedure, the breasts will be covered with bandages and the patient will need to wear a surgical bra to keep the breasts in place. Medicine may also be administered to relieve pain and to lessen risks of developing an infection. As part of the recovery plan, the patient will need to take a leave from work or school for a week or more. Follow-up appointments with the surgeon will also be required to remove stitches, bandages, etc. Any physical activity including lifting heavy objects is not allowed at least a month after the breast reduction surgery. For any concerns such as observance of signs of infection, having pus on the incision sites, seek medical attention right away.
Nassim Plastic Surgery
1 Orchard Blvd
#11-02 Camden Medical Centre
(65) 6517 9890
(65) 9267 7469