Breast Reduction FAQs
Many women with large breasts consider undergoing breast reduction surgery for various reasons. Some may feel that a breast reduction would enhance their appearance and give them a more proportional figure. More often than not, women with large breasts suffer from health problems that cause physical discomfort. Before undergoing any cosmetic surgery, it is important to have a full understanding of every aspect of the procedure. If you are considering breast reduction surgery, you may have a lot of questions, which should all be addressed prior to commencing treatment. Docshop has put together some frequently asked questions, and invites you to continue reading. Additionally, the best way to learn more is to contact a qualified plastic surgeon.
What is breast reduction surgery?
Technically referred to as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery is a procedure that minimizes a woman's breast size by removing fat, tissue, and excess skin. The patient will be placed under general anesthesia for the surgery, which is generally performed as an outpatient procedure.
Who is a candidate for breast reduction surgery?
Women who feel that their breasts are disproportionately large, or who suffer from pain or discomfort due to their ample breast size are candidates for the procedure. Additionally, women with asymmetrical breasts are good candidates. Women should be able to commit to the recovery time and aftercare required for proper healing following the procedure. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to breastfeed in the future may not be good candidates. The best way to determine whether you are a candidate for a breast reduction is to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon that specializes in breast reduction surgery.
What does the breast reduction recovery period entail?
Full recovery from breast reduction surgery generally takes four to six weeks. Immediately following the procedure, patients will be required to wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra with special gauze for approximately two to three days. For several weeks after that, a surgical bra will still need to be worn, and patients should refrain from any rigorous or strenuous activity. Stitches will be removed approximately two weeks after the surgery. Swelling could last as long as six months to a year after the procedure; however, any bruising, pain, tenderness, or altered nipple sensation subsides after several weeks.
When can I exercise or return to work and exercise?
Resuming normal activities varies from patient to patient. Some women feel comfortable returning to work or school after a few days, and some may want to wait up to two weeks. Physical activity such as sex or exercise should be avoided for up to six weeks following the surgery to prevent scarring or delayed healing. It is best to find out from your surgeon how long you should wait before returning to everyday activities.
What are the benefits of breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction can potentially improve a person's overall quality of life. Women can be free from painful back, neck, or shoulder problems caused by carrying the extra weight of large breasts. Additionally, women may feel more confident and pleased with their new proportional appearance. Improved posture and better bra and clothing options are also great benefits women experience. Women also feel less self conscious about others staring at their abundant breasts.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view more breast reduction before and after photos.
Photo credit: James P. Wire, MD
What are the risks or potential complications of breast reduction surgery?
While breast reduction surgery is considered a safe procedure, there are some potential health complications that could occur, as with any surgery, such as bleeding, hematoma, negative reaction to anesthesia, or scarring. To best avoid complications, only go to a board-certified, experienced plastic surgeon. Other possible problems include a change in nipple or breast sensation, inability to breastfeed, asymmetrical breasts, or uneven nipples.
Will there be any scarring?
Patients will be left with some scarring from breast reduction surgery, though it does fade over time and can easily be hidden. Depending on the type of incision the surgeon makes, the scar will either be:
Anchor - The incision is made around the areola, vertically down the breast, and then along the crease of the breast.
Vertical - The incision circles the areola then extends vertically down the breast for less scarring.
Scarless - Very small incisions will be made either under the armpit or at the crease of the breast so liposuction can be administered. This is only an option for women with mostly fat tissue in the breasts.
How long do the results of breast reduction surgery last?
The breast reduction surgery results last forever. However, if the patient gains a significant amount of weight, becomes pregnant, or takes certain hormones or medications, the breasts may increase in size again.
Will insurance cover the cost of breast reduction?
Medical insurance may cover the cost of breast reduction surgery if a patient is suffering from physical health problems due to excessively large breasts. Some health insurance companies may require that the patient show documentation of health related issues before approving payment for the surgery. Insurance may cover some or the entire cost of the surgery. Many surgeons offer financing solutions as well to help patients pay for the procedure.
Contact a Plastic Surgeon for More Information on Breast Reductions
If you have additional questions about breast reductions or if you are ready to schedule a consultation regarding breast reduction surgery, speak with a qualified cosmetic surgeon in your area.