Breast reduction surgery offers patients a number of excellent benefits that are both cosmetic and health related. Many women suffer from back, neck, or shoulder pain due to overly large breasts, and many women simply desire a more proportional figure. Whatever the reasons are, breast reduction surgery can make a woman feel confident and comfortable again, enhancing her overall quality of life. If you would like to reduce the size of your breasts, it is important that you understand all of the necessary details of the surgery before commencing, including what the breast reduction procedure entails, as well as before and after care. Also, make sure to choose a board certified surgeon with experience performing breast reduction surgeries. The right surgeon can help to minimize any risks or complications, and increase the likelihood that you will be pleased with your results.
Docshop has put together a comprehensive overview of the breast reduction surgery procedure that we suggest you familiarize yourself with.
Breast Reduction Procedure
Before beginning, your surgeon will conduct a consultation, at which time you will discuss your goals and medical history, and he or she will determine whether you are a good candidate. The entire breast reduction procedure takes on average up to two hours, depending on the specific case. Some patients may opt to have another procedure carried out at the same time, such as a breast lift, which would increase the surgery time. The surgery will go as follows:
Anesthesia: The patient will be placed under general anesthesia in order to be completely asleep during the procedure. The breast reduction is typically considered an outpatient procedure; however, some patients may require an overnight stay.
Incision: The surgeon will make an incision using one of three techniques - an anchor incision (traditional incision that is made around areola, vertical down the breast, and then horizontally along the crease); a vertical incision (around the areola and vertical down the breast for less scarring); or a scarless incision (tiny incisions are made at the crease of the breast or at the armpit and liposuction is administered to remove fat).
Breast reduction: Fat, tissue, and any excess skin are removed from the lower portion of the breast. Women with mostly fat tissue in the breasts could just require liposuction to reduce the breast size, which results in less scarring, less breast tissue trauma, and less chance of health complications occurring.
Nipple placement: The nipple will be repositioned higher up on the breast. The surgeon may or may not need to remove the nipple from the breast and then graft it in the correct place. Usually women with very large breasts require the nipple to be removed to be repositioned. The surgeon will inform the patient whether or not nipple sensation will be lost as a result.
Close incisions: The surgeon will close the incisions using sutures. Various techniques may be used for sealing the incisions that your surgeon will discuss with you prior to the surgery.
At the time of your breast reduction surgery, your surgeon may place drains in your breasts in order to prevent a build-up of fluid in the breast area and to promote faster healing. Fluid that collects at the end of the drains will need to be emptied about once a day. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions regarding your drains. If the drain fills immediately after it is emptied or you need to empty it more than three times per day, you should contact your doctor.
After breast reduction surgery, your doctor will wrap your chest area in sterile dressings. The dressings will need to be changed one to two days after surgery and will eventually be replaced by a surgical bra, which will need to be worn for several weeks during your breast reduction recovery. You will be required to wear the surgical bra at all times, except when bathing.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view more breast reduction before and after photos.
Photo credit: James P. Wire, MD
Locate a Cosmetic Surgeon in Your Area
If you have more questions about breast reduction surgery, we invite you to locate a cosmetic surgeon near you using DocShop's directory.