Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure performed for the reduction of the size of a woman’s breasts. A plastic surgeon will remove extra fat, tissue, and skin through cuts on the undersides of both breasts. Breast reduction is an outpatient process that usually doesn’t have many complications.
Reasons for Breast Reduction
Women with heavy breasts usually have painful physical symptoms due to the strain that the weight of their breasts places on the neck, shoulders, and back. Some women even suffer from continuous headaches, wrong posture, and herniated discs.
Moreover, some women feel self-conscious or have a negative body image because of their large breast size. Reduction mammoplasty can address both these physical and psychological challenges.
Preparation for Breast Reduction
Before a breast reduction procedure, your doctor will perform a routine breast check-up to determine if you’re a candidate for the surgery. You may also require a mammogram or other lab tests to make sure you’re in good health. You and your doctor will need to decide whether or not to use general anesthesia during the surgery, as in some patients surgeries are performed under local anesthesia.
In the days before the surgery, your doctor will possibly suggest you to stop taking certain over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Arrange in advance for someone to give you a ride home and take care of you for a few days after surgery. Call in any prescription medications you may require to help control pain after surgery.
On the day of your surgery, you’ll probably have to keep away from food and water in the hours leading up to the procedure. Your doctor will provide particular instructions.
Breast Reduction Procedure
After giving anesthesia, the surgeon will make an incision beginning at your areola (the pigmented area around the nipple) and continuing down to the underside of your breast. They’ll remove fatty tissue and skin to reduce the size of each breast. The surgeon is generally able to leave the nipple in place, but, in few cases, they may need to reposition it.
After Breast Reduction Surgery
After the surgery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze-type bandaging. Drainage tubes may be connected to your breasts to help get rid of excessive fluids from the initial swelling after surgery.
Your doctor will tell you when it’s safe to remove the bandages. Normally, you’ll wait up to a week before you’re able to wear a bra again. At that point, you’ll wear a special soft bra for many weeks.
Healing from Breast Reduction
While you may return home from the hospital on the same day as the surgery, you’ll require lots of time for rest and recovery.
Be careful to avoid any movement that would lead to muscle strain for many weeks after surgery. Don’t lift heavy weight more than 5 pounds.
Your breasts will be swelled and probably painful to the touch. With pain medication, you should be able to control the healing process better. You may also experience symptoms like numbness, itching, or general tiredness.
Based on how fast you recover, your doctor should be able to tell you when you can come back to your regular activities like work, exercise, or driving.
Risks Associated with Breast Reduction
While the risks of a breast reduction surgery tend to be minimal, some women may suffer from:
- reduced or loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts
- asymmetrical results (both breasts or nipples may not appear similar in size)
- complications with breast-feeding
- allergic reactions to anesthesia, surgical tape, or drugs used during the procedure
- long recovery time
Outcomes for Breast Reduction Surgery
Results after surgery are positive for many women. They get both the health and cosmetic benefits of reduced breasts.
Be careful that you may have to take new clothes to better fit your body, and it might take some time to mentally adjust to your modified appearance.
Also, keep in mind that it can take months for the swelling to completely subside. If your breasts don’t immediately look smaller, no need to worry. Check in with your doctor to make sure you’re healing at the right speed.
In few cases, you might require follow-up surgery to correct any mistakes or enhance the appearance of your breasts.
- Breast reduction. (n.d.)plastic.surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions–procedures/breast-reduction.aspx
- Breast reduction post-operative instructions. (2015, January)med.umich.edu/1libr/Surgery/PlasticSurgery/BreastReconstruction/BreastReductionPostop.pdf
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Breast reduction surgery. (2014, September 10)mayoclinic.com/health/breast-reduction-surgery/my00778