Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction Options:

There are several common techniques that may be utilized during a breast reduction procedure. The size and shape of your breasts, size of your areolas, and the desired reduction amount of the patient are factors that will help your surgeon determine the best technique for you. Incisions may be made in one of three ways:

• Around the areola.
• Vertically downward from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast.
• Horizontal beneath the breast and follow the natural curve of the breast crease.

After the surgeon has removed excess breast tissue, fat and skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which in large breasts usually has been stretched, also is reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Your surgeon will discuss beforehand with you which method to utilize for your desired outcome and individual circumstance.

What to expect:

After a breast reduction, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a surgical support bra. Small tubes might be placed at the incision sites in your breasts to drain any excess blood or fluid from the surgical sites. You will be able to move around normally; however, actions that involve lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise should be avoided until the breasts have completely healed. You may be instructed to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts. Pain medication and antibiotics may be prescribed to help alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of infection. Sexual activity should be limited during the two weeks after surgery. Any surgical drains will be removed within a few days of surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. Generally, stitches will be removed in stages over a period of approximately three weeks, beginning about one week after surgery. You may be instructed to wear a support bra for a few weeks, until the swelling and discoloration of your breasts diminish. Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You’ll likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which will be red or pink for a few months. You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas. Sensation loss is usually temporary and may take weeks, months or even more than a year to return to normal. Your breasts may also require some time to assume a more natural shape. The breast reduction procedure will leave some scarring along the incision sites. While scars are permanent, they’ll soften and become thin and white within one to two years. The scarring will generally follow along the natural lines of the breast and can usually be hidden by bras and bathing suits. The extent of the scars will depend largely on your body’s ability to heal. Scarring is usually more extensive in smokers. The results from a breast reduction should be long lasting. Once corrected, the breasts should remain relatively stable, assuming weight does not fluctuate greatly. Maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help you retain your results. Over time skin inelasticity due to aging and gravity may make another procedure necessary to retain the desired results.

Breast Reduction Risks:

Each year thousands of women undergo successful breast reduction surgery, experience no major problems and are happy with the results. Significant complications from breast reduction are infrequent. However, make sure you understand what surgery involves, including possible risks, complications and follow-up care. Breast reduction surgery poses various risks, including:

• Diminished sensitivity or permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or areas of breast skin.
• Irregularities or asymmetry in the shape and size of the breasts.
• The areolas (the pigmented area around the nipples) may appear uneven.
• Irregularities or asymmetry in the shape and size of the breasts (This could occur as a result of changes during the healing process, or surgery might not successfully correct pre-existing asymmetry).
• Rarely, the blood supply to the nipple or areola is interrupted during a breast reduction. This can damage breast tissue in the area and lead to the partial or total loss of the nipple or areola.
• Rarely, poor healing can cause scars to become thick and wide.
• Difficulty breast-feeding.

Revisionary surgery may sometimes be helpful in certain instances where incisions may have healed poorly. Like any major surgery, a breast reductions surgery poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the procedure You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your surgeon, both before and after your breast reduction surgery. If you have any concerns about the risks involved with the breast lift surgery, please consult your surgeon.

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