Breast Reduction, or Reduction Mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of and reshape the contour of the breasts by removing excess breast skin and underlying tissue. This effectively reduces the weight of heavy breasts.
Heavy, pendulous breasts can produce medical problems such as back and neck pain and skin irritation as well as problems associated with other aspects of daily living such as the ability to exercise or to fit into clothing suitably.
For this reason, breast reduction is one of the most rewarding procedures performed by a Plastic Surgeon. This procedure is permanent, although the size of breasts may increase with weight gain, hormonal changes or pregnancy.
Who is the Best Candidate for a Breast Reduction?
Women who are in good general health and who have disproportionately large sagging breasts are good candidates for reduction mammaplasty. If your breasts are not too large but are sagging, you may be a better candidate for a Mastopexy or breast lift procedure rather than a reduction. This Surgery is usually performed after the breasts are fully developed.
What to Expect
If the procedure is performed for Medical reasons as a general rule, it attracts a benefit from Medicare in the form of a rebate. You will need to obtain a referral from your general practitioner.
At your initial consultation with your Surgeon, the weight and size of your breast will be assessed and the distance from your collarbone to your nipple measured to assess the degree of sagging. If you have some idea of the bra size that you would like to be, mention this to your Surgeon so that an accurate picture of your expectations can be foreseen. Every patient has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape of breasts, so it is important to discuss this in full with the Doctor. You should also discuss where the nipple and areolar will be positioned. They will be moved higher during the procedure and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breasts. The size of the areolar can be reduced if required.
Be frank in your discussions remembering to mention any medications that you may be taking, especially if you are taking Aspirin or Aspirin related products as this may need to be ceased prior to surgery. A preoperative mammogram may be ordered to assess the quality of the breast tissue.
Breast Reduction requires a general anaesthetic with a minimum of one night stay as an inpatient in Hospital. You may prefer two or three nights in Hospital following this procedure. The surgery itself takes from two to three and a half hours.
Prior to the surgery, your surgeon will mark your breasts with a surgical marker giving guidelines as to the best lines for the incision. Generally, incisions are made vertically and horizontally following the natural lines of the breast. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a higher location after the excess skin, fat and breast tissue is removed. When the nipple has been repositioned, the skin on both sides of the breast is moved down to form the new breast. The incisions are closed under the breast. Where the vertical and horizontal suture lines meet is called the „T Zone‟.
All surgery carries some risk and uncertainty. It is impossible to predict every outcome because everyone is different. Breast Reduction is normally a safe procedure providing the clients have been carefully selected, the surgeon is adequately trained in the procedure as well as having training in General Surgery.
Complications in the short term include infection, which is treated with antibiotics and dressings and haematoma, or a collection of fluid under the skin which may need drainage.
Complications in the long term include wound breakdown from persistent infection, requiring continued antibiotics and dressings, thick or hypertrophic scar formation which may require surgical revision or injections, loss of the nipple requiring further grafting or nipple reconstruction, asymmetry and some long-term loss of sensation of the nipple due to damage to the sensory nerves to that area.
After discharge from the Hospital, you will be required to attend our rooms on a regular basis for checking of dressings and removal of sutures. Sutures are generally removed at seven to ten days, however, this time may be extended depending on each individual case. You will need to continue wearing your support bra day and night for one month following your surgery. You will find that it takes as long as six months for the breasts to fall into their new shape.
You can return to work approximately two weeks after your surgery providing your occupation does not involve heavy lifting or excessive arm work. A gentle walking programme can be resumed as soon as you feel fit enough to do so.
Breast Reduction can enhance your appearance and improve your self-confidence and self-esteem. Without the encumbrance of a large bosom, you can participate more actively in many more activities with comfort and confidence. Clothing will fit easier and look better, and the burden of back and neck pain and skin irritation will be gone.