Women with excessively large breasts may be unhappy with the appearance of their chest, or may want to alleviate symptoms such as back pain, neck pain and headaches, or improve poor posture – all of which may be attributed to the enlarged size of their breasts. For women with any of these issues, breast reduction surgery may be an option. This procedure, also called reduction mammaplasty, removes fat and glandular tissue from the breasts while tightening the skin envelope, resulting in smaller breasts that may be more comfortable and in better proportion to the rest of the body.
In addition to pain and other symptoms, large breasts may also draw unwanted attention that can affect a woman’s self-esteem and make her uncomfortable with her appearance. Breast reduction can help patients regain confidence and enjoy a renewed self-image by creating a body contour they are proud of.
Prior to your procedure, Dr. Hutchinson will meet with you to discuss your goals and expectations for surgery, as well as to inform you of the details of your chosen procedure. This discussion is important in helping patients achieve the precise results they desire. Each procedure is fully customized for each individual patient.
Candidates for Breast Reduction
Ideal candidates for breast reduction surgery are women who are generally in good health and have oversized breasts that cause medical problems, low self-esteem, physical or social discomfort or frustrations with the size of their breasts. Women must not be pregnant or breastfeeding while undergoing this procedure.
It is important for patients to understand the details and risks associated with this procedure, and to have realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of their surgery.
Breast Reduction Procedure
The breast reduction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about two hours, depending on the techniques used and each patient’s individual case. There are several different types of incisions that may be used for this procedure. Dr. Hutchinson will determine the best type for you after evaluating your breasts.
- Traditional Breast Reduction Surgery – This technique involves an anchor-shaped incision and is ideal for women with extremely large breasts, although scarring is usually more apparent. Skin, fat and tissue can be removed from the sides and upper aspect of the breast and the nipples and areolas may be repositioned as well.
- Vertical Incision Breast Reduction – Also known as short-scar breast reduction, this technique involves incisions that extend only around the areola and down to the breast crease for a lollipop shape. The vertical incision technique is ideal for women with moderately large breasts who do not require extensive tissue removal and creates shapely results with less scarring than the traditional method.
- “Scarless” Breast Reduction – “Scarless” breast reduction uses liposuction techniques to reduce the size of the breast using tiny incisions which result in minimal, imperceptible scarring. Since liposuction only removes fatty tissue in the breast, patients who benefit most from this technique have more fatty tissue than glandular tissue. This technique is commonly used on men with enlarged breasts (gynecomastia correction) to remove excess breast tissue from the chest.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
After the breast reduction procedure, patients will likely experience soreness, swelling and bruising for several days. Patients usually wear a surgical bra for the first few weeks after surgery. Physical activity should be limited for one week, while exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for at least two weeks.
Patients will return for their first follow up appointment with Dr. Hutchinson within the first week after surgery. Sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed, and drains are not routinely used. It is important to see Dr. Hutchinson for regular follow-up visits to ensure that your breasts are healing properly.
Results of Breast Reduction
The results of the breast reduction procedure are noticeable immediately after surgery and will continue to improve as swelling and bruising subside. Scars will continue to fade with time and can usually be concealed by a bra, bathing suit or low-cut top.
Risks of Breast Reduction
Although breast reduction is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks include scarring, loss of sensation, asymmetry, inability to breastfeed and wound healing problems, as well as general surgical risks such as infection, bleeding and reaction to anesthesia. Most patients undergo this procedure with no serious complications.
Dr. Hutchinson will discuss these and other risks with you prior to surgery, as well as answer any questions you may have to ensure that you feel comfortable with your decision.