If you are a woman with overly large breasts, breast reduction surgery can be a tremendously life-enhancing option. Having the procedure will give you far more that just smaller, firmer breasts. You’ll also get significant relief from many physical and emotional discomforts, a new sense of freedom in your exercise and physical activity, and the ability to wear a greater variety of clothing styles. In fact, of all the procedures plastic surgeons perform, breast reduction ranks among the highest in patient satisfaction.
Breast reductions, also called reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure that removes excess breast tissue and skin, making your breast more proportional to the rest of your body. The areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) may be reduced and repositioned as well.
Breast reduction can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Childbirth and breast-feeding may affect the size and shape of your breast. If you plan to breast-feed in the future, you should discuss this with Dr. Yalamanchi.
You may be a good candidate for breast reduction if you have any of the following conditions:
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain, caused by the weight of your breasts
- Heavy, sagging breast with very low nipples and areolas
- Breasts that are too large in proportion to your body frame
- Skin irritation beneath the breasts
- Indentation in your shoulders caused by tight bra straps
- Restriction of physical activity due, to the size and weight of your breasts
- Feeling of self-consciousness about the large size of your breasts
- One breast that is much larger than the other
Dr. Yalamanchi will discuss the different methods with you to help determine which is best. The most common method is in a three-part incision. One part of the incision is made around the areola (nipple area.) Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third part is a horizontal incision beneath the breast, which follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
After the excess breast tissue, fat, and skin have been removed, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which is usually larger than ideal, is reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located around the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sutures close the incisions, giving the breast its new contour. Scars are permanent, but will fade with time.
Liposuction may also be used to improve the contour, especially on the sides of the breasts. The nipples and areola usually remain attached to their underlying tissue as they are moved to their higher position – much like a button being moved to a higher buttonhole – and this may allow for the preservation of sensation. This method may also preserve the ability to breast-feed, although it is not guaranteed.
The type of incision used for you breast reduction may vary, depending on the size and shape of your breasts and the desired amount of reduction. Women, who seek a smaller reduction in size, may be able to avoid the horizontal incision that runs underneath the breast. Other incision techniques may be used in some instances. Women, whose breasts contain a significant amount of fatty tissue, may find that liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size with only minimal scars.
Each year, thousands of women undergo breast reduction and experience no major complications. However, it is important for you to be informed of the risks as well as the benefits. One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and Dr. Yalamanchi will have about the possible complications of breast reductions surgery. In addition to listening carefully to what Dr. Yalamanchi tells you, be sure to ask any questions or concerns that you may have about the safety of the procedure.
How will I look and feel right after surgery?
When surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. In some cases, small drainage tubes will have been places beneath the breast skin to help prevent fluids from accumulating. Gauze dressings will be placed on your breasts and covered with elastic bandage or surgical bra.
On the day of surgery, you’ll be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. Most of the discomfort you feel in the days following the procedure can be controlled with medication prescribed by Dr. Yalamanchi.
Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recover will follow this general time line:
Within the first week:
- You will begin to move about more comfortable and perhaps even return to (non strenuous) work
- Surgical drains will be removed and dressings will be changed
After several weeks:
- Bruising, swelling and normal periodic discomfort will diminish
- You can discontinue wearing a support bra
- Sensation within the nipple and areola area will gradually improve
- You may return to most of your normal activities, including mild exercise
After a few months:
- Your breast will start settling into a more natural shape
- Incision lines will begin to fade
- If you haven’t felt it sooner, you will notice relief from neck, back and shoulder pain
What should I know about my results?
Without the excessive weight of large breasts, you may find that you enjoy life more. Your body will look better proportioned, clothes will fit you better and you’ll have greater freedom to enjoy physical activities. Although the incision lines will be permanently visible, they will fade over time and are easily concealed by clothing – even most swimsuits and tops with low-cut necklines.
Breast reduction typically makes a dramatic change in your body image, and it may take some time to adjust to your new appearance. However, most women soon become comfortable with their smaller, more proportional breasts and feel very pleased with the results of surgery.
You can expect to maintain your new breast size, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant. If, over time, the effects of gravity and aging cause your breast to lose their shape or firmness, you may choose to undergo a cosmetic breast lift to help restore a more youthful contour. Their firm, uplifted contours can affect a women’s self-image confidence.