With the view of improving your self-image or increasing your capacity to partake in sports and other physical activities, breast reduction is a notable surgical option.
If you are thinking about undergoing a breast reduction, or want to find out more information on what it consists of, then we would suggest reading our comprehensive guide. Within in, we will cover everything you need to know prior, during and after surgery, subsequently allowing you to make an informed decision as to whether it is right for you.
Breast reduction surgery is the common term used to describe reduction Mammaplasty. In a nutshell, it covers the surgical process of reducing the size of your breasts. The main concept behind the procedure is to remove surplus skin, fat and tissue from the breast area and subsequently, reposition your nipple.
The surgeon that performs the procedure will most commonly make an incision around the nipple area, followed by a downward cut on the breast. Although treatment varies from patient-to-patent, breast reduction surgery usually takes in the region of two to five hours to complete.
As will be discussed further down, patients undergoing a breast reduction will need to ensure that they take ample care post-surgery, which will include a resting period of at least one week.
There are a wide variety of reasons why you might be considering a breast reduction. Whilst these will need to discussed with your surgeon during your consultation period, we have listed some of the most common reasons below.
Breast reduction surgery is often the only option to alleviate issues that come with excessively large breasts
Large breasts can result in a number of ongoing issues, which in some cases, can lead to various forms of pain and discomfort. One such example of this is pain around the shoulder, back and neck areas. Whilst medication can assist with the pain, in some cases it does not alleviate it in its entirety.
Large breasts can also lead to skin irritation or rashes. If so, this is usually underneath the breasts. A further pain-related issue as a result of large breasts is that of nerve pain. Those that are accustomed to large breasts might be restricted from performing certain physical activities, such as sports.
You might also be experiencing the ongoing saga of not being able to properly fit in to clothing such as bras. If your breasts are too large it might be affect your self-image and as such, lead to issues with confidence.
The reasons why you might be considering a breast reduction are not exclusive to the above examples. If the motivating factors are linked to something else, it is well worth contacting the practice to speak with a qualified advisor.
What to consider prior to breast reduction
As with all surgical procedures, there are a number of things that you need to consider prior to going ahead. Once again, although these factors will be discussed in more detail during your consultation, we would suggest you consider the following.
- Scaring: If you are not prepared for scars on your breasts after having a breast reduction, then the procedure might not be suitable.
- A breast reduction is generally not suitable for those that a very obese.
- Medical Conditions: There are certain medical conditions that might prevent you from undergoing a breast reduction. Commonly, this might include heart-related problems or diabetes.
- It is also worth noting that if you are a heavy smoker, you may not be able to undergo a breast reduction. This is directly related to the recovery period.
- Breast Feeding: If you are planning to give birth in the future, then undergoing a breast reduction is potentially not recommended. Doctors advise that you may face issues regarding breast feeding if you have previously undergone the breast reduction process.
- Weight Loss: It is also worth re-considering your plans to undergo a breast reduction if the underlying motivation is linked to weight loss. By engaging in a long-term weight loss program, a reduction in breast size is often a result. This can be achieved by combining a regular exercise routine with a change of diet.
Before breast reduction surgery
Before you are able to undergo breast reduction surgery, you will first need to meet with a qualified surgeon. This consultation period is utilized to gain a better understanding of your individual circumstances.
Initially, this will consist of a discussion on what you expect to achieve from a breast reduction, including factors such as your desired size. The surgeon will then need to go through your medical history.
As previously mentioned, certain medical conditions may prevent you from undergoing the procedure. The surgeon will also need to be made aware of any medications that you are currently on.
Next, there will be a brief physical examination. It is likely that the surgeon will want to examine and subsequently take measurements of your breasts. For the purpose of medical records, the surgeon will also likely take photographs.
Once the physical examination is complete, the surgeon will then explain the end-to-end breast reduction process in its entirety. This will also include a full break down of any associated risks.
To conclude, you will get the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. It is important to note that undergoing a consultation period does not commit you to surgery. Moreover, neither does it guarantee you are suitable, as this will be ascertained during the consultation.
How do I prepare for breast reduction surgery?
Once you have gone through the consultation process and received confirmation of the time and date of surgery, there are a number of things that you should do to prepare.
First and foremost, it is imperative that you refrain from smoking in the weeks leading up to surgery. Smoking can directly impact your recovery time, so it is also important that you stop smoking for a certain period after surgery too.
There will be a range of medications that you need to avoid. Although the surgeon will go through this in more detail, this most commonly involves anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin, as well as a range of herbal supplements.
As you will be in some discomfort post-surgery, it is also important to arrange for somebody to collect you from the practice.
Due to the discomfort that the vast majority of patients experience, it is also a good idea to book time off work. If possible, you should think about taking at least a week to recover at home.
Ultimately, just make sure that you follow the advice and guidance provided to you by your surgeon.
So now that we’ve covered the basics of what you need to do prior to surgery, we are now going to explain what the breast reduction procedure entails.
During breast reduction surgery?
The underlying breast reduction process can vary from patient-to-patient, so the following should be taken as a guide only.
First and foremost, due to the nature of the operation, you will initially need to undergo general anesthesia. This means that you are put in a sleep-like-state, subsequently ensuring that you do not feel any pain, discomfort or trauma during surgery.
The anesthesia is most commonly administered by combining inhaled gasses and intravenous drugs. Once you are sedated, the surgeon will then proceed to make the incisions. In most cases, the surgeon will do this around the areola area, followed by a cut downward on each breast.
Next, the surgeon will then proceed to begin the process of removing surplus fat, skin and tissue. This results in a reduction of each breast. After the removal process, the surgeon will then likely reposition the areola and nipple, as well as reshape the breasts.
Depending on the individual patient, there might be a requirement to initially remove the nipple and areola, before reattaching it to a higher location. This is usually the case if your breasts are very large. Otherwise, the nipple and areola remain in place.
It is important to note that while every effort will be made to ensure that your resulting breasts remain symmetrical, in some cases there might be a very slight variation between shape and size. You also need to recognise that any resulting scars, although they might reduce over time, will never disappear completely.
Once again, although it will vary from patient-to-patient, breast reduction surgery usually takes between 2-5 hours.
After breast reduction surgery
Once surgery is complete, you will more than likely be in a state of discomfort, In order to alleviate this, you will be provided with painkillers and potentially, antibiotics. This will also reduce the threats of infection. A bandage or gauze dressing will also be used to cover your breasts. Moreover, if surplus fluid or blood needs to be drained, a tube may be positioned under your arms.
During the first week of post-surgery care, you breasts may feel somewhat sensitive. In terms of appearance, they might also appear bruised and swollen. With the view of protecting your breasts after surgery, it might be recommended that you use an elastic compression bra. Until your breasts have healed, it is best to avoid any physical activity for at least a month.
Ultimately, you want to avoid any unnecessary stress on the affected area until you have fully recovered. To ensure this can be achieved, it is advised to wear loose and comfortable clothes. It is also worth having plenty of ice on hand, to help with any swelling.
Common Concerns (Risks)
As is the case with all surgical procedures, you need to understand that there will always be a range of associated risks. This will of course be explained to you in far greater detail during your respective consultation, however we have listed some of the most common concerns below.
As mentioned earlier, you must be prepared for scaring, which is a direct result of breast reduction surgery. Although there is the potential that scars will fade in the months after the procedure, they will never disappear completely.
If you do not follow the guidance provided to you by your surgeon regarding aftercare, you face the risk of making the scars worse. In rarer cases, there are also risks associated with the inability to breast-feed. Moreover, there is also the possibility that the shape and size of your breasts do not result in complete symmetry. This might require further surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from potential candidates. If we have failed to answer a specific question or concern that you might have, please feel free to contact the practice.
How long does breast reduction surgery take?
Whilst each and every patient is different, breast reduction surgery usually takes in the region of 2-5 hours to complete.
Do I need to remain overnight after breast surgery?
In some cases yes. However, some patients are able to leave the same day. This will be explained to you by your surgeon. Either way, you will need to pre-arrange for somebody to collect you from the practice, as you will not be in a fit state to drive home safely.
How much does a breast reduction cost?
There is no hard and fast rule regarding cost. The key reason for this is that each patient will have their own underlying circumstances. Once the surgeon has performed a full consultation, they will be able to provide you with a breakdown of costings.
Will I need to take time off work after undergoing a breast reduction?
As the post-surgery discomfort will be at its greatest during the first week, it is highly advisable to take some time off work. Even simple tasks such as showing and bathing will be a challenge. You are best to spend at least a week recovering at home. Failure to engage in a full recovery can cause further complications.