Large breasts and the weight of excess breast tissue can lead to physical discomfort, causing pain and physical conditions that impair a woman’s ability to lead an active life. Breast reduction surgery helps reduce the size of large breasts that are disproportionate to a woman’s body. It helps to correct the functional symptoms associated with large breasts, but also shape better proportioned breasts, enhancing a woman’s body image and self-confidence.
What is a Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of large breasts and to improve breast size, shape and the associated conditions of large breasts that include:
- Back, neck and shoulder pain caused by the weight of excess breast tissue
- Shoulder discomfort and indentation from bra straps that support heavy, pendulous breasts
- Restricted physical activity due to breast size and the associated discomfort
- Persistent rashes underneath and between the breasts
- Difficulty breathing
Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction surgery, an outpatient procedure, involves the surgical excision of surplus breast skin and tissue. The procedure typically takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision around your nipple, and the operating team will remove extra skin, tissue and fat from your breasts and reposition your nipple. Drainage tubes may be used, followed by a special gauze to wrap the breasts and treatment area. You may also need to wear a surgical bra.
How to Prepare
Before the day of surgery, your surgeon will likely evaluate your medical history and overall health, and discuss your expectations for breast size and appearance. A detailed description of the procedure and its risks and benefits will be provided, along with an explanation of the type of anesthesia used during surgery. Your surgeon may also examine and measure your breasts, take photographs for medical records, and complete various lab tests including a baseline mammogram.
Stop smoking before and after surgery – how long in advance and afterwards will be determined by your surgeon. Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements to help control bleeding during surgery.
What to Expect After Surgery
After the procedure, gauze is placed over the incision and the breasts are wrapped in an elastic bandage or supported with a special surgical bra. Stitches may be removed in 1 to 2 weeks. Breast tenderness and pain may accompany for the first few days after surgery, and then mild discomfort for a week or longer.
Medication can be prescribed to relieve the pain. Swelling and bruising may last for several weeks, and wearing a surgical bra 24 hours a day on a regular basis can help reduce swelling and support the breasts while they heal. Within a couple of weeks, you can resume normal activities, but avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for 3 to 4 weeks or more.
What to Consider
Breast reduction surgery may make breast feeding difficult or impossible in the future. While some may still be able to breastfeed after having breast reduction surgery, you should consult your surgeon to discuss risks and options.
Other risks associated with breast reduction surgery may include:
- Visible scarring on the breasts. How visible the scars are vary from person to person and depend on the type of incision. The incision point may appear red and swollen at first but scars typically fade over time.
- Loss of feeling in the nipples or breasts. This is often temporary, however, and will only last a few months.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have large breasts that limit your physical activity and cause pain or discomfort, breast reduction surgery may be the solution for you. Be sure to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nojan Talebzadeh to start discussing the best options available to you.