Breast reduction, also called reduction mammaplasty, enhances your overall appearance by making your breasts more proportional to the rest of your body.
Large, sagging breasts often interfere with normal physical activities. They can cause back pain, postural problems, deformities of the back and shoulders, skin rashes and breast pain. For these reasons, breast reduction generally is considered a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure. In addition to alleviating physical problems, however, it improves the shape of your breasts and nipple areas.
The operation usually is performed under general anesthesia and may be done on an outpatient basis or during a brief hospital stay. During the procedure, excess breast tissue and skin is removed, your nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) are repositioned, and your remaining breast tissue is reshaped.
A commonly performed breast reduction technique (see illustrations) uses incisions that encircle the areola and then extend vertically down the breast and horizontally along the crease underneath the breast. There are other breast reduction techniques that may eliminate the horizontal incision, the vertical incision, or both. The use of any particular pattern of incisions depends on individual patient factors and your surgeon’s recommendation. In some cases, lipoplasty alone, which leaves only small scars, may provide a sufficient amount of reduction.
After surgery, your breasts will be wrapped in a gauze dressing or placed in a surgical bra. You may be instructed to wear a supportive bra several weeks. Loss of breast or nipple sensation is possible, but usually is not permanent. You should avoid strenuous exercise and overhead lifting for at least a few weeks. You should be able to return to work within two weeks.
The surgical procedure is performed under general anesthetic and lasts roughly two hours.
The postoperative period is fairly painless.
The scar is an inverted T in most cases. The dressing must be changed every other day and a special support bra worn for six to eight weeks.
Complications are rare. Hypertrophic scarring may occur in very young patients whom we advise to use a silicone dressing during the first postoperative month.
In all cases scars fade with time as after any other type of surgery, but never completely disappear.
Breast hypertrophy is generally due to genetics, but may be influenced by hormonal disorder or excess weight. Sagging is usually present.
When breasts are very heavy patients suffer from back-ache as well as from their distorted body image and in these cases breast hypertrophy can be considered as a genuine handicap.