Women with very large breasts find breast reduction surgery to greatly benefit their life. Patients not only have relief from their symptoms but also the ability to exercise better, wear more fitting clothes and many have psychological benefits. Of all surgeries that plastic surgeons perform, breast reduction ranks among the highest in patient satisfaction. Patients of most any age may have breast reduction surgery; however, most surgeons recommend waiting until after breast development has stopped. You may be a good candidate for breast reduction if you have any of the following problems:
- Neck, back or shoulder pain
- Shoulder notching from you bra strap
- Heavy, sagging breasts
- Breasts that are too large for your body size
- Irritation and rash beneath your breasts
- Difficulty with exercise and physical activities due to large heavy breasts
- One breast that is a lot larger than the other
What do I expect from the consultation?
The first step in having this surgery, of course, is the initial consultation. During this meeting, we will discuss your condition as well as any other medical conditions and medicines that might affect the surgery. We will discuss what size you would ideally like to be and make a determination of about how much breast tissue will need to be removed. If you have not had a baseline mammogram, you should do so if you are older than 35 years of age.
How is Breast Reduction surgery performed?
There are several techniques available for breast reduction. The method used depends upon the size of your breasts and amount of reduction to be performed. The surgery is performed with you under a general anesthesia.. You will go home the same day. For large reductions, we usually use a technique that leaves a scar around the areola, then down to the breast crease and extends horizontally in the breast crease. This technique allows removal of a large amount of breast tissue and skin safely. The breast will be firmer with a nice shape and the nipples in a more youthful position. The nipples are left attached to the breast tissue beneath them and most patients do not lose sensation. The size of the areolas can also be reduced. The ability to breast-feed is also usually preserved. Smaller reductions can be performed without the horizontal incision beneath the breast. The only scars are around the areola and the vertical scar down to the breast crease. The majority of patients have no complications. The most common is delayed healing of an incision and this rarely occurs unless a patient smokes. It is very important to not smoke at least 2 weeks before and after the surgery.
What can I do to prepare for our surgery?
- Do not smoke for two weeks before and after your surgery
- Avoid medications that can cause bleeding (aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Nuprin, etc) for about 10 days before the surgery.
- Arrange for help or special care following surgery.
Day of Surgery
After surgery you will spend approximately 1 hour in the recovery room. Bring a pillow to place between you and the seat belt for comfort. A friend or family member will need to drive you home. A surgical bra will be in place Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated to decrease swelling. Ice packs 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off may be helpful. Keep a cloth between you and the ice pack. You may notice drainage on your garment.
Day 1 After Surgery
Housework is restricted which included laundry and vacuuming for 2 weeks. No lifting over 10 lbs (which is approximately a gallon of milk). Take pain medication and stool softeners as needed for the next 2-3 days.
Day 2-7 After Surgery
Shower on day 2. Leave steri strips on. It is very important to keep the incision clean and dry. A zip up sports bra may be worn while laundering surgical bra. A bra is worn 24/7 for the next 4 weeks. Drainage may be noticed at the “T junction” of incision for a couple of days. Pain and swelling can be more on one side than the other. You will need to make a 1 week follow up appointment. Most people resume work after 5-7 day.
After 1st Week
Pain and swelling continue to improve. Cardio exercise may resume without arm involvement. Do not wear an underwire bra.
After 1 Month
After this visit, you will have no restrictions after 6 weeks.