A breast reduction, also referred to as a reduction mammaplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is specifically designed to help women restore normal body proportions by lifting the breasts, reducing their size, and enhancing their shape or contour. The breast reduction surgery is often a vital treatment method for women with overly large and sagging breasts that are causing them discomfort. It can be effective at eliminating the negative physical symptoms, such as neck or back pain, groves in the shoulders from bra straps, and raw rashes in the folds under the breasts. Breast reductions are also beneficial for correcting noticeable incongruities for women with two very different sized breasts.
Candidates for a Breast Reduction
Candidates for a breast reduction surgery must be in good overall physical and emotional health, with no pre-existing health conditions or diseases. Patients should not have a breast reduction if they have a medical history of irregular mammograms, severe obesity, diabetes, smoking, blood clotting disorders, heart diseases, or wound healing disorders that cause the tendency to develop excessive scars. Candidates should possess realistic expectations for the results of the surgery and reasonable cause to undergo the procedure. Candidates should also have good elasticity in their skin, so that it will be easier for the breasts to bounce back to their former firmness and tightness after surgery.
Although breast reduction is most often performed after development has completed, adolescents with special circumstances may be considered candidates for a reduction. For patients who are losing weight, it is recommended that they are at a healthy weight and their own goal weight before having the surgery. Since pregnancy and breast feeding can have a significant effect on the shape and size, it is also suggested that women who want to have more children postpone the procedure until after having children.
About the Breast Reduction Procedure
Depending on the individual situation, the breast reduction surgery will be conducted in an inpatient or outpatient hospital facility. Either way, the surgery requires the patient to undergo general anesthesia to be put asleep for the duration of the procedure. While the surgery usually takes two to five hours to complete, it may sometimes take longer. For the breast reduction procedure, there are two distinctly different techniques that can be utilized depending on the size and shape. Most often, Dr. Pinsky will make an incision around the nipple or areola that extends down the front of the breast vertically to the fold under the breast, similar to an upside-down letter T.
Through this incision, Dr. Pinsky can then remove the extra tissue and skin to reduce the size of the breasts. In order to maintain normal sensitivity, the nipple remains intact with the essential underneath tissue, nerve, and blood supply. After the excess tissue is eliminated, the breast and nipple are lifted and reshaped for the desired appearance. If necessary, the darker pigmentation of the areola may also be reduced in size. Once the surgery is complete, the breasts will still retain the ability to breastfeed and feel the same nipple sensations.
Preparing for a Breast Reduction Surgery
During your initial consultation, you and plastic surgeon Mark Pinsky, MD will discuss all of the vital information that is necessary to ensure a favorable outcome. It is important to remember to be open about your personal needs and goals from the procedure. Be sure to inform Dr. Pinsky about your detailed medical history, list of current prescription or over-the-counter medications, and any allergies that could impact the surgery. Dr. Pinsky will also conduct a thorough examination of your breasts, take measurements of their size and shape, and evaluate the quality of your skin. The location of your nipples, areolas, and glands will also be considered to find the most optimal surgery technique.
Women who have a history of breast cancer or are above a certain age will be encouraged to have a mammogram before the surgery takes place. The mammogram will help to detect any future modifications in the breast tissue that could be signs of developing cancer growths. Before the surgery, you should also ask a friend or family member to drive you home from hospital and stay at your home for a minimum of one night after the surgery. It is also wise to prepare your home for the recovery period with plenty of gauze, washcloths, comfortable clothing, ice, and ointments recommended by Dr. Pinsky.
Recovering from a Breast Reduction Surgery
After the surgery has concluded, Dr. Pinsky will place draining tubes beneath the incisions to prevent accumulation of this fluid within your breast and apply dressings over the incisions. You should expect to feel chest discomfort, but rest assured that your surgeon will be able to prescribe pain medication to manage and minimize the pain effectively. Within a day after the procedure, your dressings will be changed and you will be encouraged to begin walking around for normal basic daily activities.
It is crucial that you avoid lifting objects, bending, or straining in any way because these movements can increase the risk for swelling and bleeding. You will also need to sleep on your back in order to avert the added pressure on the breasts from sleeping on your side. While it depends on your own personal recovery situation, most patients are able to return to office work within one or two weeks of the breast reduction. For jobs with a higher level of movement, please consult with Dr. Pinsky to establish a customized timeframe for returning to work. Your breasts may be slightly uncomfortable and swollen for up to two or three weeks.
During this time, Dr. Pinsky will provide a special surgical bra, since normal underwire bras are strictly prohibited in recovery. Although breast and nipple sensation may be lost immediately following surgery, the sensitivity will usually return within two to three months. Results from the breast reduction procedure will be noticeable immediately and gradually improve as the swelling is reduced in the first few weeks. The final results are long-lasting and enduring, but can be affected by future pregnancies, weight changes, or effects from aging.