For many women, the size and shape of their breasts are of major importance. It can have a dramatic effect on her psychological, social, and medical well-being. Today, women who are troubled with unusually large, sagging, or uneven breasts, and experiencing discomfort from the weight of their breasts can be helped. By removing fat, skin, and glandular tissue from large breasts, reduction mammaplasty can create smaller breasts and make engaging in physical activity more comfortable.

PRIOR TO SURGERY

A complete medical history and a careful examination with blood tests will be done in the initial preoperative visit to determine the general health of the patient. The surgeon will also evaluate the shape and structure of the patient’s breasts, and determine the extent of surgery and approach required to achieve the desired shape. Photographs, that do not include the face, may also be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the extent of improvement. Moreover, the surgeon will discuss the procedure, realistic expected results, type of anesthesia to be used, and possible risks of surgery. Preoperative instructions generally include taking certain vitamins and elimination of certain drugs, such as birth control pills, to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Furthermore, antibiotics may be prescribed for the days prior to surgery in order to prevent infection.

THE OPERATION

Breast Reduction is generally performed in an outpatient surgical facility under general anesthesia or IV sedation and the procedure usually lasts two to four hours. One frequently used technique involves the use of a keyhole shaped incision around the upper nipple area. From this incision, excess fat, tissue and skin are removed. The incisions are brought together in a manner to relocate the nipple and areola and they are closed with small sutures.

AFTER SURGERY

Patients are usually allowed to go home after surgery. A surgical dressing is placed to protect the incisions and a supportive bra may be required for the first three weeks. The breasts may be swollen and bruised for the first few days and any pain experienced can be controlled with oral medication. Furthermore, the breast and nipples may be numb, but this usually subsides as the swelling decreases within the next six weeks or so. Healing is gradual, and although light activity can be resumed within a few days routine exercising and vigorous activity should be avoided, the surgeon will describe details of when normal activity can be resumed. Sutures are removed in about a week and the scars will be red and lumpy for the first months, fading to light lines over time.

RISKS

Breast Reduction operations are normally safe, but as with any surgery there are complications such as bleeding and infection. To help ensure a safe outcome the patient should adhere to the physician’s instructions.