Although many patients seek larger breasts by augmentation, having very large breasts isn’t always ideal and many patients would like to reduce their size. Very large breasts can cause significant problems including back, neck and shoulder pain, skin irritation and difficulties getting clothes to fit or with exercise. If you’re tired of dealing with the problems of larger breasts, a breast reduction could be an ideal option.
A breast reduction is a highly effective technique for reducing the size of large breasts and removing these associated problems – in particular, the back and neck pain usually settles quickly after the procedure.
How are your requirements for breast reduction assessed?
Patients requirements for breast reduction surgery are assessed in clinic. The current size, associated problems and the desired breast size area determined. A number of detailed measurements are taken to assess the best technique applicable to produce the results required and an indication of the likely results demonstrated.
How is a breast reduction performed?
There are a number of different breast reduction techniques and the procedure recommended will depend on the size of your breasts and your desired breast size. Whichever technique is used, an incision will usually be placed around the nipple and vertically below. There will also be an incision hidden in the fold under the breast – the length varies depending on the degree of reduction.
The nipple is isolated on a tongue of tissue that maintains its blood and main nerve supplies. The excess glandular tissue, fat and skin are removed and the remaining breast tissue reshaped, moving the nipple to a higher position on the summit of the breast mound and the incisions closed. The overall result produces smaller, better-shaped, perter breasts, positioned higher on the chest wall. Any asymmetries are also corrected.
Small drains are usually placed at the end of the procedure to allow any fluid to drain, these are normally removed the morning after surgery. At completion of surgery, a two-layer dressing is applied and a thin Lycra bra is worn.
Breast reduction surgery is carried out under a general anaesthetic and a night in hospital after surgery is usually required.
How long is the recovery after breast reduction?
A week after the procedure the top layer of the dressings are changed, and the patient returns for both layers to be removed, along with a small number of fine stitches, at 2 weeks from surgery. The dressings should be kept dry during this time. A thin Lycra or cotton bra is worn for six weeks post-op.
The recovery period varies between patients, but most find they can go back to work within two weeks. Normal sporting activities can be resumed after 4-6 weeks.
How does breast reduction affect breastfeeding?
With most types of breast reduction, breastfeeding is usually not possible, or otherwise very limited, after the procedure. Patients need to weigh this against the benefits of the procedure.
How should I prepare for breast reduction surgery?
Smoking and all forms of nicotine must be avoided for at least 6 weeks before surgery and 4 weeks after to allow adequate wound healing, and blood supply to the nipple and other breast tissues. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg Aspirin, Ibuprofen/Nurofen, Voltarol and Naproxen) must be avoided for 2 weeks before and 3 weeks after surgery as these drugs interfere with blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding post-op.
A high protein diet, vitamin C, Multi-vitamins and Minerals (Zinc and Iron) supplements should be taken around the time of surgery to aid wound healing.
Operative time: 3-3.5 hours
Hospital stay: 1 night or day surgery in some cases
Dressing changes: 1 and 2 weeks
Time off work: 2 weeks
Time away from exercise: 4-6 weeks