Mention the words “cosmetic breast surgery,” and for most people, breast enlargement procedures are the first thing that comes to mind. After all, breast implants are a very popular cosmetic procedure, and they’ve been the subject of a lot of media attention, especially among celebrity news sources. But there’s another type of breast surgery that can also offer a considerable boost in self-esteem to many women with overly large breasts, as well as helping to relieve back pain, neck pain and other symptoms associated with heavy or pendulous breasts. It’s called breast reduction surgery, and last year, about 41,000 patients underwent the procedure to achieve a more pleasing profile and lead more comfortable lives.
What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that removes excess tissue, including fatty tissue and glandular tissue, from breasts that are overly large. Although media perception is that large breasts are desirable, for women who have very large breasts, the experience can be an uncomfortable one, physically and emotionally. Breast reduction surgery aims to achieve two primary goals:
- to help women who are self-conscious about their overly large breasts feel more attractive and self-confident and achieve a more pleasing profile (and find clothes that fit properly)
- to help reduce or eliminate back, neck and shoulder pain and deep shoulder “troughs” that develop as a result of supporting very heavy breasts so women feel more comfortable
What is the procedure like?
Breast reduction procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home the same day you have your procedure. Most procedures use an incision that encircles the areola (the colored tissue surround the nipple) and extends downward to the crease underneath the breast. Sometimes, the incision is extended along the fold to form an upside-down “T” shape. The type of incision depends on several factors, including the shape and size of the breast and the amount of tissue that needs to be removed.
Once the incision is made, excess tissue will be carefully removed and the nipple and areola will be repositioned to suit the new breast shape. Depending on your needs, whether or not you hope to breastfeed in the future and your own preferences, the nipple and areola may be completely detached and repositioned or they may simply be lifted upward to a higher location on the breast without being detached from the vessels, nerves and supportive tissues. Finally, the breast will be reshaped and the incisions will be closed. Most procedures take about three to four hours.
What is recovery like?
Immediately after your procedure, a dressing and special support garment will be applied to help promote healing and relieve swelling and discomfort. Most women can return to work in about a week to 10 days, but strenuous exercise may need to be avoided for several weeks to enable the area to heal properly. You’ll also need to avoid heavy lifting during healing. For a few days after surgery, you can expect to feel some discomfort which can be relieved with pain medication. Wearing a special supportive bra during this time can also help decrease discomfort. Follow-up visits will be scheduled once your surgery is complete, and you’ll also be provided with a complete set of instructions so you know what to expect throughout the recovery period.
Is breast reduction right for you?
Breast reduction surgery has helped millions of women feel more confident and more comfortable. To find out if breast reduction surgery is right for you, call our office or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation appointment today.