Overview

Breast reduction surgery is a procedure used to remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts. The surgery is helpful in reducing the size of large breasts and makes the breast size proportionate to your body.

Breast reduction surgery improves your breast size which therefore boosts your self-image. To get good results, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. Also, you should understand what breast reduction surgery entails including the risks and complications to set up realistic expectations from it.

Why it’s done?

Breast reduction surgery is done to reduce the size of large breasts that resolve many issues such as:

  • Chronic back, neck and shoulder pain 
  • Skin irritation under the breasts
  • Nerve pain
  • Poor self-image related to large breasts
  • Discomfort to wear fitting bras and clothing

Breast reduction treatment generally isn’t recommended if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have medical conditions 
  • Are very obese

 

Risks

Breast reduction procedure has some risks as any other type of major surgery which includes bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. Other possible risks include:

  • Bruising
  • Scarring
  • Loss of sensation in the nipples and skin surrounding the nipples 
  • Difficulty to breast-feed
  • Differences in the size, shape and symmetry of the surgically altered breasts.

 

How you prepare?

Your surgeon will:

  • Evaluate your medical history and overall health
  • Ask your expectations for breast size and appearance after the surgery
  • Give you a detailed description of the procedure and its risks and benefits
  • Examine and measure your breasts
  • Take photos of your breasts for the medical record
  • Explain the type of anesthesia used during surgery

Before breast reduction surgery procedure, your surgeon might ask you to:

  • Complete various lab tests
  • Get a baseline mammogram
  • Stop smoking 
  • Avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements

You can check with your surgeon whether you’ll be able to go home the same day of the surgery or whether you’ll need to spend a night in the hospital. 

What you can expect?

The surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, either in a hospital or at surgical facility.

During the procedure

The specific technique used to reduce the size of your breasts can vary. The procedure might include:

  • Surgery through incisions
  • Liposuction to remove the excess fat in your breasts

The surgeon makes an incision around the areola and down each breast to removes excess breast tissue, fat to reduce the size of each breast. The surgeon then reshapes and repositions the nipple and areola of the breast.

The nipple and areola may be removed and then reattached at a higher position as a skin graft if your breasts are very large. 

The surgeon will try to achieve symmetry between both the breasts however some variation in breast size and shape might occur. The incision scars might fade over time but will never completely disappear.

After the procedure

After the surgery:

  • Your breasts will be covered with a gauze dressing or bandages
  • To drain excess blood or fluid, a tube is placed under the arm
  • You need to take medication for pain to avoid the risk of infection

During initial days after surgery:

  • Your breasts will feel tender and sensitive
  • Your breasts might be swollen and bruised
  • Your surgeon might recommend an elastic compression bra to protect the breasts

Also, after surgery:

  • You need to limit physical activity for till the breasts heal
  • Avoid underwire bras for a few months after surgery

Though scarring usually fades over time but if you face any complication, you need to visit your surgeon to check your recovery.

Results

A successful female breast reduction surgery can help to get relief from pain in your upper back, neck and shoulders. You will also like to participate in physical activities as it promotes a more positive self-image.

Though you’ll see results immediately but it can take months for the swelling to completely go down and the surgical scars to fade. The final result is successful and permanent but the breast shape and size can change due to factors such as aging and weight gain or loss.