Breast Reduction Overview
A breast reduction can be a truly revitalizing procedure for women with overly large breasts. Large breasts may be considered desirable by many, but extremely large breasts can cause problems that most people can’t even imagine. From back and neck pain to constant unwanted attention, oversized breasts can cause misery.
Breast Reduction Process
The breast reduction process is designed to reduce the volume of the breasts – exactly the opposite of a breast augmentation. A breast reduction surgery does not dramatically change the way the breasts are positioned in most cases. It impacts only the amount of breast tissue. If there is significant sagging of the breast tissue, a combination breast reduction and lift may be recommended.
Breast reduction can improve breast symmetry, however, it is important to be aware that hyper-symmetrical breasts are not a realistic goal for anyone. After a breast reduction, the patient will have much less breast volume and will be much more proportionate overall.
Benefits of a Breast Reduction
The benefits of a breast reduction are numerous, and they can vary from person to person. These benefits include:
- Back pain relief
- Neck pain relief
- Improved ability to fit into clothes
- Improved self-esteem
Guide To Breast Procedures
Guide To Breast Augmentation
What I Wish I Knew
Preparing for Your Breast Reduction Surgery
During the breast reduction consultation, your doctor will give you specific guidelines for surgery preparation. Since the ideal candidate for a breast reduction is a person who is at a healthy weight, some patients need to lose weight before surgery.
All patients will need to undergo lab testing before surgery. These tests consist of simple blood collection so it can be verified that the patient doesn’t have any conditions that would prohibit surgery.
Patients will need to make a list of all current medications at least a couple of weeks prior to the breast reduction. your doctor and the office staff will review that list to determine if any medications should be discontinued prior to the surgery. Ibuprofen, aspirin, NSAID drugs, and even certain vitamins and supplements should not be taken for at least one week before surgery due to the potential of dangerous blood thinning.
Patients who smoke should stop smoking before surgery. Smoking can cause problems with proper blood flow and healing.
Breast Reduction Techniques
There are two different techniques commonly used in breast reductions. For extremely large breasts, the “Anchor” incision, also known as the keyhole incision, is the technique of choice. This method includes incisions around the areola, directly down the breast, and in the breast crease area.
The vertical incision technique is best for people who need a more moderate reduction. This technique has incisions that resemble a lollipop. A circular incision is made around the areola, and then a straight incision is made down to the breast crease.
Planning Your Breast Reduction Surgery
Planning a breast reduction should begin with a consultation with your doctor. Since patients generally need to allow for around one week of recovery time, the breast reduction surgery should be planned accordingly. Patients should discuss their job and lifestyle with their doctors so that the surgery can be planned at the optimal time.
Breast reduction surgery is done under general anesthesia. Patients may receive sedation to help them relax, and the anesthesia will then be administered. After the incisions are made, the excess tissue is removed. The skin is repositioned to compensate for the tissue loss and is then stitched into place using precise tiny stitches. On average, a breast reduction will take between two and three hours.
Recovery may be slightly different for each patient. Following the recovery guidelines from your doctor will help patients have the fastest and most comfortable recovery. The majority of patients can resume regular light activity within several days, and can typically return to work within one week following a breast reduction. Patients who have jobs that require heavy lifting or strenuous exercise will need to plan for extra recovery time.
Exercise After Breast Reduction
After a breast reduction, patients should avoid any strenuous exercise for six weeks. Because even moderate exercise can result in swelling and discomfort, your doctor strongly recommends that patients do only light exercise routines like walking until they are fully healed.
- Gauze dressings can be removed 24 to 48 hours post-surgery. If the gauze is bloody, replace it with fresh dressings.
- Heavy compression garments should be worn for at least two weeks post-surgery. After that, medium compression garments should be worn for an additional month. Highly supportive sports bras are a good choice. These compression garments should be worn at all times but can be removed for cleaning.
- Avoid showering (or any water exposure) for 24 hours after surgery. Avoid baths for an additional three to four weeks.
- It is normal to have some degree of pain during early recovery, but it is usually better after the first few days. Pain can be managed with prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. Use caution with narcotic medications, as they can have side effects like constipation. A stool softener can help with this. Take an over-the-counter antihistamine for itching in the breast area after surgery.
- Surgical tape stays in place for two to three weeks after surgery. Don’t shift or dislodge the tape, as this can interfere with healing. Avoid using topical creams or ointments near the surgical tape.
Every patient is unique. Your doctor may also have other specific aftercare instructions following a breast reduction. Follow all of the above instructions closely for the best breast reduction results.
Allow time for full healing. The final results may not be evident until about six weeks post-op. With realistic expectations and a positive approach to recovery, you will be able to achieve the beautiful new breasts you want.
Schedule a Consultation
A consultation with one of the caring, qualified plastic surgeons at Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery is the best way to find out if a breast reduction in Pensacola is right for you. Take the first step toward more aesthetic, proportionate breast contours by contacting our office to schedule a consultation.
Quick Facts About Breast Reduction
Patients of any age may be a candidate for breast reduction if they are experiencing symptoms related to excessively large breasts.
Breast Reduction Cost
The price of your breast reduction will depend on the surgical techniques required to achieve your desired results. All costs associated with your breast reduction surgery will be reviewed with you as part of your consultation.
Insurance may cover the cost of a breast reduction, provided that patients meet the criteria. Our office can provide you with information on the insurance criteria.
Heavy, Large, Pendulous, and/or disproportionate breasts
Lift, reshape and reduce breast size & weight.
Surgery Center or Hospital
Patients should be at a stable weight and cannot be using any nicotine containing substances. Patients should not be pregnant, breastfeeding or recently postpartum.
You should do mild/gentle stretching exercises immediately after breast reduction surgery to prevent your arm and chest muscles from getting tight. Light exercise is ok 1 week after surgery with your new breasts well supported. No arm exercises (other than stretching) for 3 weeks.
Depending on your type of work you can resume light office work as soon as you feel you are able to do so. Most people take about 1 week off of work following a breast reduction.
If present, should subside within 1-2 weeks.
Breast Reduction Procedure
Multiple incision patterns and subsequent scar patterns are used, depending on the existing breast size and shape. Some patients may only require a circumvertical (lollipop-shaped) scar in order to achieve the desired size reduction, weight reduction, and lift.
Most breast reduction patients require the addition of a horizontal scar at the bottom of the breast creating an “anchor-shaped” or “inverted T” scar to achieve the necessary reduction and lift. A breast reduction trades heavy and droopy breasts without scars for lighter and lifted breasts with scars.
The most critical portion of the procedure are the preoperative markings which are made before surgery in the preoperative holding area. A breast reduction involves tailoring the skin envelope and careful re-arrangement of the internal glandular architecture to reduce & reshape the breast tissue while maintaining adequate blood flow to the nipple.
This is an outpatient surgery. No hospital stay is required.
You will be able to walk around, feed and bathe yourself. Depending on your pain medication requirements, you may not be able to care for others or drive a car.
You are encouraged to walk around as much as possible to help reduce the risk of DVT and thromboembolism.
After 48 hours you should remove your dressings and take a shower.
Wait one week because you don’t want to increase your blood pressure during the early healing period. After one week, sex is ok ONLY if your partner is able resist touching your new breasts. You are the only person allowed to touch your breasts for the six weeks following surgery.
Usually peaks around three days and gradually goes away.
Inherent Risks & Complications
Hematoma, Infection, Poor scarring, Tissue necrosis, Need for revision, Complications related to anesthesia.
Secondary Breast Surgery
Breast Implant Removal
Before & After Gallery
Procedures are performed by board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, and Dr. Patterson in Pensacola, FL.
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