Breast Reduction is technically referred to as a Reduction Mammaplasty. It is a procedure designed to reduce the size of the breast by removing breast tissue, fat and skin giving the breasts a smaller, lighter, firmer feeling. The areola, the pigmented skin around the nipple, can be reduced during the same procedure. Typically, women seeking consultation for a breast reduction often have the following complaints:
- Indentations in the shoulders made by bra straps
- Persistent neck or back pain
- Rashes and/or the inability to keep hygiene below the breast
- Disproportionate breast size to body shape
- Breast asymmetry
- Breathing problems
In most cases, a Reduction Mammaplasty is performed for relief of physical symptoms rather than cosmetic improvement. The majority of women seeking this procedure struggle with large, pendulous, sagging breasts that significantly inhibit their activity and cause physical discomfort. A Breast Reduction is performed when a patient’s breasts are fully developed and a patient has realistic expectations of the results. If a patient is intending on breast feeding, it may be best to delay their operation until after child bearing years.
This is your time to get to know Dr. Stiller and the staff at Linea. Be sure to convey your goals and expectations for the surgical procedure. Dr. Stiller will evaluate your medical health and explain the surgical technique of a breast reduction. All of your questions related to the procedure will be answered as thoroughly as possible. A breast examination will be performed assessing the quality of your skin and breast tissue at the consultation. Surgical options will be discussed and you and Dr. Stiller will select the best procedure based on your goals. Dr. Stiller will go over the risks and potential complications and will explain the pre-operative and post-operative process.
All procedures carry some uncertainty and risks. Listed below are some of the potential risks/complications:
- Bleeding- As with any surgery, bleeding is a risk. This may form a blood collection called a hematoma and may require drainage. It is important to discuss any history of excessive bleeding or family history of bleeding.
- Infection- Infection is relatively uncommon. Antibiotics will be given to you during the surgery and will usually be taken after the surgery.
- Scar- Scars from a breast reduction are permanent. Scars may widen after the surgery and typically fade over time.
- Asymmetry- Some asymmetry in breast size, position or size of your nipples is possible.
- Nipple sensation change- Some woman experience increased sensation, decreased sensation, or loss of sensation. These symptoms may disappear in time but are occasionally permanent.
During your consultation an explanation of pre-operative and post-operative plan will be reviewed. You will be given a list of medication to avoid taking two weeks prior to the operation. A Linea staff member will contact you a few days before the surgery and notify you what time you are expected to arrive for your procedure and discuss any last minute details. At this time, you will be given an opportunity to ask any further questions. Continuing a healthy diet and exercise is very important prior to surgery. Smoking must be stopped two weeks prior to surgery.
Do not eat or drink eight hours before your surgery. You should wear a button down or zipper front shirt and sneakers. Do not wear sandals or slippers. You will meet with a member of our staff to prepare for surgery. Dr. Stiller will see you prior to your surgery to answer any final questions and meet family or friends. You will meet with our anesthesia provider to discuss anesthesia. For family or friends that accompany you, we have a lounge area to comfortably pass the time. You will need someone to drive you home after the operation and stay with you the first 24 hours after the surgery is completed.
A Breast Reduction can be performed with sedation or general anesthesia.
Typically, a Reduction Mammaplasty takes between two and four hours. Excess skin is removed and the breast tissue is reshaped moving the nipple and areola into a higher position. The scar resulting from the procedure can range around the areola and down, or around the areola-down-across the lower fold of the breast. The most common scar is anchor shaped. Scar size and shape depends on the amount of skin needing to be removed and elevation the breast required.
Following your surgery, you will have post-operative dressing and a surgical bra. You may also have a drainage tube under your breasts. This tube will be removed when drainage decreases. Generally, you can expect to feel tired and sore for a few days following the breast reduction, but we want you walking immediately after the surgery. Swelling and bruising is expected and generally takes a few weeks to subside. The majority of your discomfort can be controlled by prescribed pain medications. The gauze and dressing will be removed at your first post-operative visit by Dr. Stiller. You will be required to wear the surgical bra around the clock for three to four weeks. Stitches will be removed 10 days after the operation. Numbness of the skin and nipple may occur. This usually goes away when the swelling decreases; however, it may persist for up to a year, and occasionally can be permanent.
You should be able to get back to work in a few days or a couple of weeks, depending on the type of work. Avoid lifting above your head for one month. Your physician will direct you regarding resuming exercise and normal activities during your follow-up evaluations. Healing is a gradual process. Initially, scars will be red, but should fade over time. Avoid breast stimulation until the soreness of your breast is relieved, usually a few weeks.
You will get the most satisfaction with a Breast Reduction if you understand the procedure thoroughly. Discuss all your expectations with Dr. Stiller at the initial consultation to get the best result. During the procedure, Dr. Stiller will attempt to leave the scars inconspicuous; however, initially, will be red and firm. Scars typically fade over time. They should be hidden by a bra or low cut tops. It is important to remember that a breast reduction won’t keep your breast firm forever. Gravity, aging, pregnancy and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again.