Breast reduction surgery is a highly beneficial cosmetic procedure for women in whom most of their breast volume is in the sagging lower portion of the breast and/or women suffering from heavy or sagging breasts. The decision to reduce breast size helps in alleviating with breast pain, shoulder pain, back pain, nipple numbness, and shoulder grooves from heavy bra straps. Breast reduction can tremendously improve the size and shape of your breasts and body image. Following surgery, your breasts will be more proportional to the rest of your body, and your clothes will fit better.
While a breast reduction is possible for women of any age, most plastic surgeons prefer to wait until breast development has stopped. Extreme physical changes like childbirth and breast-feeding may have detrimental or unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Despite these issues, many women choose to undergo breast reduction prior to having children. It is important to discuss your future plans with your plastic surgeon if you plan to breast-feed in the future.
Prior to surgery, a careful examination of each breast is performed to ensure no abnormalities are present. General anesthesia is normally used for breast reduction surgery, and typically lasts for about four hours. The most commonly practiced method of breast reduction involves three incisions. The incisions may be slightly conspicuous and depend on the size and contour of the breast, but can often be hidden around the areolae and in the lower breast crease. When they heal, a slight widening is possible.
After the excess tissue, fat, and skin have been eliminated, the entire breast is then lifted to a higher position on the chest. The surgeon may then opt to use liposuction to contour the underarm and if possible will preserve sensation by keeping the nipples and areolas attached to underlying mounds of tissue. Although there are no guarantees, the ability to breast-feed may also be preserved by this method. In cases where the breasts are extremely large, it may be necessary to completely detach the nipples and areolas. Under these circumstances, the patient must sacrifice sensation and the ability to breast feed to achieve the desired size.
Following breast reduction surgery, you may go home after several hours or stay overnight. For most patients, the only dressing required is a surgical bra. Drains may be placed for the first two days but are painlessly removed in the office. It is possible to shower on the second day after surgery. You will feel very groggy for the first two days and weak for about ten days. Moderate pain is typical for the first two days but is mostly gone by the third day and easily controlled by medications. Bruising is unusual and swelling will be moderate for the first week but rapidly disappear. For the first three weeks, breasts will have a square shape but will gradually settle into a natural position. Many everyday activities can be resumed within the first week, and most by at least three weeks.