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Breast_Reduction

Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction, also know as Reduction Mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure involving reduction of the breast size by removal of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin to alleviate any discomfort and disfigurement due to excessively large breasts seen in some women.

Breast Reduction is also performed for women who experience pain in the back, neck, shoulders and difficulty in breathing due to disproportionate size of the breasts in comparison to their body structure.

Preparing for breast reduction surgery

After researching the basics about breast reduction, many patients want to know what to expect before breast reduction surgery.

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue
  • Stop smoking well in advance of breast reduction surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

  • What to do on the day of surgery
  • Post-operative care and follow-up

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Breast reduction surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient/ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.

You’ll need help

If your breast reduction procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery, and to stay with you the following night.

Breast reduction procedural steps

What happens during breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is usually performed through incisions on your breasts with surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin.

In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques described below. If breast size is largely due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be used in the procedure for breast reduction.

The technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and the surgeon’s advice.

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during breast reduction surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Incision options include:

  • A circular pattern around the areola
    The incision lines that remain are visible and permanent scars, although usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra.
  • A keyhole or racquet-shaped pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
  • An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern

Step 3 – Removing tissue and repositioning

After the incision is made, the nipple (which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply) is then repositioned. The areola is reduced by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary.

Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely large pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast (free nipple graft).

Step 4 – Closing the incisions

The incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts; sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape close the skin. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.

Recovery time for breast reduction

Many patients have questions about recovery from breast surgery.

When your breast reduction procedure is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra may be worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.

A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.

You will be given specific instructions for breast reduction recovery that may include: how to care for your breasts following breast reduction surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Breast reduction risks and safety information

The decision to have breast reduction surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks of breast reduction surgery and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or plastic surgery staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.

The risks of breast reduction and breast reduction complications include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Infection
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Poor wound healing
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
  • Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs – can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Excessive firmness of the breast
  • Potential inability to breastfeed
  • Potential loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other
  • Potential, partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injectable agents
  • Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis)
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

You should know that:

  • Breast reduction surgery can interfere with certain diagnostic procedures
  • Breast and nipple piercing can cause an infection
  • Your ability to breastfeed following reduction mammaplasty may be limited; talk to your doctor if you are planning to nurse a baby
  • The breast reduction procedure can be performed at any age, but is best done when your breasts are fully developed
  • Changes in the breasts during pregnancy can alter the outcomes of previous breast reduction surgery, as can significant weight fluctuations

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single breast reduction procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Where will my surgery be performed?

Breast reduction procedures may be performed in your plastic surgeon’s accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.

When you go home

If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these breast reduction complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Be careful

Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself and minimize breast reduction surgery risks.

Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcome or preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

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