Breast Reduction

Breast reduction surgery is performed to reduce the size of the breasts.   The technical name for the procedure is reduction mammoplasty.  It may be performed on either one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) breasts.

Breast reduction is an operation designed to reduce and reshape large breasts. It is a surgical procedure designed to help reduce and in many cases eliminate, the pain and other symptoms associated with large breasts. Discomfort associated with large breasts can include chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as painful shoulder grooves from bra straps. It can also include chronic rashes under the breasts in the inframammary fold. These are the medical reasons to have a breast reduction. Most insurance companies will cover breast reduction surgery done for medical reasons. Be sure to check your policy.

The Method(s)
Individual factors and personal preferences will determine the specific technique selected to reduce the size of your breasts. The most common procedure involves a short vertical scar only incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast.   The invert-T or anchor method may be necessary if the breasts are extremely large or there is extreme ptosis.  The method needed in your individual case will be determined during the exam as part of your consultation.

Ideal Candidate
Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement in women whose breast size restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort.  In most cases, breast reduction is performed after a woman’s breasts are fully developed and not in someone less than 18 years of age.  Exceptions are made in rare cases.

Recovery
After surgery, you’ll be wrapped will be placed in a surgical bra over gauze dressings.  You may feel some pain for the first couple of days.   Dr.  Bates will prescribe medication to lessen the pain.  You are allowed to shower the day after surgery.  The surgical bra should be worn around the clock for a few weeks (except when showering).  You will be asked to avoid vacuuming for 2-3 weeks as the backwards motions can pull on the vertical incision.

Risks
Breast reduction is not a simple operation, but it is safe when performed by a trained plastic surgeon, such as Dr . Bates.   As with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection, reaction to the anesthesia, and permanent scars.   Some patients may experience a permanent loss of feeling in their nipples or breasts. On a rare occassion, the nipple and areola may lose their blood supply and the tissue will die.

For more information

Reduction Mammoplasty (December 19, 2007)

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