Patients who undergo breast reduction surgery frequently are seeking relief from physical symptoms caused by the excessive weight of large breasts. Breast reduction usually can solve these problems as well as improve the size and shape of your breasts. Following breast reduction, your breasts will be more proportional to the rest of your body, and clothes will fit you better.
Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Reduction?
You may be a good candidate for breast reduction if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- breasts that are too large in proportion to your body frame
- heavy, pendulous breasts with nipples and areolas that point downward
- one breast is much larger than the other
- back, neck or shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
- skin irritation beneath your breasts
- indentations in your shoulders from tight bra straps
- restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of your breasts
- dissatisfaction or self-consciousness about the largeness of your breasts
Breast reduction can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Childbirth and breast-feeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Nevertheless, many women decide to undergo breast reduction before having children and feel that they can address any subsequent changes later. If you plan to breast-feed in the future, you should discuss this with your plastic surgeon.
During the consultation, you will be asked about your desired breast size as well as anything else about your breasts that you would like to see improved. This will help your plastic surgeon to understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved.
Where Are the Incisions Placed?
Individual factors and personal preferences will determine the specific technique selected to reduce the size of your breasts.
The most common method of reducing the breasts involves three incisions. One incision is made around the areola. Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third incision follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
After the surgeon has removed excess breast tissue, fat and skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which in large breasts usually has been stretched, also is reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Liposuction may be used to improve the contour under the arm.
One common breast reduction technique removes excess breast tissue, fat and skin through the incisions shown. The nipple and areola remain attached to the underlying tissue but are shifted to a higher position. The size of the areola is often reduced at the same time.
Usually, the nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, and this allows for the preservation of sensation. The ability to breast-feed may also be preserved by this method, although this cannot be guaranteed.
Skin that formerly was located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
What Are Some Variations to the Common Breast Reduction Technique?
There are many variations to the design of the incisions for breast reduction. The size and shape of your breasts, as well as the desired amount of reduction, are factors that will help your plastic surgeon determine the best technique.
Dr. Barrera performs all aesthetic surgery procedures including breast reduction at his Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facility (AAAASF) under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia, without the need for general anesthesia (painless during the procedure and minimal pain afterwards). This provides added safety and faster recovery. Most patients are able to go home within an hour from the end of the 2.5 to 3 hour procedure with minimal discomfort.