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.
What to Expect From Your Breast Reduction Consultation
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.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction can be a life-changing event if you’ve spent years living with the physical and emotional discomfort of overly large breasts! Some benefits, such as no longer having painful indentations from bra straps, can be general. Others, such as having a whole new variety of clothing options, can be very personal. The biggest rewards of breast reduction are those that feel most personal to you. You may have an easier time enjoying your workout routine or may even gain new options for the activities you get to do. You may feel much freer to go about your day, shoulders back and chin up, without awkward stares in the direction of your chest. We could go on about the many benefits of breast reduction surgery but, chances are, you are well aware of what could be in store for you when you decide to bring your breasts into better proportion with your body frame.
How Will My Breasts Change with Reduction Surgery?
Most notably, your breasts will be smaller after your reduction procedure. Being smaller, though, they may also appear perkier and higher on the chest wall. Having the skin tightened around your newly-sized breast mounds can also give the appearance of improved firmness. If your breasts are currently asymmetrical or droopy, these characteristics can be corrected via meticulous surgical technique.
How Does Breast Reduction Work?
Breast reduction surgery works by very carefully excising or suctioning excess breast fat. During your consultation, Dr. Barrera will discuss his recommended surgical technique based on your current situation. Extraordinary care is taken to preserve the natural glandular tissue, milk ducts, and nipple during the surgical reshaping of your breasts. The same can be said for the tightening of the skin that covers the new, smaller breast mounds. Breast reduction works by reshaping fatty tissue and securing tightened skin around that new shape.
Will I be Getting a Lift as Part of a Breast Reduction?
Yes. The same technique that is used for breast lift patients is a natural part of the breast reduction procedure. The lift is achieved by revising the envelope of skin that lies over the breasts. During the breast reduction process, it is necessary to excise some of the skin around the smaller breast mounds. Otherwise, the skin would look dimpled or droopy. Forming the skin over the smaller mounds and trimming the excess, Dr. Barrera ensures a natural, satisfying shape overall.
Will a Breast Reduction Help Asymmetry?
Breast reduction surgery can significantly improve the symmetry of your breasts. No woman’s breasts are perfectly aligned. One is nearly always a little larger. However, this size difference is usually so subtle that it is not discernible. For women with overly-large breasts, asymmetry is sometimes exaggerated. This can be due to one breast actually having much more fatty tissue. More often, it is due to there being more ptosis, sagging, in one breast. During your consultation with Dr. Barrera, you can learn how much correction is possible in your case. The goal is to achieve an indiscernible size difference.
How Long is the Recovery from Breast Reduction Surgery?
There are stages to the recovery process. Knowing them can help you feel adequately prepared! In general, it takes about six weeks to fully recover from this breast procedure. Until that time, you must not engage in rigorous physical activity. After about one week of relative rest and a few short walks each day, you may be able to go back to work, provided that your job is not physically demanding. You can drive once you’ve stopped taking prescription painkillers as long as it is physically comfortable to place your arms on the steering wheel and perform other motions. To allow full healing to occur without interference, it is wise to arrange help around the house, including childcare and pet care, for three weeks. Doing so can prevent you from inadvertently lifting or reaching beyond your capacity. If you face any questions or concerns during your breast reduction recovery, please do not hesitate to contact the office for assistance.
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.