Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of disproportionately large breasts that may cause physical discomfort and pain as well as dissatisfaction with body image. Associated conditions of large breasts include back, neck, and shoulder pain; indentations from bra straps; skin irritation beneath the breast crease; and restricted physical activity. This may impair a woman’s ability to lead an active life in addition to causing emotional discomfort and self-consciousness.
Ideal Breast Reduction Candidates
You may experience neck, shoulder, and back pain because your breasts are disproportionate to your body’s frame. Overly large breasts can stretch and pull clothes, interfere with basic physical activities like running and jumping, and be embarrassing, resulting in low self-esteem.
Ideally, breast reduction patients must be willing and able to commit to the time needed for surgery, follow-up appointments, and complete healing from their procedure. You must be in good overall health and not be a smoker, in addition to having realistic expectations about the results of the surgery.
Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. The surgeon removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and moves the nipple and areola into their new position. He or she then brings the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the new contour of the breast. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area.
In most cases, the nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves. However, if the breasts are very large or pendulous, the nipples and areolas may have to be completely removed and grafted into a higher position. (This will result in a loss of sensation in the nipple and areolar tissue.)
Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast. In some cases, techniques can be used that eliminate the vertical part of the scar. And occasionally, when only fat needs to be removed, liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size, leaving minimal scars.
Skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
The postoperative patient shown with resultant scars around the areola, extending vertically down the breast and horizontally along the crease underneath the breast where, for the most part, the horizontal scar is hidden.
Reduction mammaplasty patient shown before surgery with oversize, heavy breasts and shoulder indentations caused by tight bra straps. Incisions are made in the breast to define the area of excision and the new location for the nipple. Breast tissue, fat and skin in the light shaded areas are then removed. Skin is removed from the darker shaded area, and the nipple is elevated.
Skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. The postoperative patient shown with resultant scars around the areola, extending vertically down the breast and horizontally along the crease underneath the breast where, for the most part, the horizontal scar is hidden.
Inverted-T–This is the most commonly used incision. The incision is located around the areola, down the center of the breast from the areola to the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease.
Vertical or Anchor–This incision incorporates the incision around the areola and the vertical component from the areola to the breast crease. The horizontal component is limited or occasionally avoided altogether. This more limited incision is used for smaller reductions.
Around the Areola (Circumareolar)–The incision is around the perimeter of the areola-skin junction. This incision is used rarely for breast reductions, but commonly for breast lifts.
Free Nipple Grafts–In the majority of breast reductions, the nipple and areola are left attached to the underlying breast tissue and transferred to the new site as a single unit. In some women with massively enlarged breasts, the nipple and areola have to be removed from the underlying breast tissue and replaced at the new site as a “graft.” This results in a nipple that has less sensitivity.
Minimal Scar Breast Reduction/Lift Procedure – Traditionally, incisions for a breast lift or breast reduction include a long scar along the entire crease under the breast. EstePlastHair Surgeons uses short scar techniques on breast lifts and breast reductions. A short scar technique known as Vertical Mammaplasty makes it possible to eliminate that long incision, while also producing a rejuvenated, more youthful breast shape.
You should be able to return home within a few hours of your surgery to begin the healing process. Our doctor prescribes pain medication that you can get before the surgery and she recommends measures to soothe the soreness of the breasts. Getting plenty of rest and wearing a surgical support bra as directed helps alleviate some of the swelling and bruising that are common side effects of breast reduction. It is typical for breast reduction patients to miss one to two weeks of work and avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks. Speak with the doctor about your own projected recovery time before returning to work and resuming exercise or other strenuous activities.