Breast reduction is a common procedure that is carried out to reduce the size of the breasts and often to make them more symmetrical.
Due to hormonal changes both during adolescence and after the menopause, women can develop large breasts. Large breasts can lead to both physical (back and neck problems) and psychological problems. Often women can become self-conscious of their breasts in social situations and this can often lead to them becoming introverted.
The procedure: Breast Reduction:
Breast reduction is quite a complicated procedure that can take between 2 – 4 hours and is performed under a general anaesthetic. There are a few different techniques depending on the particular individual and the preference of the surgeon. The most common procedure is as follows:
- An anchor shaped incision is made in the area that circles the Areola extending downwards following the natural curve of the crease underneath the breast.
- Excess breast tissue is then cut out, sometimes in conjunction with liposuction and the nipple and Areola are then lifted up to their new position.
- In most cases the nipple can remain attached to the blood supply thus ensuring sensitivity is not lost. However with particularly large breasts the surgeon may have to remove the nipple and graft it on to a higher position on the breast therefore often resulting in some loss of sensitivity.
Recovery period: Breast reduction
- You are likely to stay in hospital for 1 – 2 days.
- Following surgery your breasts are likely to be swollen, bruised and painful for a few days. Medication prescribed by your surgeon will help reduce this.
- A small tube may be placed in each breast to drain off blood / fluid for 1 – 2 days.
- Bandages around your breasts will be removed after 1 – 2 days.
- You may have to wear a surgical bra 24 hours a day for up to 4 weeks depending on how well your breasts are settling down.
- Stitches normally dissolve naturally.
- You will normally need 1 – 2 weeks off work.
- You should avoid strenuous activity for 4 – 6 weeks.
- Dry breast skin and reduced nipple sensitivity are considered normal for up to 6 weeks.
Your surgeon may well ask you to refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking both before and after surgery as it can contribute to poor blood circulation and fluid retention.
Like with all surgeries, recovery times differ from one patient to the next and closely following the surgeons post operation instructions will generally lead to a quicker recovery period.
The risks: Breast reduction:
- Asymmetric breast size.
- Asymmetric nipple position.
- Loss of sensitivity around nipples.
- Excessive scarring that may be hidden by wearing a bra.
- Breast feeding may not be possible as many of the milk ducts which lead to the nipples are removed.