Breast reduction is a procedure to reduce the size as well as lift
and shape heavy, sagging breasts. Breast reduction is usually performed
for physical relief of symptoms rather than simply cosmetic improvement.
In many cases the procedure is covered by the health insurances.
Most women who seek breast reduction surgery are bothered by symptoms
such as back and neck pain, shoulder grooving, poor posture, rashes
underneath the breast and limitations in activities. Unusually large
breasts can also make women feel very self-conscious.
The Preoperative visit
Consultation for a breast reduction consists of a thorough discussion
of the patient's symptoms and concerns. An examination and evaluation of
the patient's breasts will be performed. Photographs will be taken.
These may be needed to obtain insurance approval. The available surgical
options, including a description the procedure will be reviewed. An idea
of what results can be obtained, including the limitations and risks of
surgery, will also be discussed. A discussion of the variables that may
affect the procedure, such as the age, the size and shape of the
breasts, and the condition of the skin will be reviewed. Some insurance
companies and managed care plans will pay for breast reduction if it is
deemed medically necessary. Patients will need to discuss with their
insurance plan what their eligibility requirements are for breast
reduction surgery. Our office will assist the patients in filing for a
Breast reduction surgery is usually performed at a hospital. Most of
the patients will stay over-night. Breast reduction is performed under
general anesthesia. The surgery usually takes about three to four hours.
There is some blood loss associated with the procedure, however patients
rarely will require transfusion. The Procedure involves the removal of
fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breast, making them smaller,
lighter and firmer. The areola is also usually made smaller and the
nipple and areola are lifted to a higher more youthful position. In most
cases dissolvable sutures are used. If drains are used they are removed
before the patient is discharged. Breast reduction surgery creates
noticeable, permanent scars, although they will be covered by the bra or
After surgery, the patient is wrapped in an elastic bandage over
gauze dressings. The bandages are removed a day or two after surgery.
The patient will be placed in a surgical bra to be worn for several
weeks, until the bruising and swelling subside. Although most of the
swelling disappears in the first few weeks, it may be six months before
the breasts settle into their new shape. It may also take up to a year
for all of the scars to become less obvious and achieve their final
appearance. Most women are able to return to work after two weeks
following surgery. Patients should avoid strenuous activities and
exercise for about four weeks after surgery. We recommend a new base
line mammogram six months after surgery.
The breasts when fully healed will appear smaller and lifted. The
breasts are still responsive to hormonal changes. If patients gain
significant amount of weight after breast reduction their breast size
may increase. Improvement in physical symptoms as a result of breast
reduction occurs very quickly. The natural processes responsible for
sagging of the breasts will continue to affect the breast after breast