Breast reduction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed to reduce the overall size of the breasts while also lifting the nipple-areola complex through the removal of excess fat, skin and glandular tissue. Breast reduction is also known as reduction mammoplasty and it gives women a breast size that has a better proportion while also reducing the amount of physical discomfort they suffer from on a daily basis due to the size and weight of the breasts.
Breast Reduction Surgery – How it Works
The first step in breast reduction surgery is the plastic surgeon using a surgical marker to show where the incisions will be placed on the breasts. Then, the patient is placed under general anesthesia before the surgery begins.
Breast reduction surgery usually involves three incisions but the final decision of how many incisions to use depends on the size of the breasts, how much the breasts are sagging and where the nipple-areola complex is positioned.
Once the incisions are made, the surgeon will remove excess skin and fat through the use of liposuction or a scalpel. The decision about a scalpel or liposuction depends on the overall condition of the breasts and the desired final results. The fat and skin that is not removed will be restructured in order to create a more youthful shape to the breasts. In addition, the surgeon will move the nipple-areola complex to a higher position. Excess fluid is collected through the placement of small drainage tubes and the incisions are closed using sutures.
Breast Reduction Surgery Candidates
Ideal breast reduction candidates include:
- Patients that feel that their breasts are too large in relation to the frame of their body
- Women that have poor posture or consistent back or shoulder pain due to the weight of their breasts
- Females with one breast that is larger than the other breast
- Patients that are limited in the physical activities they can perform because of their breast size
- Women who suffer from skin irritation beneath the breast crease
Breast Reduction Surgery Cost
In general, the cost for breast reduction surgery is anywhere from $6500-$12,000. There will also be some additional fees such as any fees charged by the doctor or the facility as well as a fee for anesthesia. If the breast reduction surgery is being performed for aesthetic purposes, the patient will have to pay for the surgery out-of-pocket. If the breast reduction procedure is being performed for medical reasons such as reducing the amount of back pain caused by overly large breasts, there is a chance that some (or all) of the cost will be covered by health insurance.
Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery
After the breast reduction surgery has been performed, the patient will experience some bruising, numbness and swelling for anywhere from several weeks to several months. For several weeks after the surgery, patients will need to wear a compression garment around the breasts and surgical dressings around the area where the incisions were made by the surgeon. Patients should also sleep on their backs, at an incline, in order to keep the torso elevated. Any drainage tubes will be removed once the excess fluid has stopped draining.
Patients will experience a downtime of 10-14 days after the surgery. They should avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for several weeks after the surgery.
Breast Reduction Surgery Results
It can take up to one year for all of the swelling to dissipate after breast reduction surgery. Once the majority of the swelling has disappeared, patients will be able to start seeing some results. While the surgeon will try to make any scars that result from the incision hard to notice or view, there is a change that the patient will have a visible scar that might have a look that is lumpy and red for several months. Overall, it can take a year for the scar to fade into a line that is thin and pale on the patient.
The results from breast reduction surgery are permanent but patients should be aware that the shape of the breast can change as a person gets older thanks to the aging process as well as fluctuations in weight and hormones.
Breast Reduction Surgery Consultation
Before a person makes the final decision to have breast reduction surgery, the patient should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified surgeon that is experienced in performing breast reduction surgery. The surgeon will take the time to meet with the patient and discuss the desired final results. The doctor will also examine the breasts of the patient to determine their overall condition as well as the best breast reduction technique to perform in order to achieve the final results. It is important for patients to have realistic expectations when it comes to the final results so the patient will not be disappointed with the new shape or contour of the breasts once the breast reduction surgery is performed.