Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is performed to reduce the size of your breasts and give them a more youthful shape. If your breasts are very large, this procedure can improve symptoms of neck, shoulder or upper back pain, facilitate skin hygiene and minimize skin abrasions and infection beneath the breasts.
The typical patient has breasts that are too large for their body and suffers from neck, back or shoulder pain. Exercising may be difficult in some patients. The nipples and areolas (the pigmented skin around the nipples) may point downwards. Patients are often self-conscious about their breasts and find it difficult to wear fitting clothes.
This procedure is typically done under general anesthesia. The location and length of your surgical incisions depend on the size and shape of your breasts, degree of sagging, and quality of your breast skin. Some parts of the incisions can be concealed beneath the breast, however some parts will be more visible on the breast mound and around the areola. Although these scars are permanent, their appearance generally improves over time.
Through these incisions excess fat, skin and breast tissue are removed and the nipple and areola are moved to a higher position. More tissue will be removed from the larger breast if your breasts are asymmetrical. The areola is kept connected to the underlying breast tissue to maximize preservation of sensation and breast-feeding ability. If necessary,
liposuction will also be performed to improve the shape of the breasts. At the end of this surgery, the size of your areolas will typically smaller.
Breasts before surgery Breasts after surgery
Dressings and/or bandages will be applied over the incisions. Small tubes (drains) will be placed to suck out the excess blood and fluid for several days. A support bra will be used to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal.
Many women undergo successful breast reduction surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of the possible risks, which include:
• Anaesthesia risks• Excess blood accumulation (haematoma)• Excess fluid accumulation (seroma)• Infection• Altered nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent• Impaired ability to breast-feed subsequently• Poor scarring• Irregular breast shape• Asymmetry• Painful or palpable lumps due to fat necrosis• Partial or total loss of the nipple and/or areola
Repeat surgery may be necessary to correct some of the above problems.
The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your plastic surgeon.