Large breasts can cause pain, improper posture, rashes, and skeletal deformities. Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is usually done to provide relief from these symptoms. Performed under general anesthesia, this procedure removes fat and glandular tissue and tightens skin to produce smaller, lighter breasts that are in a healthier proportion to the rest of the body.
Breast reduction surgery is not recommended for women who intend to breastfeed since many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed.
Initial Consultation for Breast Reduction
It is important to consider each aspect of the breast reduction procedure and your life after surgery before deciding upon the procedure. Prior to the procedure, Dr. Moye will meet with you to discuss your expectations for breast reduction surgery. He can then evaluate which goals are within reach and propose a plan for the breast reduction operation. At that time, Dr. Moye will inform you about the risks and possible complications of breast reduction surgery and the long-term effects of undergoing a breast reduction.
Benefits of Breast Reduction
Women with large, heavy breasts may suffer physical pain from the weight of their breasts and may experience social discomfort due to unwanted attention to their breast size. Because of this, many women turn to breast reduction as a remedy.
Large, heavy breasts can also cause strain on a woman’s body. The extra weight of heavy breasts can be harmful to posture and may lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman correct her posture and remove strain on the back, neck, and shoulders, reducing overall pain.
Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction surgery generally takes four hours, depending on the patient’s specific case, and is performed under general anesthesia. The size and shape of your breasts, as well as the desired amount of reduction, helps determine which type of incision is right for you.
In traditional incision breast reduction, skin, fat, and tissue from the lower breast area are removed to reduce the mass of the breast. In most cases, the nipples are moved to a higher position on the breast. For very large breasts, the nipples may need to be moved and grafted to a completely new location. After the nipple is moved to its new position, the skin above the nipple is brought down and around the swell of the breast, and then stitched back to close the original incision.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
Initially after breast reduction surgery, your breasts will be sore and swollen. Activity should be kept to a minimum for two weeks. You should also avoid heavy lifting and refrain from exercise and other strenuous activities for four weeks following the procedure. For extra support, a special soft surgical bra or athletic bra may be recommended.
Most women will be able to return to work and other normal activities about three weeks after undergoing a breast reduction. To ensure that the breasts are healing properly, breast reduction patients should attend follow-up appointments for six months after surgery.
Breast Augmentation (Augmentation Mammaplasty)
Breast augmentation is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S. It can give women with small or unevenly-sized breasts a fuller, firmer, better-proportioned look through the placement of implants in the breast. Women may elect to undergo breast augmentation for many different medical and aesthetic motivations, including balancing breast size and compensating for reduced breast mass after pregnancy or surgery.
Implants filled with either saline (salt water) or silicone gel (recently approved by the FDA) are placed behind each breast. The procedure takes two hours; after surgery the patient’s bustline may be increased by one or more cup sizes.
Breast Reshaping (Mastopexy)
A woman’s breasts may droop as a result of natural maturation, heredity, gravity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight loss. A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is performed to return youthful shape and lift to breasts that have sagged.
Mastopexy rejuvenates the breasts by trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissues to achieve an uplifted, youthful contour. Breast lifts can also reposition and reduce the size of the areola-the dark skin surrounding the nipple-which may have stretched or drooped.
Mastopexy is usually performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and takes 3 hours. Most patients are immediately satisfied with their new breasts and can typically return to work two weeks following the procedure.
Women whose cancer has been eradicated with mastectomy are the best candidates for breast reconstruction. Those with health problems such as obesity or diabetes and those who smoke are advised to wait.
The reconstruction itself consists of multiple operations, the first of which involves creation of the breast mound and is performed under general anesthesia with a two to four week recovery. Later surgeries, are less invasive and typically require two weeks recovery.
There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, both with and without implants; Dr. Moye will work together with you in deciding which is the best for you.