Since breast augmentation is one of the top plastic surgeries performed every year, it’s easy to assume that anyone with naturally large breasts should count themselves lucky. Overly large breasts can cause all kinds of issues, however, from shoulder, neck, and back pain to sweating, rashes, and more. This is one reason why breast reduction surgery is almost as popular as breast augmentation!
Breast reductions are one of the most common plastic surgery procedures available, and have an extremely high rate of satisfaction. The procedure is generally performed for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes, but it often provides very real relief to the patient by alleviating their physical symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms commonly associated with very large breasts, a reduction mammoplasty could be right for you! Let’s take a closer look at what the procedure actually is, who is a good candidate for it, and what recovery looks like with Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis.
What is a breast reduction?
Breast reduction surgery is a procedure to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin in order to alleviate the discomfort and achieve a breast size that is more in proportion with the patient’s body. Excessively large breasts, also referred to as macromastia, can cause both physical and emotional difficulties. They can also make several common physical activities a challenge. While breast reduction surgery is often performed to address these types of issues, it is also an option for patients who may not have any obvious symptoms of macromastia but are still unhappy with the size of their breasts.
What are the different types of breast reductions?
At Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis, we take a personalized approach to every person. There are several different surgical techniques that can be used when performing a breast reduction, and your breast anatomy, type and amount of tissue to be removed, and the desired outcome are all factors in choosing the correct method for your case. These various techniques include:
A breast reduction can sometimes be performed using liposuction alone. This is a less invasive procedure, with minimal scarring and lasting results. However, it will only achieve optimal results in certain patients. Generally, these patients will have good skin elasticity, little to no sagging to correct, macromastia due largely to excess fatty tissue, and will desire a slight to moderate reduction in breast size.
Vertical or “Lollipop”
If you have noticeable sagging and are in need of a moderate reduction in breast size, a vertical breast reduction can be a good option. This procedure involves two incision sites: one made around the edge of the areola, with the second incision running vertically from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary fold, or the crease beneath the breast. This incision pattern allows surgeons to remove excess fat, skin, and breast tissue, then reshape the new smaller breast internally, lifting the breast into a more youthful position.
A vertical breast reduction does leave some scarring on the breast, but it is limited to the area below the nipple. These scars are usually easy to hide beneath a bra or bikini top.
Inverted-T or “Anchor”
The inverted-T breast reduction uses three incisions: one around the edge of the areola, one vertically from the areola to the breast crease, and one made along the crease underneath the breast. This technique allows for the maximum degree of tissue removal and reshaping, and is often used for patients in need of a more significant breast size reduction, particularly if there is also considerable sagging or asymmetry to correct.
Scarring from this type of breast reduction is similar to a vertical reduction, with another thin scar running along the crease beneath the breast. With proper care, all breast reduction scars will typically fade considerably over time. Most can easily be concealed by clothing, including bras and bikini tops.
What is recovery like with a breast reduction?
Breast reduction surgery is usually an outpatient procedure. General anesthesia or intravenous sedation with local anesthesia will be administered before the surgeon begins. After the excess breast tissue, fat, and skin has been removed, the remaining breast tissue and skin will be reshaped and then closed with dissolvable sutures.
You’ll spend a brief amount of time in supervised recovery, then continue your recovery at home. Your chest will be bandaged, and you may be sent home in a surgical bra. There will be considerable soreness the first few days after your procedure, and your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help keep you comfortable during this time. Ice packs placed gently on top of the bandages can also help alleviate any discomfort you may be feeling.
Your natural healing rate and the extent of the surgery performed will determine how much time you need to recover from your breast reduction procedure. In general, you’ll be able to get up and walk around the same day of surgery. You should have a trusted adult with you for the first 24 hours, however. While you may be permitted to shower a few days after surgery, you may need help getting dressed since you won’t have a full range of motion in your chest and shoulders at first.
Most patients are able to drive and return to a desk job within the first week after surgery, and once they are no longer taking prescription pain medication. You will likely need to wait at least 3-4 weeks before resuming exercise to ensure the incisions heal properly and reduce the risk of infection.
Within 2-3 months, you’ll be able to enjoy the final results of your breast reduction! You’ll often continue to notice subtle changes for 6-12 months post-surgery. Many women are still able to breastfeed successfully following a reduction mammoplasty.
Who is a good candidate for a breast reduction?
If you’ve experienced one or more of the following symptoms, then you could be a good candidate for a breast reduction with Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis.
- Breasts that are too large in proportion to your body size
- Back, neck and shoulder pain caused by heavy breasts
- Grooves in your shoulders caused by tight bra straps
- Poor posture due to breast size
- Heavy breasts that droop significantly
- Breasts that are not equal in size (one is significantly larger than the other)
- Trouble sleeping due to breast discomfort when lying down
- Frequently occurring rashes or infection affecting the skin underneath your breasts
- An inability to participate in athletic or physical activities due to the size of your breasts
- Feelings of self-consciousness regarding breast size
A breast reduction will not only offer you relief by alleviating uncomfortable symptoms, it can also enhance the shape and appearance of your breasts while improving the overall comfort and fit of your clothing!