Women with large breasts who are unhappy with their appearance and/or want to treat symptoms such as neck, back and shoulder pain, breathing problems and poor posture may benefit from breast reduction surgery. This procedure removes breast fat and breast glandular tissue from the breast while tightening skin to produce smaller breasts that are lifted and are more comfortable. Although once a more common insurance covered procedure, in general, breast reductions today are considered an elective, cosmetic procedure.
In addition to physical symptoms, large breasts may also draw unwanted attention that can affect a woman's self-esteem and make her uncomfortable with her appearance, as well as interfere with sports and physical activities. Breast reduction can help patients regain confidence and enjoy a renewed self-image by creating a body contour they are happy with.
Prior to your procedure, Dr. Bershof will meet with you at the initial consultation to discuss your goals and expectations for surgery, as well as to inform you of the details of the procedure. This discussion is important in helping patients achieve the precise results they desire. Each procedure is fully customized for each individual patient.
Candidates for Breast Reduction
Ideal candidates for breast reduction surgery are women with oversized breasts or sagging breasts that might have symptoms such as neck, back and shoulder pain, low self-esteem, and/or social discomfort or frustrations with the size of their breasts. Women who plan future pregnancies should consider waiting before having a breast reduction operation, although if the physical and social discomfort is significant, one might wish to proceed anyway.
It is important for patients to understand the details and risks associated with this procedure, and to have realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of their surgery. Additionally, after a breast reduction, although uncommon, breasts can become large again, such as by weight gain, pregnancy, breast feeding, severe fibrocystic breast disease, menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as well as with birth control pills.
Breast Reduction Procedure
The breast reduction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 3-4 hours, depending on the techniques used and each patient’s individual case. Although there are several different types of breast reduction procedures, the most widely used and the one that Dr. Bershof favors, is the central inferior pedicle technique:
Traditional Breast Reduction Surgery
This technique, also called the central inferior pedicle technique, involves a keyhole pattern (as seen in an old door), which begets the anchor shaped incision, and is a versatile approach, ideal for women with any size breasts. Skin, breast fat and breast glandular tissue is removed, and the nipple areola complex as well as the breast is lifted. The breasts are not just made smaller, they are lifted, the breast skin envelope tightened, and the shape often significantly improved.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
After the breast reduction procedure, patients will likely experience soreness, swelling and bruising for several days. The surgical bra, surgical drains and stitches will be removed at one week. Physical activity should be limited for one to two weeks, while exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for at least four weeks. Full recovery is 2-3 months. It is important to see Dr. Bershof for regular follow-up visits to ensure that your breasts are healing properly.
The results of the breast reduction procedure are noticeable immediately after surgery and will continue to improve as swelling and bruising subside. Scars will continue to fade with time and can usually be concealed by a bra, bathing suit or low-cut top.
Risks of Breast Reduction
Although breast reduction is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks include loss of nipple sensation, scarring and asymmetry, and well as general surgical risks such as infection, bleeding and reaction to anesthesia.
Dr. Bershof will discuss these and other risks with you prior to surgery, as well as answer any questions you may have to ensure that your procedure is performed as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about the breast reduction procedure and to find out whether or not this procedure is right for you, please call us today to schedule a consultation.