in Denver, CO
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, breastfeeding, severe fibrocystic breast disease, menopause, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as well as with birth control pills.
What are the benefits of breast reduction?
For many women who have overly large natural breasts, they’ve felt their breasts were a burden since high school. These reduction procedures can change everything. Dr. Bershof’s patients are thrilled with the changes made by these surgeries. Whereas their life was spent trying consciously trying to cover and hide their breasts, now everything is different. Sagging, flattened, and heavy breasts are now smaller, lighter, firm, and back to a higher position on the chest. The breasts are now proportional to the rest of the figure.
These surgeries have extremely high rates of satisfaction: over 95 percent of women who’ve had breast reduction are satisfied with their results. Women who’ve had reduction tell us how they now love shopping for clothes and swimsuits. They’ve joined exercise classes they formerly wouldn’t have considered. They’ve taken up sports or hobbies that they’ve always thought about doing but avoided. In most cases, our breast reduction patients develop a completely new body image, one based on confidence rather than being continually self-conscious.
It can truly feel as if a burden has been lifted for women after having this procedure with Dr. Bershof.
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 in 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.
When can you sleep on your side after breast reduction surgery?
Dr. Bershof asks his breast reduction patients to sleep exclusively on their back for a full two weeks after their surgery. This can seem difficult, but it’s only temporary and you don’t want to place pressure on your incisions and the tissue that has been repositioned in your breasts.
Try sleeping in a recliner chair, if you have one. Otherwise, use pillows to ensure you will not be able to roll onto your side, even worse, onto your stomach. Put two pillows along your sides and one under your knees to keep you on your back and to relieve lower back pressure. Or you can buy a pillow with two arms for sitting up in bed.
Even getting out of bed needs some attention for those first two weeks. You need to limit the use of your arms. Here’s how to get out of bed with minimal use of your arms:
- When in bed, pull your knees up towards your chest and tip to the side, gently rolling out of bed. Take care not to roll onto your breasts.
- Create a nest of pillows. Having many pillows to prop you in a semi-upright position helps give you that extra boost to get out of bed.
- Have someone put gentle pressure on your lower shoulder blades as you sit up. This gives you the extra power you need to get to your feet.
How many cup sizes can I decrease my breasts with reduction surgery?
Most patients reduce their breasts by one to two cup sizes. The degree of reduction depends on your size, breast composition, and overall goals for the surgery. You will want to consider the relationship between your breasts and your hips when considering how much reduction you want. You do want to keep your body in proportion. Also, if you’ve had very large breasts for your entire life since puberty, an overly large reduction could leave you feeling as if you’ve had a procedure akin to a mastectomy.
So, while you’re no doubt fed up with the weight, discomfort, and overall annoyance of your overly large natural breasts, you should probably aim for one or two cup sizes of reduction.
Will my breast reduction results be permanent?
The changes made by Dr. Bershof are permanent. The excess breast tissue and skin excised are gone for good. Your breasts can become somewhat larger if you put on a large amount of weight, but they will never be anywhere near the size they were prior to your surgery. If you maintain a healthy weight, you’ll love your smaller, firmer, higher breasts for the rest of your life.
How long after pregnancy and delivery should I wait to have breast reduction surgery?
Once you stop breastfeeding and your breasts are no longer producing any milk, then wait three months after that point. Now you can have breast reduction surgery with Dr. Bershof.
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.
Is breast reduction covered by insurance?
These procedures can be covered by insurance, but they need to be tied to a health issue or issues that your oversized breasts are causing. This could be tingling in your hands, nerve compression in your neck, even chronic rash formation under your sagging breasts. Usually, a physician will need to be behind those diagnoses to gain insurance approval. We’ll discuss this with you during your consultation.