Breast Reduction: While having healthy ample breasts are considered a sign of fitness and attractiveness in women, unreasonably large breasts are not much desired. Some women with extremely heavy breasts develop health and emotional problems such chronic back and neck pain, difficulty in doing physical activities and loss of self-esteem. Today, advances in medical sciences coupled with new technologies have offered solutions for many body deformities. For overly large female breasts, there is the breast reduction surgery or reduction mammoplasty: a surgical procedure aimed at reducing the size of abnormally large breasts to make them proportional to the body.
Who are candidates for a female breast reduction?
You can consider a breast reduction surgery if:
- You suffer from chronic back, neck and shoulder pain as a result of your heavy breasts;
- You suffer from chronic rash or skin irritation under your breasts;
- Your physical activities are restricted because of your too big bust;
- You have difficulty fitting into bras and clothes;
- You have lost your self-confidence and feel embarrassed as a result of your unreasonably large breasts.
You should consult a doctor before considering a breast reduction surgery if:
- You are a smoker;
- You have certain conditions such as heart problems or diabetes or are very obese;
- Your breasts aren’t yet fully developed (you might need a second surgery later in life).
It is recommended that you postpone your breast reduction surgery in the following conditions:
Childbirth. If you are going to marry soon and/or get pregnant, you should be aware that breast-feeding might be a challenge after a breast reduction surgery — although there are certain surgical techniques that help you preserve your ability to breastfeed.
Weight loss. If you plant to lose weight by starting a diet and exercising, you might wait until you reach your ideal weight to see if your breasts are still too large. Weight loss often results in breast size reduction.
Breast reduction surgery risks
Any surgery has some potential risks and complications and a breast reduction is no exception. Bleeding, temporary bruising, scarring, infection, adverse reaction to the anesthesia, loss of sensation in the nipples and areolae, and difficulty in breastfeeding might occur in a breast reduction surgery but they are rare and often temporary.
Consult with your surgeon
Before a breast reduction surgery, you should have at least one consultation with your surgeon. You should talk to him/her about your medical history, especially that related to your breasts such as having had a breast lump removal. He/she may also ask about your family’s medical background.
Be frank with the surgeon. Discuss your medical history and your emotional and physical issues regarding your breasts. Let him/her know why you want to have a breast reduction surgery.
During the consultation, your doctor may ask about your habits, such as the medications you take and whether or not you smoke. You may be recommended to quit smoking for a period before and after the procedure to ensure proper healing. Your doctor may also ask you to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs including Motrin or Aleve.
How is it performed?
A Breast reduction mammoplasty typically takes about two to five hours depending on different things including the techniques used and your breasts anatomy. The surgeon will make an incision around your nipple and then downward on the breast to make something in the form of a keyhole. The surgical team will then remove extra skin, fat and tissue from your breast and re-position your nipple. Drainage tubes may be used to remove extra fluid out of your breasts. The breasts then will be stitched up and wrapped in a special gauze. You may need to wear a surgical bra or bandeau.
What you need to do before a breast reduction surgery?
- Ask your surgeon to give you some advice for the preparation before surgery.
- Plan ahead for your transportation after the surgery by, for example, asking a friend or relative to drive you home.
- Finish your important tasks that must be done before going the operation, because you will have to rest for a few days after your surgery.
- Stock up on easy-to-prepare food and beverages for your post-operative period.
- Make sure that there will be someone to take care of you for at least 2-3 days after the surgery. You will need someone to prepare food for you and help you take your medications on time.
Breast reduction recovery
Every surgery has a recovery period during which you have to follow certain instructions to properly recover from it. Your surgeon will give you instructions and advice that you are expected to follow strictly. Feel free to keep in touch with your surgeon during the recovery period and seek additional guidelines.
We, too, provide some information about the post-operative period here.
First few weeks
A breast reduction surgery patient should wear an elastic bandage or a special surgical bra (a bandeau) over gauze and dressings for two or three days after the surgery. The gauze and dressings will be removed after this period and the patient will have to continue wearing the surgical bra for the next several weeks. Stitches (sutures) are usually removed one to two weeks after surgery.
Most breast reduction patients will be able to return to work after 10-14 days, depending on their profession. However, they are instructed to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for several weeks after surgery and abstain from sexual activity for a week or two, because sexual arousal can cause inflammation around the incisions.
During the breast reduction surgery recovery period the patient will have some swelling and bruising, but they will usually subside in a few weeks. A moisturizer can be used on the breasts to alleviate any dryness and itching, but be careful not to apply it directly to the incision sites.
First few months
For four to six weeks after a breast reduction surgery any contact with the breasts should be gentle. Also, during the first menstrual period following surgery patients’ breasts may swell and become tender. Some women may also experience sporadic pains for a few months, especially during menstruation. Pain medications may be prescribed by your doctor to be taken to alleviate your pains.
There may be some usually temporary side effects during the first few months. They include: altered sensations of the nipples and breast skin, numbness (in some women) and hypersensitivity of the breast area.
Because breast tissue is greatly involved during surgery, the ensuing swelling will take up to one year to subside, so you may have to wait until then to see the final results.
Breast reduction results
The results will be long-lasting. You will no longer suffer from physical and emotional problems you used to have. Your new proportional breasts will likely boost your self-confidence and self-image. You will be able to wear clothes you were not able to wear before and you can do activities you couldn’t once do.
Breast Reduction before & after photos
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