Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure used to remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts.
Women who have large breasts may experience a variety of problems from the weight and size of their breasts. Or they may just feel that the size of their breasts does not match their overall body physique. In such cases, a breast reduction may be an option to create a reduced, youthful and naturally shaped breast.
Reasons to get a breast reduction
Breast reduction surgery is meant for women who have large breasts and want to resolve issues such as:
- Chronic back, neck and shoulder pain
- Bad rashes or skin irritation under the breasts
- Nerve pain
- Restricted activity
- Difficulty fitting into bras and clothing
Breast reduction is usually performed for relief of the symptoms mentioned above as well as to enhance the appearance of the breasts. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to understand the procedure and have realistic expectations of the results. Breast reduction surgery might also help improve self-image and the ability to participate in physical activities such as sports.
- Duration of operation: 2.5 hours
- Anaesthetic: General anaesthetic
- Hospital stay: 1-2 nights
In a breast reduction surgery, breast tissue and excess skin are resected so that the volume of the breast is reduced and the nipple/areola is elevated from a lower, droopier position to a more natural position on the breast mound. The surgery is either performed using a keyhole pattern incision, with the resultant scar around the areola and a horizontal scar in the inframammary fold. A vertical scar joins these two scars. All stitches are absorbable and do not need to be removed.
Any tissue removed during a breast reduction will be examined by a pathologist.
- Driving: 1 week
- Back to work: 1-2 weeks
- Exercise: 4-6 weeks
* Post-operatively the patient has to wear a bra for four weeks, day and night.
You might postpone breast reduction surgery if you have certain future plans, such as:
- Childbirth. If you haven’t started a family or your family isn’t yet complete, you might wait until after pregnancy. Breast-feeding might be challenging after breast reduction surgery — although certain surgical techniques can help preserve your ability to breast-feed.
- Weight loss. If you are interested in losing weight by changing your diet and starting an exercise program, you might wait to decide if reduction mammoplasty is for you. Losing weight can often result in changes to your breast size.
You can have breast reduction surgery at any age. In some situations, even as a teenager. But if your breasts aren’t yet fully developed, you might need a second surgery later in life.
Breast reduction surgery generally isn’t recommended if you:
- Have certain conditions such as diabetes or heart problems
- Are very obese
- Want to avoid scars on your breasts
It is important to understand that no person is perfectly symmetrical from one side to the other, even before a surgical procedure. Every attempt will be made during surgery to minimise your side-to-side dissimilarities, but such differences are natural and always persist to some degree even after the most successful operation.