Breast Reduction (Mammoplasty)
Breast reduction is a procedure that aims to help women who find their large breasts uncomfortable, restricting or embarrassing. The goal is to create breasts that are smaller, more manageable and that are in keeping with body shape.
In general, the reasons women seek breast reduction surgery are to lift and reduce the size of the breasts. This will also alleviate symptoms, create a better shape, balance asymmetries in size and position and recapture a more youthful look.
Some women simply develop large, oversized breasts. Other women experience stretching of skin over time and sagging from a heavy gland or massive weight loss and gains. Regardless of the cause, the surgery for reduction is not related to structures that hurt, and is therefore quite comfortable with a quick recovery.
There are many reasons why women seek breast reduction surgery. These will often extend beyond a feeling of being out of proportion and will include back pain, breast pain, shoulder grooving, and rashes.
Whilst, any one of these complaints usually justifies surgery, as with all surgical procedures, the operation needs to be tailored to meet your precise needs and expectations.
In general, however, you can expect surgery to both lift and reduce the size of the breasts. You should expect some alleviation of symptoms, a better shape and to some extent an evening up of asymmetries in size and position.
Liposuction can be used in occasional cases where a modest reduction is required, however, in general breast reduction surgery involves making incisions, removing breast tissue and excess skin, and reshaping and lifting the breast. For this many methods have been described. Many techniques are in use and these include the periareolar, crescent, lollipop, vertical, boat anchor, inverted T and Wise patterns.
Your surgeon will be experienced in the field of breast reduction surgery, and will use their experience to guide you through the decision making process and to chose the technique that is best suited for you.
Once you and your surgeon have agreed on the precise details of the surgical plan, they will outline a likely recovery, including time frame for return to normal activities including work, management of young children and exercise. As with all good medical practice, they will also discuss with you potential complications of breast reduction.
On the day of surgery you will be seen by your surgeon and your anaesthetist pre-operatively. They will discuss with you the procedure and reaffirm the surgical plan. Your anaesthetist will speak to you about previous anaesthetics and provide a plan for minimising the discomfort that you will feel after your operation.
After your breast reduction surgery is complete you will awake gently in the recovery ward and you will be seen by your surgeon and anaesthetist to make sure that you are comfortable post operatively.
You will then return to your ward. Before discharge a plan will be made for you to be reviewed in the outpatient dept usually at a week.
The precise recovery plan as discussed with you pre-operatively and be confirmed by your surgical team and any modifications made. Most surgeons will allow you to return to work in one week and to begin some gentle physical exercise within the first week.
Of course, we don’t want you to put any strain on your new breasts and it is advised that you undertake a graduated return to normal activities, as guided by your surgeon.
As a general rule of thumb, however, following breast reduction;
▪ You should be able to go home on the day or the day after your surgery
▪ You should be able to return to light work at one to two weeks
▪ You should be able to drive at one week
▪ You should be able to return to light exercise at two weeks but not building up to full exercise until 3 months
Frequently asked questions
You will be advised to bring with you a supportive bra. These should be non-underwired.
You should refrain from taking aspirin, non-steroidal painkillers (e.g. ibuprofen), or vitamin and herbal supplements, as these can increase the chance of bleeding.
Be sure to disclose everything you are currently taking, regardless of how menial.
Stop smoking and all other nicotine products several weeks prior to your procedure.
Yes is the answer to that question although it may not be the exact size. In general a D or DD will usually be suitable after surgery to provide comfort and support.
By definition a breast reduction is also a breast lift. The areola is often made smaller as well.
Good question. Each patient’s goals are different and I have to factor in patient goals with technical and artistic considerations. At surgery I reduce one side and when I like the volume and appearance I turn to the other side. It is not an exact science but more about aesthetic judgment.
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