Women who are unhappy about having large breasts and/or want to treat symptoms such as back pain, breathing problems and poor posture, may benefit from breast reduction surgery (reduction mammoplasty), during which fat, glandular tissue and skin are removed from the breasts. The resultant smaller breasts increase patient comfort, and look more in proportion to the rest of the body. Ideal candidates for reduction mammaplasty are women with oversized breasts that are causing medical problems, low self-esteem, and/or physical or social discomfort. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding cannot undergo reduction mammaplasty.
Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on the technique used and the individual case, it takes from 3 to 5 hours to perform. The incision commonly used is an anchor shape, beginning in the breast crease and extending up to and around the areola.
Liposuction alone is sometimes used to reduce breast size. One advantage is that it leaves little-to-no scarring. However, because liposuction removes only fatty tissue, patients must have more fatty than glandular tissue in their breasts. Liposuction is also often used on men whose breasts are enlarged.
Recovery from Breast Reduction Surgery
After breast reduction surgery, patients typically experience soreness, swelling and bruising for several days. Bandages are removed after 1 day, and replaced with a surgical bra. After surgery, exercise and other strenuous activity are avoided for 4-6 weeks.
The results of breast reduction surgery are noticeable immediately after surgery. As swelling and bruising subside, the breasts' appearance improves. Scars fade with time, and usually cannot be seen when a patient wears a bathing suit or low-cut top.
Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery
In addition to the risks associated with any surgery, risks related to breast reduction surgery, depending on the technique used, include the following:
- Loss of sensation
- Excessive firmness
- Inability to breast-feed
- Loss of skin/tissue where incisions meet
- Partial or total loss of areola and nipple
Although breast reduction provides long-lasting results, breasts are still subject to the effects of aging and gravity.