Many women with very large breasts may suffer from a variety of medical problems as well as physical discomfort. These problems range from back/neck pain and skin irritation to skeletal deformities and even breathing problems. In addition, bra straps may leave shoulder indentations. Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure that removes skin, fat, and glandular tissue from the breasts. Breast reduction makes the breasts smaller, lighter, and firmer, and can also be performed to reduce areola size.
Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia usually requiring an overnight hospital stay. Breast reduction surgery requires two to three hours to complete. As with breast lifts, the incisions and subsequent scar location on the breast are determined by how much tissue needs to be removed to alleviate your symptoms.
During most breast reduction surgeries, the nipples will remain attached to the nerves and blood vessels. In cases where a woman's breasts are extremely large, the areolas and nipples may be removed completely and then repositioned. This will result in change of nipple sensation.
After surgery for breast reduction, you may have small tubes inserted into each breast in order to drain excess fluids. The operation area will be wrapped in gauze dressings and a surgical bra or a protective elastic bandage. Pain or discomfort after breast reduction surgery is common for the first few days to a week. Two days after breast reduction surgery, the bandages will be removed, though you will continue to wear the surgical bra for several weeks until the bruising and swelling goes down. After three weeks, any stitches on the outside will be removed, however the majority of sutures are inside and will dissolve over time.
You will be wrapped in Ace wraps the first night following your surgery and the next morning you will be placed in a soft bra. For the first week following your surgery, do not raise your arms over your head or attempt to lift heavy objects. Physical activity should be limited to avoid excessive motion of chest, arms, and shoulders. For the first six weeks following surgery, all strenuous physical activity should be avoided including not lifting heavy objects.
Dr. Siwy has performed many breast reduction surgeries and achieved exceptional results. Yet, as with any surgery, there is always the possibility of complications. Some potential complications following breast reduction surgery include infection, excessive bleeding, or an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Breast reduction surgery does cause permanent scarring and may potentially leave breasts or nipples asymmetrical. The scars are easily concealed with clothing. Breast reduction surgery may affect breastfeeding. On rare occasions, the nipple and surrounding tissue may lose blood supply and the tissue will die. If this should occur, the areola and nipple can be reconstructed using skin grafts.