Breast Reduction Surgery
Women with large breasts experience more than dissatisfaction with body image they may experience physical pain and discomfort. Overly large breasts and the weight of excess breast tissue can cause pain and physical conditions that impair a woman's ability to lead an active life. The emotional discomfort and self-consciousness often associated with having large pendulous breasts is as important an issue to many women as the physical discomfort and pain.
If you have large breasts that limit your physical activity and cause pain, breast reduction may be right for you. Breast reduction surgery removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with a woman's body and to alleviate the discomfort. In general, breast reduction surgery will not only correct the functional symptoms associated with large breasts, but will result in better proportional breasts, enhancing a woman's body image and self-confidence.
Breast reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of large pendulous breasts that are disproportionate to a woman's body and can cause physical pain. Breast Reduction can be performed unilaterally (on one breast) or bilaterally (on both breasts). Technically called reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction improves breast size, shape and the associated conditions of large breasts that include:
- Back, neck and shoulder pain caused by the weight of excess breast tissue
- Shoulder discomfort and indentation from bra straps that support heavy, pendulous breasts
- Restricted physical activity due to breast size and the associated discomfort
- Skin irritation beneath the breast crease
- Sagging, stretched skin and a low breast profile where, when unsupported, the nipple rests below the breast crease
- An enlarged areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple) caused by stretched skin
Breast reduction surgery can be performed at any age; however it is best performed when the breasts are fully developed. Because significant amounts of breast tissue are removed, breast reduction surgery may impair the ability to breast feed. Changes in the breasts during pregnancy and significant weight fluctuations can alter the outcome of a previous breast reduction surgery.
In general, good candidates for breast reduction are women of relatively normal, stable weight whose breast development is complete. Breast reduction is best performed on:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving their physical symptoms, breast size and shape
Where to begin
A consultation with Dr. Haas is the first step to learn how a breast reduction can improve the appearance of your breasts and relieve pain, discomfort and any associated symptoms you may have resulting from large, pendulous breasts. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about breast reduction in a non-pressured environment and will include:
- A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
- The options available in breast reduction surgery
- The likely outcomes of breast reduction and any risks or potential complications
- The prescribed course of treatment
Dr. Haas and our experienced staff will answer your questions.
Call Imaage @ (502) 894-8595 to schedule your consultation.
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of breast reduction surgery. These will be carefully evaluated. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction require that you:
- Honestly share your expectations
- Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Be candid about any history of breast cancer in your family and your personal breast health
- Commit to precisely following all of Dr. Haas' instructions
By making the decision to consult a plastic surgeon and following all the instructions given, you are taking an important step in helping to assure your safety.
Dr. Haas is certified by The American Board of Plastic SurgeryŽ. This certification designates surgeons who are specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body.
Your breast reduction
Breast reduction is more commonly performed through incisions with surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin that contribute to large, pendulous breasts. The most common approach is a keyhole incision pattern.
The nipple, which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply, is then repositioned. The areola is reduced by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary. The vertical incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. Non-removable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts: sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape close the skin.
There are alternative incision patterns that may be recommended depending on the amount of tissue and skin to be removed and the quality of skin elasticity. One is a circular pattern around the areola. Another is a racquet-shaped pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease. Occasionally, for extremely large, pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast. In any case, the incision lines that remain are visible and permanent scars, although usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra.
In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with excision techniques. If breast size is mostly due to fatty tissue, and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be used for breast reduction. In every case, the technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, and patient and surgeon preference.
Preparing for surgery
Dr. Haas and members of our staff will carefully explain your breast reduction procedure. Prior to surgery, you will be given specific instructions that may include:
- Pre-surgical considerations, diagnostic testing and medications
- Day of surgery instructions and medications
- Specific information related to the use of anesthesia
- Postoperative care and follow-up
It is important to have all your questions answered. It is natural to feel some anxiety, excitement for the anticipated outcome or preoperative stress. Feel free to share your questions or concerns with us.
What to expect
Your Breast Reduction will be performed in our Joint Commission Accreditation, office-based surgical facility. Dr. Haas uses an anesthesia technique called "Twilight Anesthesia". You will be completely asleep during your surgery at Imaage using an all I.V. anesthetic for heavy sedation. We do NOT use general anesthesia that requires a breathing tube (endotracheal tube), breathing machine (ventilator), or anesthetic gases. Dr. Haas and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Dr. Haas and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Once your procedure is complete, dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra should be worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health
- When to follow-up with our office
Progress and healing
Initial healing will include swelling and discomfort at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. A support bra may be recommended around the clock for the first few weeks. It is important to keep the incision sites clean. You will be instructed to engage in light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complications.
Follow all instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome. A return to light activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a few days of surgery.
Any sutures will be removed within 10-14 days after surgery. You may be ready to return to work and more normal activity at this time, as long as you do not engage in any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling dissipates and breast shape and position settle. Continue to follow Dr. Haas's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
Results and outlook
The final results of breast reduction will appear over the next few months as breast shape and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent scars, but they will improve over time and can be hidden under most swimsuits and bras.
Your new breast size should free you from the pain and physical limitations experienced prior to breast reduction. Your better-proportioned figure will likely enhance your self-image and boost self confidence. Breast reduction is considered permanent although, over time, your breasts may continue to change due to weight fluctuations, aging and gravity.