Many women have large, heavy breasts that create an unbalanced appearance, limit their activities, and cause painful physical symptoms. Their symptoms may include back pain, neck pain, bra strap grooving on their shoulders, and rashes under their breasts. Large-breasted women can turn to Dr. Elisa Burgess at her Portland area plastic surgery practice for a breast reduction. There are multiple reasons to undergo breast reduction, including:
- To decrease overall breast volume for women who feel their breasts are too large for their frame
- To assist in alleviating the signs and symptoms of having large breasts
- To attempt to create symmetry between two unequal breasts
- To reduce the size of the areola
Am I an ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery?
Women who select breast reduction surgery, or a reduction mammaplasty, have often dealt with large, pendulous breasts for a long time. This condition is also known as breast hypertrophy or macromastia, and may cause the woman to be self conscious about her body. These breasts are so large they often lead to symptoms that may be alleviated by removing some of the breast weight. Ideally, you should no longer be planning on having additional children, since this procedure may limit your ability to nurse. You should not be pregnant, nursing, or smoking. If you’re over the age of 30, you should have a healthy mammogram.
What will the breast reduction procedure be like?
The breast reduction procedure takes between two and four hours to complete, and is performed with general anesthesia.
These illustrations depict typical breast reduction results using the anchor type incision.
What is a Vertical Breast Reduction?
A vertical breast reduction, for moderately large breasts, involves removing excess skin, fat, and breast tissue via a two-part incision–an incision around the areola (pigmented part around the nipple), and vertically from the areola to the base of the breast or along the crease. This incision pattern looks similar to a “lollipop” shape with less scarring. Liposuction is usually done along the bra rolls and toward the side of the body. Dr. Burgess then elevates the nipple and reduces the areolar size, lifting the breast as well. Sutures are used to close the incisions and are covered with gauze and tape.
What is a Standard Breast Reduction, or Full Breast Reduction?
A standard or full breast reduction is for very large-breasted women, and involves an anchor shaped incision. This is a three-part incision, first going around the areola, then from the areola to the base of the breast, and then along the crease underneath the breast. Through this incision, Dr. Burgess will remove skin, fat, and breast tissue. Liposuction is usually done along the bra rolls and toward the side of the body. Dr. Burgess then elevates the nipple and reduces the areolar size, lifting the breast as well. Sutures are used to close the incisions and are covered with gauze and tape.
What should I expect during my recovery after a breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery can be performed as either an inpatient or outpatient surgery. You should prepare for two weeks of recovery, and may be advised to wear a tight camisole during this time. Individualized instructions will be given with regard to breast massages and special compression bras or garments. Dr. Burgess will encourage you to walk around after surgery. Bruising, swelling and aching are likely, but most discomfort can be managed with medication. Swelling may cause some loss of feeling in the breast and nipple. It is imperative to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks. Traveling long distances is not recommended in the first month following surgery. Ensure that you attend all scheduled exams following surgery. Scars from the procedure will be noticeable at first, but will improve during the next year. Results of the procedure are not permanent, as gravity and aging continue to play a role. Understand that results are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and may require future revision surgery. It is important to keep up with breast exams, mammograms, and other breast studies for your general breast health.
As with any surgical procedure, complications and side effects are possible and may include a permanent loss of feeling in the breasts or nipples, hematoma or seroma, infection or inflammation, small sores around the nipples, permanent scars, unevenly positioned nipples, asymmetry, or other unforeseen risks.
Women interested in learning how to improve the appearance and symptoms caused by overly large breasts are encouraged to contact board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Burgess, at her plastic surgery office outside Portland, OR.