Breast reduction surgery can help to provide pain relief and enhanced self-image.
Breast reduction, which is also called reduction mammoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure done to remove excess skin, glandular tissue, and fat from the breasts. The procedure often involves liposuction and/or surgical excisions. The surgeon will also reshape the remaining breast and reposition the areola and nipple.
Candidates for Breast Reduction
While many women enjoy having large breasts, some women find that their breast size is troublesome. Disproportionately large breasts can cause problems like:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Poor self-image
- Trouble finding clothes that fit well
- Chronic rash or irritation under the breasts
- Trouble exercising
- Nerve pain
Men and boys sometimes develop a condition called gynecomastia, which literally means “woman breast” in Greek. As the name suggests, a male with the condition has enlarged breasts that resemble a woman’s. They will also want to undergo breast reduction surgery.
What to Expect
Breast reduction surgery can be done in a hospital or outpatient facility. The surgery can take anywhere from two to five hours. The patient will be given general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision around the patient’s areola. They can choose from one of several different types of incisions depending on what the patient needs to have done and how large their breasts are.
The surgeon will often perform liposuction to remove excess fat, and they will cut away any excess gland tissue and/or skin. They may also trim the areola to make it more proportionate. If the patient has very large and drooping breasts, the surgeon may perform a free nipple graft in which they remove the areola and nipple and then reattach them after reducing the breast. The surgeon with then reshape the remaining breasts to give them a natural appearance and ensure that they match.
The surgeon will then stitch the incisions closed. They will place sutures deep within the breast tissue to provide support. They will then cover everything with surgical tape or adhesives.
Most patients can go home the same day they have the surgery. They should, however, get somebody to drive them home and stay with them for the first 24 hours. The patient will be sore for the first few days, and the surgeon will probably prescribe painkillers. They may also recommend carefully putting ice packs on top of the bandages. The patient’s range of motion in their shoulders and chest will be limited for a few days, so they will need help with such tasks as getting dressed.
While many patients will be able to walk around a little shortly after surgery, they should not do any other exercise aside from walking for at least three weeks. Many patients stop needing the pain medication after about a week. At this point, they may start driving again. They may also return to work, assuming their occupation is a desk job or something else that requires only light physical activity.