If you are considering a breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty), you’re likely suffering from one or more of the following effects of breasts that are too large for your frame:
- Headaches, shoulder pain, neck discomfort and/or back aches
- Rashes under the breast creases
- Irritation from bra straps digging in to shoulders or rubbing the skin raw
- Difficulty maintaining proper posture
- Numbness in the hands due to pinched nerves or poor blood circulation
- Inability to exercise and limitations from participating in physical activities due to breast size and discomfort
Large breasts are usually caused by genetic factors but can also be due to an excess of fatty tissue in the breasts from weight gain that did not resolve itself once a lower body weight was achieved. Breast reduction may also be called for post-pregnancy or after breastfeeding. The effects of having oversized breasts cannot be understated; there are the physical aspects mentioned above as well as a variety of other repercussions.
- Difficulty fitting into clothing; needing to wear oversized clothing
- The desire to wear baggy clothes to not draw attention to one’s self
- Noticing that people look at the breasts rather than the face when having conversations
- Anxiety over being in situations where less clothing would be worn (at the pool or beach)
- Limited mobility of the arms due to breasts getting in the way
- Being afraid to hug people
These are just a few of perhaps a much longer list of issues that you may be dealing with as you consider if breast reduction surgery is right for you. We can hopefully encourage you with one simple fact: our happiest patients are those in the breast reduction group! They experience immediate relief from oversized breasts, are able to move more freely, and can start exercising for the first time in years.
How the Procedure is done
A breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. This means that you will be unconscious for the duration of the procedure, under the careful observation of a medical doctor who specializes in anesthesia (also called an anesthesiologist). He or she will sedate you prior to surgery and then carefully monitor all of your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels).
The cosmetic surgeon can begin the procedure as soon as you are fully sedated and stabilized. The breast area is washed with iodine solution to kill any bacteria that may be present on the surface of the skin. Then, the incisions are made in the skin after the area is marked with a felt tip marker. Several different types of incision patterns can be made in the breasts. One of the most common involves removing the top layer of skin from around the nipple and straight down to the fold of the breast, leaving what is called a “pedicle” flap of flesh (the under layer of skin and fat containing the blood vessels and nerves that attaches directly to the nipple) to preserve blood flow to the area and avoid the loss of sensation.
The extra fatty tissue is then carefully trimmed away and discarded in equal portions throughout the breast. This will result in an evenly-distributed layer of fatty tissue remaining, thus creating a breast that is smaller in size, yet is very natural-looking. To make it easier for the surgeon to properly match the size of the second breast to the first, the amount of fatty tissue that is removed is weighed and measured in grams so that it can be duplicated on the second side. A small canal is created directly above each breast so that the nipple pedicle can be placed into its new position.
Once the fatty tissue has been removed and the surgeon is satisfied that the size the patient wanted has been achieved, a circular incision is made in the proper place where the pedicle tunnel was created. Each nipple is then gently guided through the circular incisions to create a more youthful and appropriate placement of each breast. The patient’s skin is held together with a temporary stitch or two.
The patient is then propped up slightly so the surgeon can step back and see if the breasts are symmetrical in height and volume on both sides. Once the doctor is satisfied with symmetry, the patient is lowered to a laying position once again and the incisions are closed up so that the flaps meet in the shape of an upside down “T” from the nipple down to the bottom crease of the breasts. They are closed with dissolvable stitches and a compression garment (or a snug surgical bra) is applied to reduce swelling and help in the healing process.
The compression garment or surgical bra must be worn for several weeks afterward and drains may also be put into the breasts to help reduce swelling and the risk of infection (up to the discretion of the surgeon). Light physical activity is fine for our patients after the first few days after surgery but strenuous activity must be avoided for about 4-6 weeks afterward
After healing is complete, you will have a whole new experience with your breasts! They will no longer hold you back from living life to the fullest. You won’t have to worry about running or activities that involve bouncing. Your back, neck and shoulders will feel like a burden has been lifted off of them. Even better, you will have renewed self-confidence!
If you’d like to find out more about having breast reduction surgery, please click here to contact us online or call us at 212-344-0496