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Breast Reduction
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Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty)
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Description

A procedure to reduce the size of large breasts. Breast reduction is performed for physical relief as well as for cosmetic reasons.


Variations of technique

There are many variations to the design of the incisions for breast reduction. The size and shape of your breasts, as well as the desired amount of reduction, are factors that will help your plastic surgeon determine the best technique for you


Length of Surgery

Varies, on average 1-3 hours depending on patient and surgeon


In/Outpatient

In many cases, outpatient, however inpatient procedure in some cases


Anesthesia

Local, regional, general


Back to work in...

3-21 days


Back to the gym in...

3-8 weeks


Cost

National average: $3,400


Treatment Frequency

Once so long as maintained


Risks

Infection, fat or blood clots, excessive fluid loss, numbness, anesthesia complications, loss of feeling to nipple or breast, or partial loss of feeling, infection


Duration of results

Initial noticeable improvement, continued improvement for 6 months as post-surgical swelling decreases.



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Click links below for detail.




Breast Reduction Surgery Costs*

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons quoted the national average was approximately, $3,400.

Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Breast Reduction prices can vary widely. A surgeon’s cost for breast reduction may vary based on his or her experience as well as geographic office location.

Many plastic surgeons offer Breast Reduction financing, so be sure to ask.

Cost may include:

  1. Surgeon’s fee
  2. Hospital or surgical facility costs
  3. Anesthesia fees
  4. Prescriptions for medication
  5. Post-surgery garments, and
  6. Medical tests


Breast reduction surgery is generally considered a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by health insurance when it is performed to relieve medical symptoms.

Many insurers define breast reduction surgery as reconstructive based on the amount of tissue that will be removed.

However, pre-certification is required for reimbursement or coverage. Each insurance policy varies greatly. Carefully review your policy to determine coverage.

Your satisfaction involves more than a fee

When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast reduction, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.

If you are considering having Breast Reduction Surgery but want to explore more about the financing options and Breast Reduction prices available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

You can discuss your financial options with your surgeon, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the breasts you have always desired.
To find out more about financing options available please click here.

Am I a candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?

The best candidates for Breast Reduction Surgery are well-adjusted women who understand the purpose of the procedure.

Patients with any combination of these conditions or symptoms may be good candidates for breast reduction surgery.

  1. Women that have pendulous ‘sagging breasts’ (often signifies more glandular tissue than fat)
  2. Women who are thin (thin women tend to have more glandular tissue than fat)
  3. Women that have excessively large breasts (liposuction normally only provides a 30-50% reduction in size)
  4. Women that have excessively dense breast tissue (often signifies more glandular tissue than fat)
  5. Having this surgery for the first time.
In most cases, Breast Reduction Surgery cannot be done until the breasts are fully grown, usually by age 18.

A woman who intends to breast-feed a baby probably should not have the procedure. It's preferable to delay the procedure until she has had all her children.

Women whose breasts are sagging but not too large might receive more benefit from a Breast Lift, also known as Mastopexy.

You are also at increased risk for complications if you have diabetes, poor circulation, heart, lung or liver disease, smoke, have a family history of blood clots, take certain medications, etc.

You should discuss your medical history thoroughly with your physician before you choose to undergo surgery, he/she will inform you if in his/her opinion as a medical professional whether you are a good candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery or not.

 

What is a Breast Reduction Procedure?

A Breast Reduction is also known as reduction mammoplasty, this is a surgical procedure that brings the breasts into better proportion with the rest of the body by removing fat, excess breast tissue and skin. The areola, or darker skin around the nipple, may be reduced and repositioned as well.

Large breasts can dominate a woman's (and a man’s) appearance and give an unbalanced physical profile and make exercise difficult or even impossible to do. Breast Reduction Surgery is a procedure for reshaping exceptionally large breasts surgically to increase your comfort and satisfaction. Overly large breasts frequently have a considerable affect on self-confidence and can even affect personal relationships. The aim of surgery is to give you smaller, shapelier breasts that are in proportion to the rest of your body.

For numerous women, it’s not just the aesthetic issues they want to address in considering a Surgical Breast Reduction, for many it is also about feeling physically better, as many women (and men) experience problems associated with overly large breasts such as back pain, neck pain, and skin irritations to even more serious issues like skeletal deformations and breathing problems. One of the most common problems comes from the bra straps. They're pushed to the limit and that means indents in your skin. All of these lead to being self conscious about your body.

The actual name of this procedure is called a Reduction Mammoplasty. The parts of the body that can be removed are the skin, fat and glandular tissues which makes the breast smaller and lighter. You would be amazed at how little weight needs to come off to feel a big difference. Not only are the breasts smaller but the darker skin around the nipples is reduced as well in most cases.

Some Breast Reduction procedures are carried out in tandem with a breast lift procedure, a Breast Reduction and Lift is an ideal choice for women who wish to improve the shape and the position of their breasts. Some women also desire an increase in volume and size, Breast Implants may be inserted in conjunction with a Breast Lift.

Breast Lift Procedures are also appropriate for younger women as well who wish to address Asymmetrical Breast Correction.

Breast Reduction for Men, also known as Gynaecomastia is also a highly sought after procedure by male patients who seek to correct overly large and pendulous ‘sagging breasts’. Click here for more information.

Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery

Once you have made the decision to have Breast Reduction Surgery, there are a number of steps that can help you prepare both for pre-surgery and post surgery.

Talk to your Breast Reduction Surgeon in detail about the potential benefits of the procedure as well as Breast Reduction Risks, possible Breast Reduction Side Effects and complications before you commit to having the procedure performed. The prognosis is highly dependent upon your individual circumstances, and the advice of a qualified medical professional should be taken very seriously.

Your Breast Reduction Doctor will advise pre-surgery to;

  1. Avoid medications that may complicate surgery or recovery
  2. Stop smoking for a period of time before and after surgery
  3. Arrange for help or special care following surgery
Your surgeon will discuss how to prepare for your operation. For example, if you smoke you may be asked to quit, as smoking will increase your risk of getting a chest or wound infection and slow your recovery.

A Breast Reduction Procedure is usually performed under a general anesthetic. This means you will be asleep during the procedure. You will be asked not to eat or drink for about six hours before a general anesthetic. However, some anesthetists allow occasional sips of water until two hours beforehand.

You may also be asked to bring in a soft, supportive bra without under wiring to wear after surgery. Your surgeon will advise you about the most suitable type of bra beforehand.

At the hospital or clinic where you will have your Breast Reduction Operation, your nurse will explain how you will be cared for during your stay, and may do some tests such as checking your heart rate and blood pressure, and testing your urine.

Your Breast Reduction Surgeon will usually visit you to discuss the operation and ask you to sign a consent form. This confirms that you understand the risks, benefits and possible alternatives to the procedure and have given your permission for it to go ahead.

Your surgeon may draw on your breasts to show the planned size and shape. Photographs may be taken, so that the results of surgery can be compared with your original appearance.

Your nurse will prepare you for theatre. You may be asked to wear compression stockings to help prevent blood clots forming in the veins in your legs.

You will usually need to stay in hospital for one to two days.

 

Breast Reduction Surgery Procedure Steps

Breast Reduction Operations are usually performed through incisions made on your breasts with the surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin.

In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques described below. Breast size is largely due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, Liposuction alone is not used for Breast Reduction.

The technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and the individual plastic surgeon’s advice.

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The Incision

Incision options include:

  1. A circular pattern around the areola
  2. The incision lines that remain are visible and permanent scars, although usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra.
  3. A keyhole or racquet-shaped pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
  4. An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern
Step 3 - Removing tissue and repositioning

After the incision is made, 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.

Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely large pendulous (sagging) breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast (free nipple graft).

Step 4 - Closing the incisions

The incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. 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. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.

Step 5 - See the results

The results of your Breast Reduction Surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover.

 

Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery and Healing Steps

After you are awakened and brought into the recovery room following your breast reduction surgery, the recovery nurse will monitor your vital stats until you are ready to be released. This is dependent upon the individual but may take up to two hours or more. You will feel quite tender and possibly confused as the anesthesia wears off.

A drain may be inserted to allow the fluids an exit from the incision sites or from the bottom most portion of the treatment area. You will be swollen and bruised and will more than likely be wearing a type of compression garment or surgical bra with elastic bandages binding your breasts to your body.

It is important that you keep your incisions/suture line dry. Your Breast Reduction surgeon may have placed Steri-Strips on top of your incision line and sutures, or you may have internal sutures and tissue glue externally to bind your incision edges. Either way your surgeon will give you specific care instructions.

You will have your incision sites checked and your stitches removed in approximately 10 days.

Whilst you are healing from Breast Reduction Surgery, take your temperature regularly. An elevated temperature could mean an infection.

Pain tolerances depend upon the individual, but you will feel tender, stiff and sore for a few days and will more than likely not want to move too much. This will subside. Be sure to take your required medications and follow the precise instructions provided to you by your surgeon.

As with all surgeries, swelling will be an issue. Swelling is a normal reaction to an injury and is categorized as a natural inflammatory action.

You may be swollen for up to 3 to 4 months, although this could be very slight and only noticed by you. Your breasts, of course, will be smaller than they were before and higher, so you may not notice swelling too much, perhaps just soreness.

Bruises may or may not be present after your surgery. This depends entirely on the patient.

Sleeping can be difficult initially, it is important to sleep with at least 2 to 3 fluffy pillows under your upper back and head to keep your torso elevated. This helps relieve pressure on your treatment area, reducing swelling and pain.

Even though you may not feel like it, your surgeon will more than likely advise you to walk and move around as soon as you are able. If you do not and lie around you may develop clots and or retain fluid (swelling, edema) a lot longer.

You will most likely be instructed not to exercise or engage in strenuous activities for at least 3 to 4 weeks. Breast Reduction Recovery times vary for each individual. Take your time in healing so that you give yourself the best healing environment possible.

Breast Reduction Side Effects and Surgery Risks

While breast reduction surgery, when performed by an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon, often has pleasing results, there are a number of Breast Reduction side effects you will have to prepare for after the surgery. Usually, they are not of a serious nature. However, you should prepare for a period of several months to make a complete recovery from your breast reduction surgery.

  1. Talk to your surgeon in detail about the potential risks, benefits and possible complications of breast reduction surgery before you commit to having the procedure performed. The prognosis is highly dependent upon your individual circumstances, and the advice of a qualified medical professional should be taken very seriously.
  2. Be aware that permanent scarring cannot be avoided when a patient undergoes breast reduction surgery. While skilled doctors can do an excellent job of hiding and masking the scarring, and it will be hidden when wearing a bra or bathing suit, it will be present to some degree.
  3. Prepare to face post-surgical pain. While this can typically be managed through the use of prescription drugs, the pain following a reduction mammoplasty surgery can sometimes be severe and may necessitate a corrective surgical procedure.
  4. Discuss the possibility of breast asymmetry with your surgeon during your initial consultations. Breast asymmetry results when, after a breast reduction procedure, one breast remains slightly larger than the other.
  5. Be aware that all breast reduction procedures carry a considerable risk that the woman will lose the ability to breastfeed. This is because most of the milk ducts in the breast are removed or otherwise altered during the surgical procedure. If your ability to breastfeed is important to you, a Breast Reduction may not be the right choice.
  6. In rare cases, some (if not all) of the feeling in your breasts and/or nipples, can be lost, even after you are fully healed. While skilled, experienced surgeons are usually able to avoid damaging the blood vessels that nourish the breast nerve endings, there are no guarantees.

 

Questions to Ask a Surgeon About Breast Reduction

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Breast Reduction Surgery; here is an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself Surgeon.

  1. Am I a good candidate for Breast Reduction surgery?
  2. Are my described expectations realistic?
  3. Where is the surgery performed?
  4. How long will the procedure take?
  5. What kind of anesthesia is used?
  6. What is your experience in performing Breast Reduction surgery?
  7. Can I see your qualifications?
  8. Ask to see any Breast Reduction before and after photos of recent surgeries?
  9. What percentages of your Breast Reduction patients have had significant post-surgical complications? (surgeons should disclose this information to you)
  10. Who will be assisting my surgery? Can I see their qualifications?
  11. How much will my Breast Reduction surgery cost?
  12. Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
  13. Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
  14. Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
  15. What is the recovery and healing period for Breast Reduction? When can I resume full normal activity?
  16. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended
  17. Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)

 

 

Surgeon Checklist

Surgeon Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Breast Reduction procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself plastic surgeon.


Most popular procedures on Perfect Yourself: liposuction, breast augmentation, face lifts, rhinoplasty, tummy tucks
 
Be sure to also visit our Expert Advice page where you can find great questions from real visitors, Answered by real plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and skin rejuvenation specialists.
 


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