What are the Benefits of a Breast Reduction?
The benefits of breast reduction surgery are tied to the reasons women seek this procedure in the first place. That said, women experience physical and emotional benefits as a result of their decision. These may include:
Increased Physical Comfort
Large breast size is often the cause of musculoskeletal issues. The weight of the breasts pulls the body forward into suboptimal posture, which can place strain on the shoulder, neck, and back. Over time, this strain may result in migraines, degenerative disc disease, and the symptoms of pinched nerves, such as pain or tingling in the arms. By reducing the size of the breasts, surgery alleviates strain on the musculoskeletal system, which can improve uncomfortable symptoms.
Increased Physical Fitness
There is more than one reason women with large breasts may not like to exercise. Most prominent is the physical discomfort of breast tissue bouncing during exercise. Even when a suitable support bra can be found, women may have difficulty achieving certain motions and movements because their breasts get in the way. When breast size is straining the shoulders, neck, and back, working out may also be more painful in those areas.Breast reduction surgery can make it easier to exercise and live a more active lifestyle.
The emotional benefit of breast reduction surgery is significant. Women who undergo this procedure feel like themselves again. Their physical appearance is no longer the primary thing people notice about them. They no longer have to ensure unsolicited feedback about their appearance or unwanted glances or stares. After breast reduction, a woman may find it much easier to fit into the clothing that she prefers, enabling her to truly love what she sees in the mirror.
Who is a candidate for Breast Reduction?
Healthy women who do not smoke or can quit before surgery make good candidates for breast reduction. Some of the issues that many breast reduction patients wish to correct include:
- Indentations in the shoulders caused by bra straps.
- Sagging breasts and stretched breast skin.
- Enlarged areolas.
- Low breast profile in which the nipple-areola complex sits below the breast crease.
- Chronic fungal infections or yeast infections in the breast crease.
- Restricted physical activity.
- Limited clothing options.
Types Of Breast Reduction Surgery Methods
Breast reduction procedures can be done a number of different ways and I will work with each patient to determine the best course of action. Typically, I prefer the keyhole pattern lift as its results are the most reliable and the procedure is much more versatile.
Surgeons have popularized the circumareolar lift because it only involves a scar around the nipple. However, when the breast is lifted in this way, the entire weight of the breast is hung from a small part of the upper incision and it results in a wide scar. The nipple very often enlarges with time; and the shape does not look as natural.
Another method is creating a flap from the nipple to reposition the breast, but this can lead to loss of sensation in the area so I have abandoned that approach. In all of my cases, nipple sensation should be preserved.
I only use absorbable sutures and place three layers. By protecting these incisions with steri- strips for a full six weeks, the scars are barely noticeable. Below are photos showing the scarring that can be expected after surgery.
How Painful is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction patients feel no pain during the procedure because general anesthesia blocks pain signals from processing in the brain. After surgery, patients can expect to feel sore and tender for a few weeks. Discomfort is most intense in the first couple of days after surgery. At that time, prescription pain medication is taken to minimize side effects. Comfort significantly improves in the first week of recovery, though mild soreness can persist for 2 to 3 weeks. This later-stage soreness feels similar to what one would experience after working out, so may be tolerable without pain medication.
What is recovery like from Breast Reduction Surgery?
For a few days following breast reduction surgery, a patient may have drainage tubes in place. These are secured within the compression garment so are relatively easy to manage. If drains are placed, they are usually removed two to three days after the procedure. When compression is removed for bathing, the patient may notice swelling and bruising. These fade gradually over a few weeks.
While recovering from breast reduction, patients must avoid strenuous exercise and may be advised to avoid lifting objects and raising the arms overhead. It is important to follow post-operative instructions to avoid unnecessary strain on incisions or a prolonged recovery. Many patients return to work after a week to 10 days. However, this depends on the physical demands of their jobs. Even when work resumes, patients may be advised to continue wearing their support garment for a few more weeks. By the end of the first month after surgery, healing is usually nearly complete. It can take two to three months, though, for the breasts to look and feel soft.
What results should I expect from my Breast Reduction?
After having breast reduction, patients can expect their breasts to not only look smaller but also shapelier, firmer, and perkier. Bras and clothing should fit more comfortably, and the breasts will be in better proportion with the body as a whole.
How noticeable is the scarring after a Breast Reduction?
Scarring is an inevitable part of surgery. After breast reduction incisions have healed, patients may talk to their doctor about starting a scar treatment program. This usually consists of using a topical product to facilitate optimal fading. Proper care for the incisions after surgery also helps minimize the chances of visible scarring. Patients should avoid exposing their scars to sunlight as much as possible to prevent discoloration. Overall, most breast reduction scars fade very nicely in the first year after surgery.
Breast Reduction Before & After Photos
- 24 yr old with large breasts and painful shoulders
- 26 yr old with heavy breasts
- 29 yr old with large painful breasts
- 32 yr old with large breasts