Last updated on December 1st, 2023 at 10:36 pm
Having large breasts can sometimes be uncomfortable for women. They might experience back, neck, and shoulder pain and irritation under the breasts. Carrying the extra weight of large breasts can also make staying active or doing physical activities challenging.
To address these issues, there’s a cosmetic surgery called breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty. The primary objective of this surgery is to eliminate surplus fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts to attain a breast size that harmonises better with your overall physique.
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Reasons for Breast Reduction
Women pursue breast reduction surgery for several reasons. Large, heavy breasts can cause both physical and emotional distress. Physical symptoms may include:
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain due to the disproportionate weight on the frame
- An inclination towards poor posture and rounded shoulders to compensate for the weight of heavy breasts
- Skin irritation under the breasts and rashes due to moisture and chafing.
- Bra straps cause painful indentations in the shoulders.
- Difficulty finding bras and clothes that fit properly.
Consultation and Evaluation
The first step is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Come prepared to discuss your concerns and goals in depth. The surgeon will evaluate your health, examine your breasts, and take measurements. Be ready to talk about:
- Your medical history, including any conditions, medications, or allergies
- Reproductive history, including any pregnancies or plans for future pregnancy.
- Family history of breast cancer.
- Lifestyle factors like smoking can impede healing.
- Your goals and expectations for size, shape, nipple placement, etc.
Your plastic surgeon will take photos for your medical record, examine your skin quality, and estimate the amount of tissue that will need removal to achieve optimal results. All of this information guides surgical planning.
What to Expect During Surgery
Breast reduction is performed under general anaesthesia in a hospital or an outpatient surgery centre. The surgery takes 2-5 hours, depending on the technique used and the extent of reduction needed. There are a few surgical approaches the doctor may use:
Anchor incision removes tissue from the top of the breast, around the areola, and vertically down to the breast crease. This allows considerable lifting and shaping.
Vertical incision – This removes tissue around the areola and down the breast without the horizontal incision in the crease.
Liposuction – In some cases, liposuction can supplement excision techniques to remove tissue.
The nipple and areola are repositioned higher on the breast. Finally, the incisions are stitched closed. Temporary tubes may be placed to drain fluid buildup. Bandages and a surgical bra will support the breasts as you heal.
Recovery After Surgery
You will need someone to drive you home after surgery. Initial recovery takes about 2 weeks. Medications will be prescribed for pain and discomfort. Here’s what to expect:
Swelling, bruising, and numbness – This is normal and will subside.
Wearing a surgical bra – This offers support in your recovery phase. The doctor will advise you when to start wearing a soft support bra.
Drainage tubes – If you have drainage tubes, they will likely be removed 1-2 weeks after surgery.
Medical clearance to resume regular activity – Your doctor will assess your recovery and clear you to return to work, exercise, and other everyday activities, usually within 4-6 weeks.
Results of Breast Reduction
Once the swelling has subsided after a few months, you will see your beautiful new breast contour and nipple placement. You can look forward to:
- Relief from neck, back, and shoulder pain
- Improved posture
- Better-fitting, more comfortable bras and clothing
- Confidence to exercise and participate in activities freely
- Satisfaction with a breast size in proportion to your body
It’s normal to feel some apprehension before any surgical procedure. If breast reduction suits you, trust your doctor to guide you to the best possible outcome.