A breast reduction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that will reduce the size of your breasts. If you have large, pendulous breasts and routinely experience shoulder or back pain or have indentations in your shoulders from your bra straps, a breast reduction can be just the thing to help you. The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts, resulting in breasts that are lighter, smaller and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
If you are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and have realistic expectations, you will be a good candidate. Although most of our breast reduction patients are adults, we do perform breast reduction on teen-aged girls, as large, pendulous breasts on a teenager can be embarrassing for them and create problems with socialization, particularly in relationships with boys.
Keep in mind that if you plan to have more children, pregnancy and nursing can “undo” the results of a breast reduction. For that reason, we advise women to wait until they have finished having children before having a breast reduction procedure.
A breast reduction will leave noticeable, permanent scars, although these will be covered by your bra or bathing suit. It can also result in unevenly positioned nipples or some loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts.
Sometimes after undergoing a breast augmentation with Boca Raton breast implants, women will decide to reduce their breasts to a smaller cup size.
How the procedure is performed
Breast reduction procedures are performed under general anesthesia in our Boca Raton accredited in-office surgery suite on an outpatient basis. The most common incision is called an “anchor” incision because it looks like an upside-down anchor, with an incision around the areola, from the bottom of the areola to beneath the crease under the breast and in the crease itself. Excess glandular tissue, fat and skin are removed and the nipple and areola are moved to their new, higher position. The skin of the breast is then brought down and around the areola, shaping a new contour of the breast. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area. In most cases, the nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves but in very large breasts, the nipples and areolas may have to be completely removed and grafted onto the breast, which will result in a loss of sensation in that area.
Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast. A Vertical breast reduction eliminates the horizontal scar and is good for moderately large breasts while other techniques eliminate the horizontal portion. And occasionally when only fat needs to be removed, liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size, leaving minimal scars. During your consultation we will examine you and explain your options.
What to expect during recovery
Following your breast reduction procedure, you will wear an elastic bandage or surgical bra over the gauze dressings. You may have a small tube in each breast to drain blood and fluid for the first day or two. Your breasts will be bruised and uncomfortable for a couple of days, especially if you move around or cough. We will give you pain medications for discomfort. You’ll come back into the office within the first few days for your first postoperative visit at which time you’ll be examined to be sure everything is going as it should. Sutures are removed in one to three weeks. You will have some loss of feeling in the nipples and breast skin which is caused by the swelling after surgery. This should subside over the next six weeks or so, though in some patients it may last longer or even be permanent. A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. If you have any unusual symptoms, such as bleeding or severe pain, don’t hesitate to call us.
Your first menstruation following surgery may cause your breasts to swell and hurt. You may also experience random, shooting pains for a few months. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin caused by the swelling after surgery. This usually fades over the initial six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more and occasionally it may be permanent.
Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks.
We will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. Most women can return to work (if it’s not too strenuous) and social activities in about two weeks. But you’ll have much less stamina for several weeks and should limit your exercises to stretching, bending, and swimming until your energy level returns. You’ll also need a good athletic bra for support.
You may be instructed to avoid sex for a week or more since sexual arousal can cause your incisions to swell and to avoid anything but gentle contact with your breasts for about six weeks.