What is breast reduction?
Breast reduction surgery, technically called mammaplasty, reduces the size and volume of large breasts while making them firmer, shapelier, and more proportional. The reduction process, which includes a breast lift when needed (as it is for most patients), involves removing excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin along with repositioning the nipple to enhance appearance.
Who is a candidate for breast reduction?
Women who suffer from neck, shoulder, or back pain due to large, heavy breasts are perfect candidates for breast reduction surgery. So are women who limit their physical activity due to the weight and size of their breasts. And, finally, women whose large breasts make them self-conscious also benefit greatly from reduction surgery.
We typically recommend that younger patients wait until their breasts are fully developed before choosing breast reduction surgery. Women who intend to have children or lose a significant amount of weigh are also advised to postpone their breast reduction. The timing of your surgery is an excellent topic to discuss with your Clareo surgeon.
Benefits of breast reduction
Simply stated, breast reduction can dramatically improve your health, comfort and self-confidence. While each woman’s reasons for considering breast reduction are unique, you can expect:
- Breasts in better proportion to your body
- Relief from neck, back, and shoulder pain caused by heavy breasts
- Freedom to participate comfortably in physical activity
- No more skin irritation and indentations from bra straps
- Self-confidence gained from looking and feeling your best
- Nipples that point ahead, not down
- Symmetrical breasts
Your breast reduction surgery options
Breast reduction surgery is a highly personalized procedure that must be tailored to your body frame, chest width and size, and cosmetic goals. Our Clareo surgeons use many different surgical techniques and incision placements to help you achieve your desired look, all while minimizing scaring and downtime. Among your breast reduction surgery options are:
- Liposuction breast reduction: In some cases, certain women may be able to benefit from liposuction alone to reduce the size of their breasts. This is true only for women whose breasts are large mostly because of fatty tissue, rather than excess breast tissue. You must also have good skin elasticity and little to no breast sag in order to benefit from this procedure. This technique requires less downtime than other surgical approaches, and provides minimal scarring.
- Anchor or “inverted-T” breast reduction: This technique places incisions around the nipples, then vertically down the middle of the breast, and lastly along the breast crease – forming an anchor or inverted-T shape. This approach is the most versatile and provides your surgeon the greatest degree of control over your cosmetic result. That’s because the skin can be tightened both vertically and horizontally, and extra breast tissue can be removed from almost anywhere on the breast. The downside, however, is that the scars are more noticeable than some of the other incision patterns. This technique is recommended for women who want a significant amount of skin, fat, and breast tissue removed, along with optimal tightening.
- Vertical or “lollipop” breast reduction: A lollipop breast reduction uses incisions around the outer edge of the areola and vertically down the breast to the breast crease. Unlike the anchor approach, there is no incision along the breast crease itself. This option allows your Clareo surgeon to reshape a new, smaller breast with fewer scars. It is ideal for women with good skin elasticity and mild skin sag who want a moderate reduction in breast size. Women who need more substantial changes, or whose breasts are very large or have a large degree of skin sag, are not good candidates for this procedure.
- Circumareolar or “donut” breast reduction: Women who have very little or no breast sag benefit from a circumareolar breast reduction. This option creates a donut-shaped incision around the areola, with no vertical scar on the breast. Although scarring is minimal, the results from circumareolar breast reduction surgery are not as substantial as other techniques that produce more visible scars. Women who only need a small amount of fat and tissue removed are the best candidates for this approach.
Breast reduction surgery
Breast reduction surgery is a day procedure (no overnight stay) and can be performed in a fully-equipped surgical suite or hospital. General anesthesia is used to put you in a deep sleep so that you are comfortable.
Your Clareo surgeon will make the appropriate incisions based on the type of breast reduction surgery you are having. Liposuction and/or manual excision is used to remove excess fat. Additional breast tissue and skin may also be removed, and the skin and nipple is reshaped and tightened to create a smaller, perkier breast.
Once complete, your incisions are closed and you are brought safely and gently out of anesthesia. Our staff will monitor you closely to ensure your safety. Most of our breast reduction patients need only over-the-counter pain medication such as MOTRIN® after their surgery. You should be able to move about and perform most everyday tasks after your procedure.
Recovery and results
Breast reduction surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure, so you will be able to return home the day of your surgery. Make sure you arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home and stay with you the evening of surgery.
You will be required to wear a surgical support bra after your surgery for 24 hours a day, except when showering, for the first 3 to 4 weeks. Although you will need to limit strenuous activity for 3 to 4 weeks, you should be able to return to work within a week or 2. After 6 weeks, you can resume your regular fitness routine and more strenuous activities.
Although you will be able to notice a difference in the size and weight of your breasts immediately, you won’t see your final results for several weeks or months. Swelling should start to minimize in about 1 to 2 weeks, and will continue to improve every week until completely resolved. Scars will be noticeable at first, but will fade significantly over the course of 1 year.