Breast reduction surgery is performed to reduce the size of breasts and to reshape them so that they are proportionate with the rest of your body. This procedure can also relieve the discomfort associated with back and neck pain and shoulder grooving from bra straps. The procedure is usually covered by insurance with guidelines regarding the amount of tissue removal require.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery?
Having overly large natural breasts can be a burden, both literally and figuratively. This surgery with Dr. Farrell can be truly life changing.
For a woman who has been burdened her entire life with overly large breasts, reducing their size to be proportional can really feel freeing. No more constant back and neck pain. No more tingling hands. Gone is the feeling that you have a backpack on the front of your chest. Buying clothes is suddenly fun rather than an exercise in searching for the best ways to cover up your breasts. It’s great to enter a party, restaurant or bar, or even a meeting and not feel as if eyes are focused on your large breasts.
After breast reduction, patients start taking exercise classes they’ve always avoided. Impact sports such as running or playing tennis are an option now. Patients often find themselves reengaging in social situations they didn’t even realize they were avoiding.
Plus, patients love the look of their reduced breasts. Sagging skin is removed and the breasts are lifted to a higher position on the chest. With severe sagging, nipples may even have pointed downward, but now they sit high on the chest. The reduced breasts are firm and don’t have the flattened, sagging appearance that was so depressing.
For many of our reduction patients, they say this day marked the beginning of a new life. We love to hear that.
Breast Reduction Before and After
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
Most of the patients we see considering breast reduction with Dr. Farrell have been weighing having this surgery for years. In a society where breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgery, it can make a woman question her consideration of downsizing her breasts.
But overly large breasts, especially if you have lots of glandular tissue, can be quite heavy. This can lead to a host of serious health problems:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Spinal nerve compression
- Tingling hands
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Balance problems
They can impact a woman’s life beyond the physical aspects. Her breasts can make a woman avoid certain exercise regimens and sports. They can be a distraction at work, and social situations can be so annoying, due to the unwanted attention, that it’s easier to simply stay home.
If these issues sound like what your life is like, it’s time to call Dr. Farrell for a consultation for breast reduction surgery.
How Many Cup Sizes can you Reduce your Breasts Through Surgery?
During your consultation with Dr. Farrell the two of you will discuss your goals for reduction. You’re surely sick and tired of the burden of your overly large breasts, but Dr. Farrell will want to be sure you don’t have regrets that you went too small in later years. You need to consider that you’ve spent your entire post-pubescent life with large breasts. Going from a DD cup to a B may be overly aggressive and you may have regrets down the road. We advise patients with reduction, and even with augmentation, to strive for proportionality with their breasts to their overall figure. If you’ve always had breasts that were far larger than proportional, the goal could be to bring them down so they are now proportional with the rest of your body.
Obviously, this decision is completely yours. Most patients opt for a one to two cup size decrease in their breasts with these surgeries. We have various tools that can help you visualize how different amounts of reduction will look on your figure.
How Long Will the Results of my Breast Reduction Last?
The excess sagging skin and fatty tissue removed by Dr. Farrell in reduction surgery are gone for good. Your breasts will always be smaller, higher on the chest, and much firmer. If your areolae have been reduced in size, they will always be just the right size moving forward. Sure, your breasts will sag to some degree as you get older, but they will never even come close to the sagging and flattened appearance that you’ve lived with for so many years. You’ll love your smaller, proportional breasts for the rest of your life.
Breast Reduction Before and After
Should I Have Breast Reduction Before or After Having Children?
That depends on how much your overly large breasts are impacting your quality of life. As we discussed above, the burden of very heavy, large breasts is a physical and emotional one. There’s no reason to delay addressing this if you’re having issues such as numbness in your hands or chronic neck or back pain.
Many patients who come to us for reduction surgery have been thinking about this since their high school days, so waiting until you have children may only put life on hold.
However, as explained above, reduction surgery can impact your breastfeeding ability, although that is not a sure thing.
Also, if you want to think about this in an aesthetic sense, breast reduction is quite similar to a breast lift. More breast tissue is removed in reduction. But the excision of sagging skin and the removal of fatty tissue are the goals in both procedures. Most women opt to have a breast lift after they have seen the sagging and drooping of their breasts that resulted from the impacts made by pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Will Breast Reduction Surgery Impact my Ability to Breastfeed?
Dr. Farrell is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over two decades of surgical experience. As such, he makes every effort to maintain a patient’s future ability to breastfeed after these reduction surgeries. But there is a chance breastfeeding may be impacted. This is because the nipple/areola complex needs to be relocated to a higher position on the chest, and this carries a risk of impacting the milk glands.
In most cases, the patient should still have the ability to breastfeed, but you do need to understand there is a risk that this could be affected with reduction surgery.
Where will your Reduction Mammoplasty be Performed?
Breast reduction surgery may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office-based surgical suite. If you are admitted to the hospital, your stay will be a short one. The surgery itself usually takes two to four hours, but may take longer in some cases. Breast reduction is an out-patient procedure.
What Type of Anesthesia is used during Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction is nearly always performed under general anesthesia. You’ll be asleep through the entire operation.
The Breast Reduction Procedure
Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. Dr. Farrell performs this surgery using short scar techniques. This method provides a better long-term shape of the breasts and leaves fewer scars around the bra line.
The surgeon removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and moves the nipple and areola into their new position. He or she then brings the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the 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. However, if the breasts are very large or pendulous, the nipples and areolas may have to be completely removed and grafted into a higher position. (This will result in a loss of sensation in the nipple and areolar tissue.)
Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast. In some cases, techniques can be used that eliminate the vertical part of the scar. Occasionally, when only fat needs to be removed, liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size, leaving minimal scars.
Recovery and Aftercare for Reduction Mammoplasty
After surgery, you’ll be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. A small tube may be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids for the first day or two.
You may feel some pain for the first couple of days–especially when you move around or cough–and some discomfort for a week or more. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to lessen the pain.
The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, though you’ll continue wearing the surgical bra around the clock for several weeks, until the swelling and bruising subside. Your stitches will be removed in one to three weeks.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry.
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 next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.
Getting Back to Normal
Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still occasionally ache for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks.
Your surgeon 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.
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 your doctor.
Your New Look
Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts, weight changes, and pregnancy.
Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that breast reduction scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. You’ll be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, your body will look better proportioned, and clothes will fit you better.
However, as much as you may have desired these changes, you’ll need time to adjust to your new image, as will your family and friends. Be patient with yourself–and with them. Keep in mind why you had this surgery, and chances are that, like most women, you’ll be pleased with the results.
Schedule a Breast Reduction Consult with Dr. Farrell!
To get started with Breast Reduction in Mechanicsburg, contact Farrell Plastic Surgery & Laser Center today. Call (717) 732-9000 or fill out the contact form on this page. Drs. Deborah and Leo Farrell look forward to serving you!