Breast reduction can help reduce the feeling of shoulder and neck strain, and allow greater flexibility in clothing selection. When a woman has relief from daily concerns related to large breast volume, she can enjoy daily activities more thoroughly such as exercise. Most patients are pleased and excited with the results of breast reduction surgery and the new freedoms it can allow. A breast reduction procedure not only decreases the size of the breast tissue, but also tightens the skin envelope to lift the breast and reposition the nipple-areolar complex. The goal is to also reshape the breast so it is not only smaller, but more central on the chest with a more narrow and perky shape.
- Candidates for Breast Reduction
- Breast Reduction Goals
- Breast Reduction Incisions
- Breast Reduction Procedure and Recovery
- Follow-up After Surgery
- At your consultation
Candidates for Breast Reduction
Breast reduction patients are some of the happiest patients having elective cosmetic surgery. By repositioning the breasts in the center of the chest using lifting techniques and reducing the tissue volume, women report decreased pulling on the neck and shoulders and greater ease in standing and sitting up straight. The decreased weight of the breast and smaller size make it more comfortable o exercise and feel healthy. Shopping for clothing is more enjoyable and body proportion is improved. Many women often state in their consultation that they feel as if their breasts are the first thing others notice about them. This can cause them to feel unnecessarily self-conscious in social settings. Breast reduction surgery can alleviate these stressful feelings and make interactions more comfortable.
Breast reduction surgery is most successful when the breast tissue is at a stable size. You are going to achieve the best long-term result if you are at a stable weight. Weight changes of more than 15 – 20 pounds gained or lost, can influence the result of the surgery. Gaining weight after breast reduction will cause increased size of the breast beyond the hoped-for result. Losing excess weight after surgery can cause sagging of the tightened skin and possibly a size and shape that is too small. Young women are recommended to have no further breast growth for a minimum of 12 months, but preferable two years, before having surgery. This allows the greatest possibility of a good long term result without disappointment.
Breast Reduction Goals
Talking with your plastic surgeon includes planning for a realistic and healthy breast cup size goal for your reduction surgery. Surgery most reliably reduces the size of the breast but not the chest wall circumference. While it is realistic to decrease cup size from a DD to a C, the procedure does not reduce the chest size from a 38” to a 34”. Based on your breast measurements and chest anatomy, in partnership with Dr. Baldwin, you can express your desired size goals and receive education about possible size and shape changes. While there are some limitations based on breast tissue healthiness, a dramatic change is often possible with breast reduction surgery. Many women are excited to see how much of the improvement is based on the accompanying breast lift that is part of breast reduction surgery.
Breast Reduction Incisions
Because tightening the skin is part of reshaping a smaller breast, the raised position of the nipple is produced by removal of extra skin above the nipple-areolar complex. When that skin is removed to lift the position, an incision is seen around the edge of the areola. In addition to the circular incision, there is an incision down the lower middle of the breast to narrow the width of the shape. If there is also significant excess skin in the lower third, an incision may be placed in the lower breast fold resulting in an anchor pattern. Through these incisions for skin tightening, there are various patterns for removal of excess breast tissue volume. It is not only the skin tightening that is forming the new shape but also the rearrangement of remaining breast tissue. Sometimes liposuction is used to improve the shape and final results. Various recommendations are made to enhance the healing after surgery and to provide the best scar possible.
Breast Reduction Procedure and Recovery
Dr. Baldwin performs breast reduction procedures at an accredited, outpatient surgical center connected to a hospital or at a full-service hospital. It is an outpatient procedure and usually takes up to four hours.
Breast reduction patients feel a sensation of mild swelling and fullness the night after surgery that is relieved with pain medications and resting in an upright position on two to three pillows. Usually a drain is placed over night and removed at the office visit the next day. Most patients are able to drive moderate distances safely five to seven days after surgery.
Dr. Baldwin believes post-operative guidelines for restraint from vigorous exercise for six weeks decreases potential complications, and ensures the most natural and pleasing long-term result. Potential complications are decreased when the procedure is done at a time where the patient has time to follow the postoperative instructions, allowing for healing without excessive swelling.
Follow–up After Surgery
Natural, long-lasting results are facilitated by close postoperative follow-up care. Breast reduction patients are given clear, written instructions and seen by Dr. Baldwin in the office following your procedure at day one, week one, week three, week six, three months, six months and annually thereafter. It is important to know there are no additional charges for these important follow-up visits. Closely following the instructions given at the early visits help the patient understand how to best heal from surgery. Our office is always available to see prior breast reduction patients for concerns that might arise in the future.
At Your Consultation
New information is continually being explored for breast reduction options. Dr. Baldwin is interested in discussing all your questions and sharing her opinion and experience on the newest techniques for breast enhancement during your consultation. Breast reduction continues to be one of the most popular elective plastic surgery procedures in the nation.