Excessively large breasts can not only cause your body contours to appear disproportionate but also cause considerable physical discomfort. Apart from impairing your ability to lead an active life and causing severe back and shoulder pain, overly large breasts can also make you feel extremely self-conscious and severely restrict your choice of clothing. While natural weight loss can be a way of achieving smaller breasts, it does not guarantee a permanent reduction in their size. However, there are a number of medical procedures such as the breast reduction surgery that are extensively employed for not only achieving a significant reduction in the size of an individual’s breast but also eliminating all physical and psychological discomfort associated with it.
What is breast reduction surgery?
Also known as reduction mammoplasty, the breast reduction surgery is a highly effective and safe plastic surgery procedure that is employed for reducing the size of large breasts and achieving well-balanced body proportions. Breast reduction surgery can not only benefit women with larger breasts but also act as a highly effective treatment for a condition called gynecomastia or abnormal breast tissue growth among men.
Who are right candidates for breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is an extremely popular medical procedure that is extensively performed by plastic and cosmetic surgeons all around the world. You can consider going for the breast reduction surgery if the following are true for you.
- You have extremely disproportionate breasts that interfere with physical activity
- You experience excessive pain and discomfort in your neck and back due to the weight of your breasts.
- You experience excessive irritation or chafing under the breast crease
- Your breasts hang loosely due to the excess weight and have also caused the overlying skin to stretch abnormally.
- When unsupported by a bra, your breasts have the nipples rest almost underneath the breast crease
- Your areolas have become abnormally large due to excessive stretching of the skin.
- You are suffering from low self-esteem and are conscious of wearing your favorite clothes due to the excessively large breasts.
- You are physically healthy and have realistic expectations from the procedure.
How to prepare for your breast reduction surgery?
Before you make up your mind to go under the knife, you must clear all your doubts with your doctor in the sessions preceding the actual surgery. Your doctor will ask you about your general expectations from the operation and decide as to how much tissue must be removed to achieve the desired results. In some cases, the patient might be asked to go for a mammogram or physical breast exam to ensure that there are no abnormal growths or lumps in the breast. It is advisable to quit smoking for a substantial amount of time both before and after the surgery to promote faster healing. Also, your doctor might ask you to discontinue certain medications that might otherwise interfere with the healing process.
How is the breast reduction surgery carried out?
Depending on a number of factors such as the degree of reduction required, your body type and other medical considerations, the breast reduction surgery might either be performed as an outpatient procedure or you might be required to spend the night at the hospital. The surgery is typically performed under the effect of intravenous sedatives or general anesthesia to ensure that the patient is sleeping for the entire duration of the surgery and does not experience any pain or discomfort.
The surgery can take anywhere from two to five hours. After the anesthesia takes effect, the doctor will make an incision in your breast tissue in the form of keyhole flap of skin and excise the excess tissue and skin for removal. Once the excess tissue and fat are removed, the doctor will re-position the nipple higher on the breast mound and seal the wound with the help of stitching or layered sutures.
In some cases, a liposuction procedure might also be performed in conjunction with the breast reduction surgery to remove the excess fat tissues and provide firmness and a better shape to the breasts. In order to ensure minimum visibility of scarring, the doctors practice extra caution in positioning the incisions within the natural folds of the breast skin.
What to expect after the surgery?
In a majority of the cases, the results of the breast reduction surgery are immediately visible right after the procedure is completed. You might experience some pain, discomfort or swelling in the operated area that can be alleviated by anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications prescribed by your doctor. You can also relieve pain and soreness by using ice packs on top of your bandages.
Your doctor might advise you to take complete rest for at least a week before you can resume your daily routine and get back to work. It is highly recommended to avoid any strenuous activity for at least 2 to 4 weeks after the surgery to eliminate the chances of any physical complications.
While both bruising and swelling in the operated area might be a little discomforting in the first few days after the surgery, they would gradually diminish over a period of time. Your doctor will also prescribe you to wear a specially designed supportive surgical bra to prevent accumulation of fluids in the wound and promote quicker healing. The amount of time required for complete healing largely varies depending upon the level of breast tissue removed and your body’s natural healing capabilities.
You will be required to pay a subsequent visit to your doctor to get your stitches removed and for follow up check-ups to ensure that the operated site is healing as expected and there are no physical complications. It is highly recommended that you follow all the post-operative care instructions provided by your doctor to ensure adequate healing of the wound.
Given the fact that it relieves you of both physical as well as psychological discomfort, the breast reduction surgery can be an extremely rewarding plastic surgery procedure for most. It not only enables you to lead a life of greater freedom but also enhances your self-esteem and confidence.
How are the surgery results?
Patients can notice an immediate reduction in the breast size right after the surgery has been performed. While there might be some redness and swelling in the first few days, the original texture and skin tone of your breast will be gradually restored once the incisions have healed.
In a majority of the cases, the patients are typically satisfied and happy with the results achieved through the breast reduction surgery. The procedure can not only alleviate the symptom of other related conditions such as neck and back pain but also provide a better-proportioned figure for enhanced self-esteem.
While the results obtained from the breast reduction surgery are typically long-lasting, natural aging and excessive weight gain might interfere with the maintenance of body proportions over time. Also, since the results are largely influenced by the individual’s physical health and well being, it is not a guarantee that a single breast reduction surgery will be able to achieve the exact results as expected and subsequent follow up surgeries might be required.
Are there any risks associated with the breast reduction surgery?
While it is touted as one of the safest and most reliable cosmetic procedures for breast reconstruction, the breast reduction surgery can have a few associated risks in rare cases. Some of them are:
- Hematoma or development of blood clots
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation within the nipples and surrounding breast tissue
- Surgical infection
- Irregularities or asymmetry in the shape and contour of the operated breasts
- Discoloration or pigmentation of the skin
- Accumulation of fluids
- Interference with breastfeeding
- Nerve or capillary damage
- Persistent pain
- Skin allergies
How much will the breast reduction surgery cost?
The cost of your breast reduction surgery can be typically influenced by a number of factors including the geographic location of the surgeon, the types of procedures employed, the doctor’s experience, the level of tissue to be removed and so on. Here are a few important expenses that you might want to consider while creating an estimate of investment required for your breast reduction surgery.
- Surgeon’s fee
- Anesthesiologist’s fee
- Hospital charges
- Prescription medication
- Post surgery supportive garments
- Pre or post-surgery medical tests
Although the breast reduction surgery typically falls under the category of cosmetic surgery, it might be duly covered under your health insurance given that it is performed for the purpose of alleviating other medical symptoms such as chronic back and neck pain and so on.
Also, some insurance companies might even consider the breast reduction surgery as a reconstructive procedure depending upon the amount of breast tissue removed.
However, if the breast reduction surgery is being performed solely for the purpose of correcting the appearance of the breast mound, it might be regarded as a cosmetic procedure and not be considered eligible for an insurance claim. That being said, it is advisable to check with your