Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is an enhancement procedure that makes breasts smaller, improves shape, and places them in a better position. Reduction is accomplished by removing excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin. Large breasts can cause significant physical problems such as neck, shoulder, and back pain as well as skin irritation. There is also emotional and social anxiety. Exercising can be difficult. Women with these problems who take advantage of a breast reduction find that they are able to lead a healthier, more comfortable life, in addition to enjoying a beautiful, more proportionate appearance.
Breast reduction surgery will use many of the same surgical techniques used during a breast lift. During the procedure, excess skin and breast tissue is reduced, and liposuction is used to remove excess fatty tissue from the breasts.
There are many techniques in performing a breast reduction. All techniques involve removal of fat and breast tissue and most techniques also involve removal of excess skin. The simplest technique of breast reduction is liposuction. This technique is appropriate only for a small amount of patients since no skin is removed.
The most popular techniques involve making incisions around the nipple- areola complex and onto the breast. The extension of the incision onto the breast can either be a vertical scar only or an inverted-T scar. The larger the incision, the more skin that is removed. The excess skin and glandular tissue are removed after making the incisions. The nipple-areola complex is left attached to some of the remaining breast tissue. This leaves the blood vessels and nerves intact. Next, the nipple and areola are repositioned to a higher position and held in place by stitches. The following pictures demonstrate the lifting accomplished with breast reduction and demonstrate an inverted-T technique.
Short scar technique
A more recent trend in plastic surgery has been the so called limited (short) scar or vertical breast reduction. In this version of the procedure, the horizontal scar in the breast crease is eliminated. This leaves only the round scar around the areola and the vertical scar which often heals very well. These scars are illustrated in the image below.
The benefits of this approach are not only shorter scars but also often a better overall breast shape. Some patients describe it as a “perky” appearance. Finally, the need for scar revisions while present, is often less than with the traditional approach.
The surgery is sometimes performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital or state-of-the-art surgical unit while the patient is under a general anesthesia and asleep. For larger breast reductions, the patient will often spend one night in the hospital. The surgery will take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. All incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and covered with skin glue. Drains are often used in each breast. Drains will sometimes come out the very next day or stay in until the first postoperative visit. A surgical bra is placed at the end of surgery and the patient is instructed to wear this bra or any other bra without an underwire for a total of six weeks. Postoperative instructions include no upper body exercises of any kind for a total of 6 weeks. Oral pain medications and sometimes antibiotics are given as prescriptions for the postoperative period. Generally some pain is experienced for the first week. Swelling can persist for 4-6 weeks but is usually mostly resolved by two weeks. Most patients can have a good sense of their final result anywhere between 6 weeks and three months. Of course, patients have an immediate relief of their neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. Patients are pleased with the elimination of physical pain caused by large breasts as well as a better proportioned body, an enhanced appearance, and better fitting clothes.
If you’re interested in a breast reduction in Texas, contact our plastic surgery office in McKinney, TX to schedule a consultation. Dr. Naveen Setty is a board certified plastic surgeon, and he regularly works with breast reduction patients from local Texas communities.