Breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure designed to lift and reduce the size of a woman’s breasts. Often, the patient may experience shoulder pain, have difficulty finding flattering clothes that accentuate and compliment her body and may experience discomfort in day-to-day activities or while exercising. She may have noticed dermatitis of the shoulder or breast crease, pain in the breasts or postural changes that have occurred because of the excessive weight of the breasts. The patient may just feel that her breasts are excessively large for her frame and desire a smaller chest size. In consultation, Dr. Hand will carefully evaluate the patient’s requests and make recommendations for breast reduction based on the patient’s current body size and stature. The amount of breast tissue removed should accomplish the goal of regaining a balanced, attractive physique with increased physical well being. During breast reduction, the nipple and areola is relocated to a higher position and both fibrous and fatty breast tissue are removed in order to create symmetrical, more aesthetically pleasing breasts. Physical problems that were previously difficult for the patient because of excess breast weight and droop are usually resolved.
Dr. Hand performs breast reduction in our accredited Marin County outpatient surgical facility. General anesthesia is always utilized for this procedure. The technique utilized in breast reduction leaves anchor shaped scars which originate around the nipple, dropping down the center of the breast to a horizontal incision under the bottom of the breast. While the extra skin is removed from the lower breast, the nipple is left attached to the underlying breast tissue and relocated higher in the new natural position. The sensation of the nipple is usually preserved. Both fatty and fibrous breast tissue are removed and weighed until the desired volume remains and symmetry of the breasts is achieved. The remaining breast tissue and fat are mounded to create attractive cleavage and fullness in the upper and midline areas of the breast.
Recuperation and Healing
Immediately after breast reduction, a compression garment is applied in order to control post-operative swelling and bruising. It is to remain undisturbed until the 1st postoperative visit with Dr. Hand the following day and will be changed at that time. Another dressing will be applied that is to remain for 1-5 days. The patient is then asked to wear a supportive, non-underwire bra for 6 weeks.
Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral pain medication. Swelling and bruising of the breasts often occurs and will dissipate over 2 weeks. The incision sites will initially be red but will usually fade and mature over the next 8 to 12 months, occasionally longer. Initially, the breasts will seem tight and firm. Over several weeks, the breast will soften and round to the appearance of a natural breast.
An additional procedure that may enhance the cosmetic result is liposuction of the axillary (armpit) area to reduce excess fat deposits. Abdominoplasty or liposuction may also be performed to reduce and tailor the trunk, arms and lower extremities.