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Also known as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.
This site features many tools to assist you in your search for plastic surgery information, including breast reduction videos, stories from real patients discussing their experiences with breast reduction surgery, and breast reduction before and after photos of patients who had their procedures performed by ASPS Member Surgeons.
Overly large breasts can cause some women to have both health and emotional problems. In addition to self image issues, you may also experience physical pain and discomfort.
The weight of excess breast tissue can impair your ability to lead an active life. The emotional discomfort and self-consciousness often associated with having large pendulous breasts is as important an issue to many women as the physical discomfort and pain.
Also known as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts. Pictures of breast reduction procedures performed by ASPS Member Surgeons may help you in the decision-making process.
Breast reduction surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Breast reduction is a good option for you if:
The success and safety of your breast reduction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
After researching the basics about breast reduction, many patients want to know what to expect before breast reduction surgery.
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Breast reduction surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient/ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
If your breast reduction procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
We have a number of tools available to assist you while preparing for breast surgery, including:
Breast reduction surgery is usually performed through incisions on your breasts with surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin.
In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques described below. If breast size is largely due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be used in the procedure for breast reduction.
The technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and the surgeon’s advice.
Medications are administered for your comfort during breast reduction surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Incision options include:
After the incision is made, the nipple-which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply-is then repositioned. The areola is reduced by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary.
Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely large pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast (free nipple graft).
The incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts; sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape close the skin. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.
The results of your breast reduction surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover.
The decision to have breast reduction surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks of breast reduction surgery and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or plastic surgery staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single breast reduction procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Breast reduction procedures may be performed in your plastic surgeon’s accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these breast reduction complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedures and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself and minimize breast reduction surgery risks.
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcome or preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Many patients have questions about recovery from breast surgery.
When your breast reduction procedure is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra may be worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions for breast reduction recovery that may include how to care for your breasts following breast reduction surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
The results of breast reduction surgery will be long-lasting. Your new breast size should help relieve you from the pain and physical limitations experienced prior to breast reduction.
Your better proportioned figure will likely enhance your self image and boost your self-confidence.
However, over time your breasts can change due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal factors and gravity.
We encourage you to look at breast reduction before and after photos of patients who had their procedures performed by ASPS Member Surgeons to see examples of breast reduction results.
For many patients, the cost of breast reduction and other elective surgeries is a consideration. Breast reduction costs can vary widely. A surgeon’s cost for breast reduction may vary based on factors such as his or her level of experience and geographic office location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Cost may include:
When choosing a plastic surgeon for breast reduction, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final breast reduction costs.
It is important for you to be an active participant in the process of considering and planning your breast reduction surgery. The following list of questions to ask about breast reduction during your consultation will help you obtain the information you need.
Use these questions as a guide during your consultation: