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Breast reduction

Am I a good candidate for a breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery is more common than one would imagine and provides essential relief for patients that have very large breasts.

What is a breast reduction surgery?

Your surgeon removes breast tissue, fat, and skin to reduce the overall size and weight of your breasts. Breasts disproportionate to the body can seriously affect the quality of life. Moving and everyday tasks become very difficult for women who have extremely large breasts. Effective breast reduction surgery allows the patient to easily perform tasks that were once quite difficult.

Why get a breast reduction?

Very large breasts are reduced in size and weight during this procedure.

Large breasts can be the cause of:

chronic pain in the back, neck and shoulders,
Rash or skin condition that may appear under the breasts and
Nerve pain.

The procedure will also enable the person to move freely and more easily. Finding bras and clothing also becomes a less daunting task. If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult with your doctor. Breast reduction surgery will very likely improve your overall quality of life.
You can also choose this procedure for other reasons. With time, large breasts tend to lose their shape and fullness. A breast reduction surgery can make them smaller, but also restore their previous shape.

Who should get a breast reduction?

As with any other surgery, you need to be completely healthy and not obese. You should not smoke because it slows down the healing process. Doctors do not recommend breast reduction procedures if you have heart problems or diabetes. You should also not do this procedure if you are not comfortable with scarring. It is not wise for young women whose breasts may not be fully developed to have breast reduction surgery. Only once the breasts are fully developed, should breast reduction be considered.

How is breast reduction procedure performed?

There are many techniques which doctors use during a breast reduction procedure. In general, the steps are the following:

The surgeon will put you under general anesthesia. Then he/she will cut around the areola and make a straight incision from below the areola to the fold below the breast.
After removing the excess breast tissue and fat, the surgeon will remove the excess skin as well.
Now that the size of the breast is reduced, the surgeon reshapes the breast. Positions the nipple and the areola in place.

Whether the nipple and the areola stay in their original position is up to your surgeon. It may be necessary to detach them from the skin, and once the final shape is achieved, attach them in a new position.

How long is the recovery from breast reduction surgery?

Recovery from breast reduction surgery differs from person to person. You should not lift anything heavy for at least two to four weeks. Breasts need time to heal. There will be a significant reduction in pain after a week, but you should still not perform any strenuous exercise or stretch too far. You can also expect that the swelling and the bruising will take at least two weeks to go away. The final result will be more obvious after a couple of weeks. Assess the shape and size after about 4 weeks once the swelling and pain have completely subsided. There are special supportive bras which your surgeon may recommend while you are healing. It is not advisable to wear underwire bra’s for at least 4 to 6 months to allow the scars to heal properly.

What are the risks?

Like any surgery, breast reduction surgery has risks and potential side effects associated with the surgery. Breast reduction surgery leaves an anchor shaped scar around the areola, down to the fold of the breast and then along the contour of the breast. Expect the following:
changes in sensation (can be temporary),
irregularities in shape and symmetry.

More serious risks involve the following and is the reason that you should choose your surgeon very carefully.

loss of skin,
persistent pain,
pulmonary complications and
fat necrosis when deep tissue dies.

For women who are undecided about having children or still want to have children, it should be noted that there is a possibility that you will not be able to breastfeed, or it will be limited.

So, should you have a breast reduction?

Yes, if you experience chronic back pain or rash under your breasts, and if you feel like your movement is limited by them. You may be a perfect candidate for a breast reduction procedure but it is essentail to get a thorough examination and to consider all of the options.

Contact Dr Filipe for a complete assessment and recommendations.