If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already considered a breast reduction. You are not alone! A lot of women suffer from the physical and emotional effects of having large breasts, and it can be hard to find a solution that works for you.
You may be wondering what exactly a breast reduction is, how much it costs, and whether or not it’s right for you. We’ve collected all of the information you need to know about breast reduction surgery in Raleigh here so that you can make an informed decision about your future health and happiness.
Breast Reduction Surgery In Raleigh
Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery can help alleviate some conditions associated with large breasts such as back and neck pain, skin irritation, and shoulder strap grooving. Breast reduction surgery is also an option for women who don’t have these issues but are displeased with the size of their breasts.
Following the procedure, you may experience a new sense of freedom in your exercise and physical activities without the limitations associated with disproportionately large breasts. It can also improve your self-esteem, self-image, and overall well-being.
Before the Surgery
You may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery if you:
- Are physically healthy
- Have realistic expectations
- Don’t smoke
- Are bothered by feeling that your breasts are too large
- Have breasts that limit your physical activity
- Experience back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
- Have shoulder indentations from bra straps
- Have skin irritation beneath the breast crease
Breast Reduction Consultation
We will discuss your reasons for pursuing breast reduction surgery and your desired breast size. We’ll perform a thorough medical history, including your family history, general health status, lifestyle habits such as smoking, previous operations, and any medications you may be taking. Your breasts will be measured and assessed, and photographs may be taken for your medical record. Based on your individual assessment, we will recommend the type of breast reduction surgery that best meets your goals We will discuss expected outcomes, scarring, potential risks and complications, and your post-operation recovery.
You will be assessed by the anesthesia team prior to surgery. This may be done as a phone call or an in-person visit. Based on your medical history, you may be required to have blood tests or other preoperative tests to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery.
High-quality, digital X-ray images may be recommended to detect any underlying breast abnormalities that cannot be felt or seen. This is typically recommended for women age 40 and older who have no signs or symptoms of disease; however, it may be requested earlier by your surgeon based on your medical and family history.
Health Insurance Coverage for Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is covered by many health plans. Prior to surgery, your plastic surgeon and his or her office will need to obtain authorization from your health insurer. This may require the submission of clinical notes and photographs. If your insurance does not authorize the surgery, you can still have the procedure for a fee. One of our financial counselors will discuss that option with you.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle.
Types of Breast Reduction Surgery
There are three ways to perform breast reduction surgery. The most common technique is the “anchor” method. Breast reduction is also performed with the “vertical” or “short-scar” technique. Liposuction can be performed in a small segment of patients. The ideal method for your breast reduction will be determined by your anatomy, your surgeon’s preferences, and your desired results.
Anchor Reduction Technique
The most common method of breast reduction involves an anchor-shaped skin incision (inverted T incision) that goes around the areola (the darker skin that surrounds your nipple), extends downward to the fold under the breasts, and then follows the natural curve beneath the breasts. Excess fat and breast tissue are removed through these skin incisions. Depending on your specific anatomy, your nipples may require repositioning and are often made smaller. The procedure typically takes three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. It may be performed in an outpatient facility or may require an overnight stay.
Vertical Reduction Technique
The vertical breast reduction creates a shorter scar than the traditional anchor technique and eliminates the scar along the crease under the breasts. This technique maintains a good breast shape and is best suited for small to moderate-size breast reductions.
In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques for improved breast contour, particularly on the sides of the breast and torso. If the excess volume of the breast is mostly due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a problem, liposuction alone may be used in the procedure for breast reduction. This is more typically better for older patients whose breasts are fattier and less glandular.
Your breasts may be wrapped in bandages following the procedure and you may need to wear a surgical bra depending on your surgeon’s recommendations. Recovery takes at least 1 to 2 weeks and up to 4 to 6 weeks. It may take several months for all swelling to subside and up to a year or longer for scars to fade. Although scars can lighten, they do not disappear. If this concerns you, discuss it with your surgeon prior to surgery.
While our society tends to prefer large and full breasts, the truth is that women who have overly large breasts can experience a variety of medical, social, and psychological issues caused by the size of their breasts.
However, breast reduction surgery (reduction mammaplasty) can help correct many of these problems by reducing the size and weight of the breasts. This is accomplished by removing fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. Additionally, the size of the areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple) can be reduced.
After your breast reduction, you will feel more confident and comfortable with your appearance, and Raleigh’s Specialists in Plastic Surgery is excited to give you the look and feel you’ve always wanted.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE SPECIALISTS IN PLASTIC SURGERY FOR MY BREAST REDUCTION?
Raleigh’s Specialists in Plastic Surgery is known throughout North Carolina for offering high quality results and dedicated care to their patients. Our board-certified plastic surgeons have over 75 years of combined experience in cosmetic plastic surgery and are often referred to by other doctors and physicians in Raleigh.
IS BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY RIGHT FOR ME?
Breast reduction reduces the size of overly large breasts to give women a more balanced and natural physique.
Many women with overly large breasts experience back and neck pain from the weight of the breasts, skin irritation, and even skeletal deformities.
Along with these medical issues, overly large breasts can cause women to feel self-conscious about their appearance, especially as they tend to garner unwanted attention from others.
Additionally, having overly large breasts can keep clothes from fitting properly and keep women from participating in different activities, such as sports, as their breasts constantly get in the way.
If you experience any difficulties from the overly large size of your breasts (whether physical, social, emotional, or psychological), then breast reduction surgery may be right for you. If you think you may be a candidate for breast reduction, schedule your breast reduction consultation today.
Ideal candidates are non-smoking women, are in good general health, have fully developed breasts, and have realistic expectations for their results.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BREAST REDUCTION?
Women who undergo breast reduction surgery most often have improved confidence in their appearance. They feel less pain in their back and neck, their clothes fit better, they are able to enjoy some of their favorite activities, and they have an improved and more balanced physical aesthetic.
If you would like to learn more about breast reduction surgery and how it can benefit you, contact Raleigh’s Specialists in Plastic Surgery.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY?
Your plastic surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before your surgery.
You’ll also receive specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
If you smoke (which includes vaping and all other nicotine use), it is important that you quit at least six weeks before your procedure and do not resume smoking until at least six weeks after, as smoking can cause many complications during and after your breast reduction surgery.
While you’re making preparations for your procedure, make sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.
Your consultation is one of the most important aspects of your breast reduction. During your consultation:
- You will be able to discuss your breast concerns and goals for your procedure as well as ask any questions that you might have.
- Your plastic surgeon will examine and measure your breasts to develop a plan for your surgery.
- Photos are usually taken before and after.
- Your surgeon will also discuss the variables that may affect the procedure, such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin.
- You will also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned, as they can be moved higher during the procedure.
HOW IS BREAST REDUCTION PERFORMED?
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep through the entire operation.
Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast (the inframammary fold).
The surgeon removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and may move the nipple and areola into its new position. Your plastic surgeon will then bring the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the new contour of the breast. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area.
In most cases, the nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves. However, if the breasts are very large or pendulous, the nipples and areolas may have to be completely removed and grafted into a higher position. (This will result in a loss of sensation in the nipple and areolar tissue and may affect breastfeeding in the future.)
Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast. In some cases, techniques can be used to eliminate the vertical part of the scar.
CAN I COMBINE BREAST REDUCTION WITH OTHER PROCEDURES?
While breast reduction surgery reduces the size, weight, and volume of your breasts, it does not completely correct sagging and pendulous breasts. Because of this, many women choose to combine their breast reduction with breast lift surgery (mastopexy). A breast lift tightens breast skin and elevates the breasts to a perkier, more youthful height.
If you’d like to combine procedures, you can discuss this with your plastic surgeon during the consultation.
We do not advise undergoing surgical and non-surgical procedures simultaneously. If you are looking for both, your treatments will be scheduled separately.
AFTER YOUR BREAST REDUCTION
WHAT IS RECOVERY LIKE FOR BREAST REDUCTION?
Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid strenuous activity, including lifting or pushing anything heavy, for three or four weeks.
Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. Most women can return to work (if it’s not too strenuous) and social activities in about two weeks. However, you will have much less stamina than normal for several weeks. Because of this, you should limit your exercises to stretching, bending, slow walks, and swimming until your energy level returns. You’ll also need a good sports bra for support.
You may be instructed to avoid sex for a week or more, since sexual arousal can cause your incisions to swell, and to avoid anything but gentle contact with your breasts for about six weeks.
A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. If you have any unusual symptoms, such as bleeding or severe pain, please call your doctor.
WHAT RISKS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BREAST REDUCTION?
All surgeries carry the risk of complications. Possible complications from breast reduction include discomfort, bruising, infection, asymmetry, and changes in skin sensitivity.
We’ll review breast reduction risks and safety information during your consultation.
WHEN WILL I SEE MY BREAST REDUCTION RESULTS?
You will see some improvement immediately after your procedure; however, you will have swelling and bruising in the area, and your breasts will be covered in bandages. Over time, as the swelling subsides and your breasts settle into their final position, you will see improved results.
It can take six to eight months to see your final results.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT BREAST REDUCTION?
- Is breast reduction painful?Because breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during your procedure. You will likely feel some soreness and discomfort during the days following your surgery, though prescription and over-the-counter medication can alleviate any pain you may experience. If pain persists or increases, please contact the Specialists in Plastic Surgery immediately.
- How much is breast reduction?
- Can I breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?While many women are still able to breastfeed after undergoing breast reduction surgery, there is a slight chance that your reduction surgery may affect your ability to breastfeed. This happens if the nipple-areola complex is not kept completely intact during the procedure. This is something that will be discussed during your consultation.