Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that reduces the size of your breasts. It’s often performed to relieve back pain, which can be caused by heavy breasts. Breast reduction surgery may also be recommended if you have a condition called “fibrocystic breast disease,” which causes lumps and cysts to form in your breasts.
Breast reduction is usually done through an incision around the nipple area or armpit area. The surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from your breast and then reshape your breast tissue by removing excess material or repositioning remaining tissue. This reshaping helps balance out the weight of the breasts, which helps relieve pain for many women who are bothered by their large breasts.
Breast Reduction Surgery In Wichita KS
Large, pendulous breasts can negatively affect a woman’s life, both physically and mentally. The weight of overly large breasts can cause pain throughout the body, embarrassment, and low self-esteem.
Thankfully, breast reduction can reduce the breasts’ size and sculpt them to match your body’s proportions. Women who receive a breast reduction can achieve the comfortable, attractive breast appearance they have always wanted and significantly increase their self-confidence.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Reduction?
Suitable candidates for breast reduction are in good physical health and have no underlying health conditions that could compromise the surgery. Patients should have realistic expectations about their final results.
Ideal candidates for breast reduction experience one or more of the following conditions:
- Overly large breasts and areolas
- Misshapen or asymmetrical breasts
- Shoulder, neck, or back pain from large breasts
- Irritation beneath the breasts folds (inflammation or rash)
- Downward pointing nipples
Women with cumbersome breasts often find it challenging to find properly fitting clothing and supportive bras. This lack of support makes exercising very difficult and, sometimes, downright painful.
How Is Breast Reduction Performed?
Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. This means that you will be released home to recovery shortly after your surgery and will not require an overnight stay.
Your breasts’ size will determine which breast reduction technique is applied:
What Is a Traditional Breast Reduction?
Traditional breast reduction uses an anchor-shaped incision pattern, also known as the inverted-T. The incision will begin around the areola and travel down the lower pole of the breast towards the inframammary fold (breast crease). The incision will then travel horizontally across that crease.
Once the excess tissue has been removed, and the incisions closed, the resulting scar will resemble an upside-down “T.”
What Is a Vertical Breast Reduction?
A vertical breast reduction uses a ‘lollipop’ incision technique. This incision will be made around the areola’s edge that extends downward from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease.
This technique is similar to the anchor incision; however, it does not require the horizontal incision across the inframammary fold (resulting in less scarring). The lollipop reduction is better suited for women who desire a smaller reduction and present a lesser degree of breast ptosis (sagging).
Can Other Surgical Procedures Be Performed With My Breast Lift?
Breast reduction is nearly always performed alongside a breast lift to meet your aesthetic goals. A breast lift addresses stretched and sagging breast tissues (often caused by excessive breast weight) and repositions the nipple-areola complex.
Breast reduction and breast lift techniques work together to provide you with ideal breast contouring results.
Liposuction treatment can also be used to transform the shape of the breast.
What Should I Expect for Breast Reduction Recovery?
Once your breast reduction is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to your breasts for protection, and a specialized support bra will be provided to minimize swelling. Dr. Conrad will give instructions for your breast reduction recovery that include:
- How to care for yourself during recovery
- When to schedule a follow-up
- Incision-site care and bandage removal
- When to resume exercise and physical activity
What Will My Breast Reduction Results Be Like?
Your breast reduction will be very attractive, boosting self-confidence and improving the quality of life. Once you have fully recovered, you can feel more comfortable engaging in new physical activities and wearing new styles of clothing.
BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY
Breast reduction is one of the most common breast surgeries performed by Shaw Plastic Surgery. The surgery is usually covered by insurance, and there is an approval process to go through before the surgery can be scheduled. The exception to this approval process is patients that have Medicare. There is not approval process for Medicare. Generally it is a covered procedure, but Medicare cannot tell you ahead of time whether or not they will pay for it.
Large, heavy breasts can cause chronic pain in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Often there are skin rashes below the breasts especially during warmer weather. In addition, there may be interference with work, exercises and normal activities, and buying clothes and bras that fit properly can be very difficult.
Some of the happiest patients we see at Shaw Plastic Surgery are those who have just undergone breast reduction surgery. The most common comment after surgery is, “I wish I had done this sooner.” There is not a particular age range for breast reduction patients. Often, I see women come in when they are done having children. If a patient is having significant discomfort from heavy breasts, there is no advantage to postponing surgery. The situation typically worsens with aging and gravity.
Breast reduction and breast lift are nearly the same surgery. The difference is the amount of tissue removed. The insurance company will dictate a minimum amount of breast tissue to be removed in order to meet their criteria for approval. Breast lift surgery is not covered by insurance so there are no restrictions. However, breast reduction surgery does include lifting, repositioning the nipple and making the nipple area smaller.
The surgery is performed by James M. Shaw, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, under general anesthesia. Patients go home the same day. You will need a responsible adult present to drive you home. Postoperative pain is typically less than the patient anticipated. Many say the pain they had every day from the weight of their breasts was worse than the temporary post-operative pain. You will have a prescription for pain medicine to use after surgery. Ice packs often work even better than the pain meds and the fewer pain meds, the less chance for side effects.
The first week after breast surgery should be spent at home with minimal activity. After one week, most women are ready to return to work or school and running errands. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first month following breast surgery.
If you are considering a breast reduction …..
Women with very large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight-from back and neck pain and skin irritation to skeletal deformities and breathing problems. Bra straps may leave indentations in their shoulders. And unusually large breasts can make a woman-or a teenage girl-feel extremely self-conscious.
Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is designed for such women. The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
If you’re considering breast reduction, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure- when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect. It can’t answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask Dr. Rieger if there is anything about the procedure you don’t understand.
The best candidates for breast reduction
Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by very large, sagging breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort.
In most cases, breast reduction isn’t performed until a woman’s breasts are fully developed; however, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Breast reduction is may not be recommended for women who intend to breast-feed. However, some women are successful breast feeding after a breast reduction.
The insurance companies may use a formula called the Schnur Sliding Scale Chart to evaluate a patient for a reduction. Click here to go to the Blue Cross Blue Shield website’s chart. To find your Body Surface Area or BSA for the chart go to the bottom of the chart and click on the quick calculator and enter your measurements. Remember this is only one of the criteria commonly used. The doctor will estimate the amount of breast tissue to be removed during your visit.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk
Breast reduction is not a simple operation, but it’s normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection, or reaction to the anesthesia. Some patients develop small sores around their nipples after surgery; these can be treated with antibiotic creams. You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Rieger’s advice both before and after surgery.
The procedure does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they’ll be covered by your bra or bathing suit. (Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.) The procedure can also leave you with slightly mismatched breasts or unevenly positioned nipples. Future breast-feeding may not be possible, since the surgery removes many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples.
Some patients may experience a permanent loss of feeling in their nipples or breasts. Rarely, the nipple and areola may lose their blood supply and the tissue will die. (The nipple and areola can usually be rebuilt, however, using skin grafts from elsewhere on the body.)
Planning your surgery
In your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon, and to listen to his or her opinion. Every patient-and every physician, as well-has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts.
Heavy breasts can lead to physical discomfort, a variety of medical problems, shoulder indentations due to tight bra straps, and extreme self-consciousness.
The surgeon will examine and measure your breasts, and will probably photograph them for reference during surgery and afterwards. (The photographs may also be used in the processing of your insurance coverage.) He or she will 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 should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure, and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breasts.
Your surgeon should describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks and limitations and making sure you understand the scarring that will result. The surgeon should also explain the anesthesia he or she will use, the facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs. (Some insurance companies will pay for breast reduction if it’s medically necessary; however, they may require that a certain amount of breast tissue be removed. Check your policy, and have your surgeon write a “predetermination letter” if required.)
Preparing for your surgery
Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. You’ll also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Some surgeons suggest that their patients diet before the operation.
If you smoke, plan to quit at least two weeks before your surgery and not to resume for at least two weeks after your surgery.
Breast reduction doesn’t usually require a blood transfusion. However, if a large amount of breast tissue will be removed, your physician may advise you to have a unit of blood drawn ahead of time. That way, if a transfusion should be needed, your own blood can be used.
While you’re making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.
Where your surgery will be performed
Dr. Rieger prefers to perform the operation in a state-of-the art accredited outpatient surgery center.
The surgery itself usually takes three to four hours, but may take longer in some cases.
Type of anesthesia
Breast reduction is nearly always performed under general anesthesia. 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 surgeon removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and moves the nipple and areola into their new position. He or she then brings 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.
Incisions outline the area of skin, breast tissue, and fat to be removed
and the new position for the nipple.
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.)
Skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sutures close the incisions, giving the breast it’s new contour.
Stitches and dissolvable staples under the skin surface are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast.
To improve the appearance of incision scars, Dr Rieger uses a new skin closure technique that does not require old fashioned metal staples. This new technique uses the INSORB® Absorbable Skin Stapler which represents a revolutionary new skin closure modality. The INSORB® Absorbable Staple is comprised of a co-polymer which is absorbed over a period of 4-6 weeks.In most cases only simple butterfly paper tapes (steristrips) are placed on the skin and in most cases no sutures require removal !
Scars around the areola, below it, and in the crease under the breast are permanent, but ban be easily concealed by clothing.
After your surgery
After surgery, you’ll be in a sports bra over gauze dressings.
You may feel some pain for the first couple of days-especially when you move around or cough-and some discomfort for a week or more. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to lessen the pain.
The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, though you’ll continue wearing the surgical bra around the clock for several weeks, until the swelling and bruising subside. Your paper steristrips and the very few skin sutures will be removed in two weeks.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry.
Your first menstruation following surgery may cause your breasts to swell and hurt. You may also experience random, shooting pains for a few months. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This usually fades over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.
Getting back to normal
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 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. But you’ll have much less stamina for several weeks, and should limit your exercises to stretching, bending, and swimming until your energy level returns. You’ll also need a good athletic 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, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
Your new look
Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts, weight changes, and pregnancy.
Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that breast reduction scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. You’ll be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, your body will look better proportioned, and clothes will fit you better.
However, as much as you may have desired these changes, you’ll need time to adjust to your new image-as will your family and friends. Be patient with yourself, and with them. Keep in mind why you had this surgery, and chances are that, like most women, you’ll be pleased with the results.
With smaller, better proportioned breasts, you’ll feel more comfortable and your clothes will fit better.