Breast Reduction Surgery

Listed below is the step by step procedure of breast reduction surgery:

  1. What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
  2. Why is Breast Reduction Surgery Required?
  3. Pre-operative Preparation
  4. Day Before Surgery
  5. Procedure Day
  6. Methods/Techniques of Breast Reduction Surgery
  7. Post Procedure
  8. Risks and Complications

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is implemented to reshape and reduce the size of your breasts by removing some breast skin and tissues. Breast tissues will be removed in accordance with how much size of the breast patient wants to reduce.

The procedure of surgically reducing breast size is called as reduction mammoplasty. The surgery can also reduce the size of areola (dark skin surrounding the nipple). It changes different dimensions of the breast-size, shape, weight and adds firmness to breasts.

breast reduction surgery

For breast reduction surgery, you need to consult a surgeon and tell him about your past medical history. You should also inform doctor if you had undergone any surgery previously to remove lump from your breast. The surgeon may also ask you about the reason why you are opting for reduction mammoplasty.

Why is Breast Reduction Surgery Required?

There could be several reasons why women undergo reduction mammoplasty. Here are few of them:

breast reduction
  • Large and heavy breasts make the women feel uncomfortable. They can cause neck and back pain and posture problems. Heavy breasts need good support to prevent them from sagging and hence, the constant pull of bra straps can leave indentations on the shoulders and back. Thus, reduction mammoplasty can prove to be useful in most of the cases by eliminating shoulder and neck pain.
  • Women with large breasts can find it awkward and uncomfortable to participate in most of the sports activities; especially the ones that require extensive running. Hence, to avoid such issues, women prefer reduction mammoplasty.
  • Another issue which can cause women to undergo reduction mammoplasty could be enhancement of appearance. Teenagers and women find it extremely uncomfortable and become very conscious due to unwelcome attention towards their large breasts. Also, wearing swimsuits and other kind of clothing that fits well at the bust area are avoided by the women who have large breasts. After reduction mammoplasty, women can wear these kind of clothes without getting unwanted attention and that could be the reason why they undergo this surgery.

Pre-operative Preparation

Doctor will advise you to undergo reduction mammoplasty only if you are in good physical shape. This will help the patient in recovery and healing process. Also, you need to take care of your health and consume healthy diet so that your vitamins and minerals level fits in normal range.

Iron rich foods will help in blood formation and there would be good level of hemoglobin in your body before you undergo the surgery. It will help you in combating loss of blood that takes place during the surgery.

Consume fresh green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains so that your health is in good condition prior to the surgery.

Post surgery, one has to practice lots of precautions. It's better to get few things ready before the surgery so that you don't have to exert yourself post surgery to meet your needs. Following are few things you need to get ready before surgery:

  • Make arrangements for blood transfusion in case any alarming situation arises
  • Have ice stocked up in your refrigerator
  • Clean towels and wash cloths
  • Comfortable T-shirts or blouses
  • Clean gauze
  • Ointments and creams that have been recommended by your doctor to apply over the site of incision post surgery
  • Request your family members or friends to stay with you at least on the first night post surgery
  • Make arrangements to go home post surgery
  • If you have medical insurance, you need to complete certain formalities and arrange your finance accordingly.

Day Before Surgery

Day before the surgery, surgeon checks some parameters like blood pressure, overall body temperature, pulse rate and asks you to get basic blood test done. Hemoglobin level and chances of infection or any other abnormalities could be detected by conducting basic blood test.

Procedure Day

On procedure day, when surgery is going to be conducted, doctor will again check your blood pressure, your body temperature and heart rate. You may also be required to sign some legal medical documents prior to the procedure.

Methods/Techniques of Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is an inpatient procedure wherein the patient is required to stay in the hospital for at least a night. The procedure of reduction mammoplasty takes place in following order:

  • Patient will be administered general anesthesia to make her unconscious throughout the surgical procedure.
  • An incision will be made around the areola of nipple and vertically down towards the breast case. Another incision pattern (inverted T) can also be implemented by the surgeon depending upon the requirement.
  • Once the incision is made, underlying breast tissues and fats are removed. Breast tissues are then lifted and reshaped. Nipple that remains attached to its original blood and nerve supply is then repositioned. Areola may also be reduced depending upon the necessity.
  • In case of extremely large breasts, areola and nipple may be removed and then repositioned on the higher part of the breast. This procedure is called free nipple graft.
  • The incisions are now closed and breasts are reshaped. The breast size is now relatively smaller. Sutures are positioned deep within the breast tissue to support newly created breasts. Adhesives or surgical tapes close the skin.
  • Immediately after breast reduction surgery, gauze is placed over the incisions and breasts are supported with the help of surgical bra or are wrapped in an elastic bandage. Small tubes may also be placed in each breast to enable fluid or blood to drain in first few days post surgery.
Breast reduction surgery is a complex process that takes approximately 3-5 hours to complete. Patient has to stay in the hospital for the first night post surgery.

Post Procedure

Patient is advised to take at least a week or two off after reduction mammoplasty to get sufficient rest in order to speed up the healing and recovery process. Some women will take more recovery time to get better while others will need less.

You need to strictly adhere to follow up appointments post surgery to remove stitches and bandages. Also, medications that have been prescribed by the doctor have to be taken on time.

Rigorous physical activities have to be discontinued for a month post reduction mammoplasty. Lifting of heavy weights is also strictly not allowed. Consult with your doctor before you begin any exercise regime.

It's normal that the patient will feel breast pain for few days after surgery. Doctor may prescribe you some pain killers to reduce pain. After any kind of surgery, pain and discomfort in the operated area is inevitable. The pain eventually reduces with time.

Patient needs to consult with surgeon in following cases:

  • Indications of infection such as redness, unusual swelling and fever
  • Unusual discharge like pus from the site of incision
  • If stitches wear out or come out before their scheduled time
Patient also needs some emotional support to cope up with the trauma of reduction mammoplasty. Lending hand of support proves to be immensely helpful in inducing positive outlook towards life and feel-good factor. Patient's will power also increases because of emotional support. This can be done with support from family and friends. Advise can be taken from a professional psychological counselor as well.

Risks And Complications

Reduction mammoplasty being a complex kind of surgery, does have its share of risks and complications. Following are some common risks and complications associated with reduction mammoplasty:

  • Scars

    Reduction mammoplasty leave scars on the region where incision has been made. Though the scars heal after some time, they are either noticeable or don't completely fade away. Women who have undergone reduction mammoplasty wherein several breast tissues have been removed, develop bigger scars. Skin healing process could also be delayed. Intensity of scars also varies from person to person. The scars appear red and swollen at first. The good thing is that the incisions are made on the breast area that can be covered with bra. Wearing surgical bra will help in reducing discomfort and swelling of breasts.

  • Disproportion

    Post reduction mammoplasty, the size of both the breasts may not match. There could be slight difference in their size. Also, the shape of both the breasts may not be same. Risk of unevenly positioned nipple could also be involved in reduction mammoplasty. There could be loss of some portion of areola or nipple during the surgery. However, this is a very uncommon kind of complication.

  • Problems with breastfeeding

    Some women may find difficulty in breast feeding post reduction mammoplasty. Hence, consult with your doctor before you choose to undergo the surgical procedure.

  • Excessive bleeding

    Bleeding can occur in excess during reduction mammoplasty. Hence, most of the surgeons tell the patients to make arrangements for blood transfusions before hand to avoid last minute tensions.

  • Infection

    Risk of infection arises in the region where incisions were made. Infection is a common risk of every surgery. To avoid chances of infection, doctors prescribe some antibiotics.

  • Blood clots

    Blood clots could occur in breasts after reduction mammoplasty. If they occur in large veins that go up to lungs and heart, then it could be a matter of grave concern. However, it is uncommon complication and generally, does not occur.

  • Anesthetic reaction

    Some patients may not immediately react positively to the effect of anesthesia once it slowly starts to fade away. Reaction to anesthesia depends from person to person. Some patients may feel comfortable while some may feel uneasy and uncomfortable for few days after the surgery takes place. However, it is not a major concern and generally, after few days, patients do feel comfortable and easy.

Reduction mammoplasty can change the life of woman having huge breasts. All the unwanted attention will eventually stop coming in their way and they will develop good sense of self confidence. Reduction mammoplasty will yield permanent result and breasts will become smaller, lighter, firmer and evenly proportioned.

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