Portrait of doctor with measure tape measuring the size of the patient's breast.

Breast Reduction Surgery

What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery, which is also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure where excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin are removed to achieve a targeted smaller breast size in proportion with the body. This is done to alleviate the discomfort caused by excessively large breasts and ability to take part in physical activities. With reduction in the size and weight, it helps to improve self-image, too.

What are the problems that are faced with a larger breast?
The primary function of the breast is production of milk for breastfeeding. Breast is one of the secondary sexual characteristics of females, but disproportionately large breasts cause both physical and emotional distress. The weight of the large breasts causes not only physical discomfort, but also can result in chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. The bra straps cause shoulder indentations and there is usually discomfort when fitting into bras and clothing. A large breast causes skin rash or irritation under the breasts. Emotionally, these ladies develop poor self-image and are not able to take part in physical activities. Some even face the risk of falling forward while walking due to the heavy weight of the breasts.

Who are the candidates?
Any female who is physically healthy (not obese) and has any of the above symptoms, they are the candidates, but they must have realistic expectations (results in scar on the breasts) and don’t smoke.

When can one undergo the procedure?
One can undergo breast reduction surgery at any age, but it is better to postpone if one is planning to have children, and those planning to lose weight.

What are the risks associated with the procedure?
As with other routine major surgeries, it carries risks associated with general anesthesia, along with bleeding and infection. Other minor risks are bruising, scar formation, differences in size and shape of right and left breasts, and inability to breastfeed.

What is done during the procedure?
If the nipple areola region need not be reset, then liposuction alone is enough to reduce the size of the breast, but almost all breasts have displaced nipple areolar region. Thus, either after liposuction incisions are made to reshape and reset the nipple areolar complex, or with incisions, according to the size of the breast, the excess breast tissue, fat, and skin are removed. The resultant scar can either be inverted T-shape or just a vertical line below the nipple, which will fade with time.

What are issues that need to be considered in the post operative period?
There usually are drain tubes placed to drain any extra blood or fluid, which will be removed in a couple of days depending upon the drain amount. Both of the breasts will be covered with tight bandages to avoid collection of fluid, which might cause some discomfort due to the pressure exerted. On removing the dressing, the breasts might be seen as swollen and bruised, which will decrease with time. For four to six weeks, some of the physical activities might need to be limited for the breast to heal, and breast support should always be worn. The resultant scar from the incision will fade over time.

What one can expect from the procedure?
The breast size will definitely get reduced, thus alleviating all the symptoms associated with it. But in a few cases, the right and left breasts might not be of equal shape and size. The nipple areolar complex may be at different level in comparison.

The result will be shown right away, but it can take months for the swelling to completely go down and the scars to fade. The physical discomfort and emotional distress associated with the large breast will be gone forever.

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