This article has been reviewed and approved by Dr Quazi Ahmad for authenticity and medical correctness on 29 Jan 2020

All about Breast Reduction

A breast reduction surgery, or a reduction mammoplasty, reduces the size of your breasts and improves or uplifts the shape of your breast. 

Abnormally large breasts can cause physical as well as emotional discomfort. It can affect your posture, cause back or neck pain, and also skin infection under the breast.

A breast reduction surgery reduces your breast size to normal levels. It can also reduce the strain on the back and neck.During this procedure, the plastic surgeon will remove a certain amount of breast tissue to decrease the size of the breasts.

A breast reduction surgery is a very safe surgery with excellent results. 

Men with gynecomastia, where they develop larger breasts than usual, can also be treated with a breast reduction surgery.

Do I need a breast reduction surgery?

You may have a breast reduction surgery if you have abnormally large and saggy breasts.

Breasts that are larger than usual can: 

  • Affect your posture by making you stoop
  • Cause pain in the back, shoulders and the neck due to the pressure exerted by the breasts
  • Create painful grooves in the shoulder due to your bra straps
  • Cause rashes and irritation under the breasts
  • Create numbness or tingling sensation in your arms 
  • Prevent you from wearing tight-fitting clothes
  • Limit your movements
  • Prevent you from taking part in sports, dance and even physical exercises
  • Make you feel insecure and less confident about your body

 

In some rare cases, large breasts can make it difficult for you to breathe due to the pressure exerted in the chest. It can also make you prone to disorders like lumbar lordosis and migraine headaches. 

How to prepare for a breast reduction surgery?

While this is not a major procedure, you still need to take some steps to make yourself ready for it.

If you smoke, you need to stop it completely a few weeks before surgery. Your surgeon must be aware of any medicines that you are taking, especially blood thinners and supplements. You will have to undergo a routine body check-up to assess your general health. 

In case you are planning to get pregnant, it is better to postpone the surgery until the baby is born, and the breastfeeding period is over. The surgery can affect breastfeeding ability, so it is better to wait. 

What happens during breast reduction surgery?

You will be in the hospital the day before surgery. You will be given general anesthesia before the operation. The surgeon will begin by making an incision around your areola, the colored portion that surrounds the nipple. 

Through this incision, the surgeon will remove the required amount of breast tissue. Some amount of fat will also be removed depending on the bulk of your breasts.

The next step is to trim the excess skin that occurs due to the reduction of your breasts. After this, the surgeon will suture (stitch together) the incision.

The nipple will be retained in its original position while suturing in most of the cases. Certain cases may need repositioning of the nipple during suturing.

The surgeon may remove excess fat from the periphery of the breast to give a better shape to your breast. They may also place one or two drains to empty the fluids that may accumulate in the site of surgery before suturing.

How will be the recovery after a breast reduction surgery?

For a day or two after the surgery, there will be some pain. Painkillers will help control the pain. In the first few days, there will be some swelling and bruising in the breasts as well. It is natural and will take a few days to resolve.

Wearing the compression garment during these days will help to reduce the swelling, at a faster rate.

You will have to walk around in the hospital room to promote better blood circulation in your body. It will help the surgical wound to heal faster and also to prevent any blood clots from forming in the large veins.

You will remain in the hospital for another day or two, depending on the progress you make. Once the surgeon is happy with the way things are going, you will be allowed to go home. 

The doctor will give you proper instructions about wound care at the time of discharge from the hospital. Following these instructions will help in faster wound healing and recovery as well as prevent any complications.

You should not bend down or lift anything heavy for a few days to prevent any pressure in your breasts.

You can go back to your routine housework in a week or so. If you work, you can be back at your office in a week as well, provided you won’t be doing anything strenuous. Physically demanding work will have to wait a little longer.

At home, you should take proper care of the surgical wound. It should be kept clean and dry. You will have to take antibiotics for a few days to prevent any infections.

Bathing can be resumed a couple of days after surgery.

You can start driving in a few days, but after getting permission from the surgeon.

Within 3 to 4 weeks, the swelling and bruising will disappear completely. Then you will be able to appreciate the size and shape of your new breasts. 

What are the risks and complications of breast reduction surgery?

A breast reduction surgery is generally a safe surgery. But like any other type of surgery, there are a few risks and complications associated with it as well.

The general risks are

  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Pain in the breasts
  • Swelling of the breasts
  • Severe bleeding

 

Apart from this, certain risks are specific to breast reduction surgery. They are

  • Presence of a scar- A breast reduction surgery will produce a scar that will be visible if your breasts are exposed. The extent of scarring will vary according to the person. But the scar will not be visible while wearing low fitting dresses or swimsuits.
  • Loss of sensation in the nipples and areola- This will usually be temporary and resolve by itself. But very rarely, this may be permanent.
  • The decreased ability or inability to breastfeed- Some women find it difficult to breastfeed after a breast reduction surgery. 
  • The difference in size and shape of the two breasts- This can happen rarely. The only solution is to have a second corrective surgery. 

 

Summary

A breast reduction surgery can help reduce the size of your breasts if they are larger than usual. It also uplifts the breast and gives a pleasing shape to it. A vast majority of those who have the surgery are delighted with the results they get

Breast Reduction procedure in India
Breast Reduction procedure in India

References / Additional Reading
This article has been reviewed by Dr Quazi Ahmad for authenticity and medical correctness on 29 Jan 2020
Dr Quazi Ahmad
Dr Quazi Ahmad
MBBS, MS (Surgery), DNB (Surgery), MRCS (EDINBURGH), MCh (Plastic Surgery), MNAMS
Dr Qazi Ahmad completed his medical graduation with a gold medal from the prestigious AMU, one of the oldest university in India.He has a busy practice in KDA(Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai) and caters to all types of complex and challenging plastic surgery cases. He is frequently invited for lectures and surgical demonstrations in plastic surgery conferences and workshops.
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