Large breasts can cause pain, improper posture, rashes, breathing problems, and low self-esteem. Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is usually done to provide relief from these symptoms. Performed under general anesthesia, this procedure removes fat and glandular tissue and tightens skin to produce smaller, lighter breasts that are in a healthier proportion to the rest of the body.
Large, heavy breasts can also cause strain on a woman's body. The extra weight of heavy breasts can be harmful to posture and may lead to spinal problems. In addition to causing back, neck, and shoulder pain, excessively heavy breasts may also lead to breathing problems and other health issues. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman correct her posture and remove strain on the back, neck, and shoulders, reducing overall pain.
In addition to seeking relief from the pain caused by heavy breasts, many women seek breast reduction surgery because they are uncomfortable with the unwanted attention that their breast size draws. This unwanted attention may cause a woman to become uncomfortable with her appearance. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman regain her self-confidence and positive self-image, as well as provide the motivation to participate in a wide range of physical and social activities.
The Procedure & Incision Techniques
Breast reduction surgery generally takes two to four hours, depending on the patient's specific case, and is performed under general anesthesia. The size and shape of your breasts, as well as the desired amount of reduction, helps determine which type of incision is right for you. The different types of incisions for a breast reduction include:
Traditional Breast Reduction Surgery
The traditional approach to breast reduction surgery is a very effective method for alleviating discomfort caused by large, heavy breasts. The traditional method, also called an anchor pattern or Wise pattern reduction, is often the best choice for women requiring a large amount of tissue removal. In the traditional breast reduction surgery technique, incisions are made horizontally under the breast in the crease and extend vertically up to and around the nipple, creating an anchor pattern.
Because traditional breast reduction surgery allows for excess skin removal both vertically and horizontally, it is typically the best method for women with extremely large breasts. The anchor shaped incision also allows surgeons to remove more tissue than other methods, maximizing breast reduction results.
Vertical Incision Surgery
The vertical incision technique, also known as the short scar or LeJour breast reduction, typically results in shapelier breasts and less scarring than traditional breast reduction surgery. Vertical incision breast reduction is a popular alternative to the traditional method, especially for women who do not require extensive tissue removal. Incisions in this technique extend around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease, making a lollipop pattern.
Vertical incision breast reduction eliminates the need for the horizontal incision along the breast crease that is used in traditional breast reduction surgery, resulting in much less scarring. Women with moderately large breasts are the ideal candidates for vertical incision breast reduction. Vertical incision breast reduction surgery may not be a good choice for women requiring the removal of excessive amounts of fat and breast tissue.
Initially after breast reduction surgery, your breasts will be sore, swollen, and bruised. You can expect to wear bandages for about two days after surgery. Activity should be kept to a minimum for one to two weeks. You should also avoid heavy lifting and refrain from exercise and other strenuous activities for at least four weeks following the procedure. For extra support, a special soft surgical bra or athletic bra may be recommended.
Most women will be able to return to work and other normal activities about two weeks after undergoing a breast reduction.