What Can I Expect During Breast Reduction Surgery?

Having large breasts is not always as attractive as it’s made out to be. Breasts that are too large can be painful and cumbersome to handle, and some women experience psychological embarrassment and self-esteem issues as a result. Breast reduction can therefore be life changing for them. But what is the procedure like and what can you expect during breast reduction surgery.

What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that is done to reduce the size of breasts that are excessively large and heavy. It involves removing glandular tissue, skin, and fat to make the breasts smaller and more proportionate with the rest of the body.

When the breasts are too large, they can cause a lot of physical issues including neck, shoulder, and back pain, rashes under the breasts, and grooves in the shoulders, to name a few. In addition, most women with overly large breasts find it very difficult to find clothes that fit. Breast reduction surgery will resolve the weight and size issues that cause these difficulties.

What can you expect during breast reduction surgery?

During breast reduction patients can expect the following:

  1. Removal of excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin.
  2. Relocation of the nipple.
  3. Redraping of the skin around the reduced breast.

Type of Anesthesia

Breast reduction surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, and is done on an outpatient basis.

Types of Incisions

There are several techniques that can be used to perform breast reduction surgery including the following:

  • Wise pattern incisions: The wise breast reduction method also known as the anchor incision or inverted-T, is the most popular technique. It involves 3 incisions. One incision is made around the edge of the areola, another is made vertically down the front of the breast, and the final incision is made along the bottom crease of the breasts. The wise pattern is generally recommended for women with extremely large breasts, as it allows the surgeon to remove more tissue and skin than is possible with other breast reduction methods.
  • Vertical incision breast reduction: The vertical incision also known as the lollipop incision technique, is a newer breast reduction method. The incisions for this technique are made around the areola and then down from the areola to the breast crease. There is less scarring with this technique, because no incision is made at the bottom of the breast. The vertical incision technique is suitable for women that have a moderate amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed.

Removal of excess skin, tissue and fat

After the incision is made the surgeon will remove skin, tissue, and fat, and reshape the remaining tissue. The areola will also be reduced, and in some cases the nipple/areolar complex may need to be repositioned. The breasts will be smaller and firmer after surgery.

A small drain may be put under each breast and left in place for a few days, in order to help with drainage during healing. After surgery blood and fluid may accumulate below the skin and the drains help to remove the pooled fluid. The breasts are also wrapped in gauze and bandages.

Breast lift surgery takes 2-3 hours, but it depends on the extent of the reduction required.

After surgery

The breasts will feel tight and swollen after surgery, and patients generally wear a sports bra to help minimize swelling and provide support for the breasts. Pain is minimal, and most patients are able to go back to work after 1 week.

Choosing the right breast reduction method for you

There are several breast reduction methods, but the right one for you will depend on your specific situation, and your aesthetic goals. It’s therefore best to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon that is experienced with the various techniques.

Breast reduction surgery is often combined with a breast lift for optimal breast rejuvenation results.

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