Breast reduction surgery is performed to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts.
If you have very large breasts, you might be suffering from back and neck pain caused by excess weight. The good news is that these issues can be resolved through breast reduction surgery. But what does the procedure involve? And who is a suitable candidate for the treatment? Read on to find out more about this effective treatment and why you might consider it.
Why consider breast reduction surgery?
Women with particularly large breasts often struggle with uncomfortable symptoms caused by the weight of their breasts and its impact on areas such as the shoulders, back, and neck. Pain in these areas of the body is common, while other possible symptoms associated with large breasts include poor posture, headaches, and herniated discs.
Besides the physical discomfort that is often associated with having large breasts, many women also struggle to exercise and fit comfortably into clothes.
Many women also choose to undergo breast reduction surgery to improve the overall aesthetic of their breasts and achieve better proportions.
Who is suited for breast reduction surgery?
This procedure is intended for women with large breasts who desire to alleviate the following symptoms:
- Pain that may manifest in the back, neck, shoulders, or the breasts themselves
- Heaviness of the breasts leading to discomfort
- Bra straps that dig into the shoulders
- Difficulty sleeping or finding comfort during the night
- The necessity to utilize arms to lift the breasts
- Maceration or rashes of the skin beneath the breasts, particularly in warmer weather
Alternatively, women may pursue the procedure to enhance:
- Correcting breast sagging, also known as breast ptosis.
Before you go ahead with breast reduction surgery, your surgeon will perform a routine breast examination and confirm whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your specific concerns and aesthetic goals with your surgeon.
Find out what to expect at a breast reduction consultation here:
Before you come in for surgery, your surgeon will let you know which medications you should stop taking. It is a good idea to arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and, if possible, to help you at home for a few days after surgery.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about how long to avoid food and water before your surgery.
If you have any questions or concerns about the surgery and/or the recovery period, you should raise them with your surgeon during your consultation. Your surgeon will be able to provide you with all the information that you need to feel informed and confident about your treatment plan.
What can you expect from the recovery?
Once your surgery is complete, your breasts will be bandaged. You may have drains placed to remove excess fluid from the breasts. Your surgeon will let you know when it is safe to remove your bandages, after which you will need to wear a surgical bra for a few weeks.
You must take plenty of time to rest and recover after your procedure. It is completely normal to experience some pain and discomfort, and your surgeon will let you know which medications you can take to ease these side effects.
You will need to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for a few weeks. Your surgeon will let you know when it is safe to resume your usual exercise regime, as well as other activities like work and driving.
Are there any possible risks?
Breast reduction surgery is generally considered very safe, and the risks associated with the treatment are minimal. That said, there are a few possible side effects that can occur. These include a loss of sensation in the breasts and/or nipples; scars; problems with breastfeeding; allergic reactions to anaesthetic or other drugs; and asymmetrical results that cause one breast or nipple to look bigger or smaller than the other.
Your surgeon will do everything they can to ensure that you enjoy optimal results and a smooth recovery period without complications, but it’s always a good idea to discuss the possible risks before you go ahead with the surgery.
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injectable agents
- Anaesthesia risks
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Blood clots
- Breast asymmetry
- Breast contour and shape irregularities
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
- Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs – can occur and may be temporary or permanent.
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Excessive firmness of the breast
- Fat necrosis (fatty tissue deep in the skin could die)
- Fluid accumulation
- Pain, which may persist
- Poor wound healing
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Potential inability to breastfeed
- Potential loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other
- Potential, partial or total loss of nipple and areola
- Skin discolouration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
- Unfavourable scarring
- All risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
What can you expect after surgery?
Most women who choose to go through with breast reduction surgery enjoy very positive results. Physical discomfort is alleviated, and better proportions are achieved.
It’s important to understand that it can take some time for post-surgical swelling to go down. In fact, it can take months before you see the final results of your procedure. Once your results are noticeable, you might need to buy new clothes that fit your new breasts better and more comfortably. You should find it easier to exercise, and skin irritation underneath the breasts should no longer be an issue.