A woman with large breasts is forced to live with problems of shoulder, back and neck pain. Reduction mammoplasty, also known as breast reduction surgery, improves on your body’s overall image by sculpting your breasts to fit your body’s proportions more naturally. Large heavy breasts can interfere with normal physical activities and cause musculoskeletal pain, poor posture, headaches, breast pain and skin irritations. There is also difficulty in dressing and wearing fashions, which seem designed for the slender, small figured woman. Breast reduction is an effective procedure to reduce the size of your breast with dramatically pleasing results.
How is breast reduction performed?
Breast reduction is a surgical process to reduce the size of your breasts in order to improve problems that you have from their large size. This involves the reduction of the amount of breast tissue, the skin of the breast, and repositioning of the nipple/areola complex upward onto the repositioned breast mound.
Where are the incisions located?
Incisions are placed around the nipple/areola area, vertical downward incision to the fold under the breast, and along the fold under the breast. When the excess breast tissue is removed and the nipple is repositioned in the higher location, all of the incisions are closed. The result is an incision, which resembles the shape of an anchor.
How is the nipple region of the breast repositioned and will I lose sensation?
Nipple sensation is different for individuals and even different from one breast compared to the other. Extremely large breasted women often have reduced sensation. When an incision is made during surgery, sensation is diminished but typically returns over time. Patients report that with new techniques employed with the breast reduction surgery, nipple sensation is generally preserved.
Is there much scarring from the surgery?
During the first few weeks after surgery, the incisions will be red and raised. In time, the incisions will tend to fade. The final result depends on the way that you heal.
Is breast reduction painful?
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. After surgery, there is some discomfort, but it is not usually severe. Most patients find that the pain is well managed with pain pills.
Are there any other tests needed before surgery?
Before your surgery, we will arrange for you to have a mammogram. This is important to check your breasts for possible suspicious areas before surgery and have a baseline. Additionally, it may be necessary for you to see your internist or family physician before surgery for a check-up.
What is the best size for my breasts?
The goal of the reduction mammaplasty is to make your breasts smaller in size in order to reduce discomfort and match your body size. When insurance companies are involved, they will define the number of grams that need to be removed in order to meet their criteria for payment. At the time of your consultation, we will discuss size further.
How long will I be off work?
We recommend that you take at least one week off from work if your job is not too strenuous. Excessive amounts of activity in the early postoperative period will only prolong your recovery. Most women are able to resume normal activities within three weeks after your surgery.
Can anything be done to help the rolls of tissue that seem to extend from my breast into the armpit area?
In a woman with large breasts, the tissue seems to extend along the chest wall in the area of the armpits. Direct surgical excision of the tissue in this area is not necessary as it only leads to longer scars along the chest wall. The answer here is to use liposuction to remove fatty tissue in the under arm region.
Are there risks of breast reduction surgery?
There are risks with all forms of surgery. Bleeding, scarring and infection may occur. It is possible that there may be differences in the shape and size of your breast after surgery. Loss of the nipple region or loss of sensation in this area may occur. Skin loss in the breast region is rare. Patients who smoke are at greater risk for complications of skin dying after surgery. The reduction mammaplasty is an operation for non-smokers. Please consider that you must be off all nicotine products at least three months prior to surgery. Occasionally there can be scarring in the incisions that may be thicker than normal healing. It is important that you and your caregiver stay in the Eugene, Oregon area until your first follow-up appointment which is typically the following day after surgery. These risks are explained not to frighten, but to inform you.
Will my insurance company cover the cost of surgery?
In general, insurance companies recognize that breast reduction surgery is not a “cosmetic” type of surgery, but performed to decrease problems that you are having from excessively large breasts. Some insurance companies will pay for the surgery but have stringent requirements in terms of the amount of breast tissue to be removed before benefits will be paid. Dr. Jewell will be happy to discuss this with you in detail at the time of your consultation. In order to assist you with the planning before surgery, Dr. Jewell will obtain from your insurance company pre-authorization and a second opinion if necessary.
Is breast reduction the right operation for me?
That is a question that only you can answer. At the time of your consultation, we can discuss your questions concerning the surgery along with your concerns in detail. There is no pressure to decide on the first visit and you might decide that you are not interested at all. The most important thing is that we work together to make the decision that is right for you.