There are many reasons to consider breast reduction surgery. Some women struggle with physical pain as a result of the disproportionate size of their breasts, while others find that it hinders their confidence and self-esteem.
As with breast augmentations, it’s important to give plenty of thought to whether breast reduction surgery is the best option. This article will offer some insight into what patients need to know before heading in for their initial consultations with plastic surgeons.
What Is a Breast Reduction Surgery?
The first thing to get straight is what breast reduction is, and what it isn’t. Many women equate it with a different procedure known as a breast lift.
While a breast reduction, known medically as reduction mammoplasty, removes extra fat, tissue, and skin from the breast, a breast lift changes the shape rather than the volume of the body. Anyone who wants to learn more about the differences between these two procedures can visit charlotteplasticsurgery.com.
Common Reasons to Undergo Reduction Mammoplasty
Some forms of plastic surgery are primarily or entirely about helping patients meet their aesthetic goals. While breast reductions can be motivated by aesthetic concerns, they also offer most patients practical benefits. Large or disproportionate breasts can cause a range of health concerns, including:
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
- Rashes and chronic skin irritation
- Upper extremity numbness
- Nerve pain
Large breasts can also make it difficult for women to find clothing that fits correctly and all but impossible to engage in many forms of vigorous exercise. Finally, this problem can also lead to poor self-esteem.
Benefits of Getting a Breast Reduction
The exact health and aesthetic benefits of reduction mammography vary based on the patient’s initial concerns. However, they often include:
Alleviation of Pain
Some women experience such a great degree of neck, back, and shoulder pain from having large breasts that they require prescription painkillers. A breast reduction can significantly reduce or even eliminate the pain and the need for medications.
Clinical studies show that women who want to undergo reduction mammography and then do so successfully feel better about themselves and their bodies following the procedure. A study even found that breast reductions boast one of the highest rates of patient satisfaction out of all types of cosmetic surgeries.
A More Active Lifestyle
Many women find that having smaller breasts allows them to comfortably perform aerobic and cardiovascular exercises that weren’t possible before their reduction surgeries. Plus, it’s easier to find supportive bras with smaller breasts.
Not all women who undergo reduction mammoplasty struggle with large breasts. Some view the procedure as an opportunity to address asymmetries. After a breast reduction, the patient will have breasts that are the same size and shape.
Possibility for Simultaneous Breast Lift
Not all patients realize this but they can schedule breast lifts in the same procedure as their reduction mammoplasties. The surgeon simply reshapes the breasts when taking out extra skin and tissue then moves the nipples higher at the same time.
Partial Insurance Payments
Most of the time, health insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic surgeries. Breast reduction is an exception if it is being performed to address physical health concerns such as skin problems or back, neck, and shoulder pain. The only downside of trying to get insurance approval is that it can take a month or more to hear back before the surgery can be scheduled.
Contraindications for Breast Reduction Surgery
Reduction mammoplasty is a generally safe procedure. Most patients recover quickly and report great satisfaction with the results. There are, however, some contraindications for breast reduction surgery. This procedure is not appropriate for people who:
- Smoke cigarettes or marijuana
- Suffer from morbid obesity
- Plan to lose significant amounts of weight
- Have heart problems
- Have diabetes
- Are concerned about the potential for scarring
In some cases, it’s just a matter of finding the right time to perform the surgery. They can be performed at just about any age, but doctors usually recommend that their patients wait until after they are finished bearing and breastfeeding children before going in for the procedure. Those who plan on losing significant amounts of weight might also want to put off reduction mammoplasty until they have reached their goals.
What to Expect During Recovery
The breast reduction surgery will only take around three hours. Recovery periods are generally short after patients go home, as well. However, it is normal to experience pain, soreness, and fatigue in the several days following the procedure. Taking some time off from work or school is a must, and patients will need to avoid strenuous activities for at least a month.
During the recovery period, it’s important to stay active. Moving around instead of remaining bedridden after surgery helps to prevent blood clots and other potentially serious complications.
Some patients also have drains placed during the surgery. These medical devices are thin tubes that empty blood and other types of fluids from the surgical area to decrease swelling and discomfort during the early stages of the healing process. They can generally be removed within a week.
Patients who undergo any kind of cosmetic surgery often worry about scarring. With reduced mammoplasties, the incision is usually placed around the nipples and then down the middle of each breast. The scars will be highly visible for the first month or two following the surgery but will quickly begin to fade. After one year, most women report only minor scarring. However, some patients do find that they need laser scar reduction procedures or other forms of scar treatments.
How to Learn More
Want to learn more about breast reduction surgery and whether it’s the right option? The best thing to do is to contact a qualified cosmetic surgeon to schedule a consultation. The initial consultation will offer patients the chance to ask any questions they might have and get a general overview of what to expect at their particular clinic. When in doubt about any of the details, ask a doctor.