Breast Reduction – Dr. Burton Sundin & Dr. Reps Sundin, Virginia
Sometimes, that which was once thought to be a blessing, can become a curse. Women who have very large breasts that are disproportionate to the rest of their body oftentimes complain of back and neck pain, breathing problems and slumped posture. When one considers quality of life issues, it is no wonder why so many women opt for breast reduction surgery to alleviate the physical problems associated with overly large breasts.
Cosmetic surgeons have developed an amazing technique of breast reduction that alleviates many or all of the physical problems associated with very large breasts by removing excess fat, skin and tissues from the breasts, which makes them smaller, firmer and ultimately, lighter. The goal is to create breasts that are proportionate to the body type and scale of the woman, thus relieving some of the issues associated with very large breasts, including the physical inactivity caused by the pain and discomfort of having overly large breasts.
What Breast Reduction Surgery Won’t Do
There are specific breast surgeries that target specific issues with the breasts. The reduction mammaplasty specifically addresses the issues that can be brought on by breasts that are too large for the woman’s body frame. The procedure will reduce the physical size of your breasts, but it will not make them fuller and rounder at the top of the breast and it does not guarantee the removal of stretch marks. Oftentimes, surgeons will suggest a breast lift in conjunction with the breast reduction in order to achieve the results you are looking for.
Is it Right for Me?
As with any cosmetic enhancement surgery, you should first consider your motivations for surgery to be sure that you’re choosing surgery for yourself and not to fulfill someone else’s’ desires or expectations of you or your body. It is a very personal matter and any decision for surgery should come after careful consideration of all the facts and emotions involved.
The Breast Reduction procedure can help you if you:
- Suffer chronic back and neck pain
- Suffer from kyphosis, or the rounding of the upper back and cervical spine because of over-compensation due to breast weight
- Have breathing problems such as heaviness or shortness of breath
- Maintain good physical health and weight
- Don’t smoke
- Have realistic expectations
What to Expect During your Consultation
In order to create the best possible results from your breast reduction surgery, it is important that your surgeon consult with you to discuss your desires and expectations, as well as how breast reduction surgery will impact your health, lifestyle and general well-being. It is a good idea to prepare by considering the following before your consultation:
- General medical history, including any genetic propensity for breast cancer, results of previous mammogram’s and any previous surgeries
- A detailed account of current prescription medications, supplements (vitamins or others) that you take
- Any use of tobacco or other drugs
- What are your motivations for surgery? What are your expectations?
At the consultation, your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your current health
- Examine the condition of your pre-operative breasts for size, shape and irregularities and photograph your breasts
- Based on the information gathered, your surgeon will discuss your surgical options and recommend a course of treatment
- Disclose the risk of common complications associated with breast reduction surgery and the use of anesthesia
- Cover what to do the day of surgery
- Cover post-operative care and recovery
Here are some important questions to ask your doctor in the consultation:
- Where will I recover directly after surgery?
- Will I be prescribed any post-surgery medications?
- How often do my bandages need to be changed and when will they be removed permanently?
- When will the stitches be removed?
- How soon will I need to return for a follow-up visit?
In the weeks before surgery, your surgeon may request:
- Further laboratory testing or medical evaluations
- Adjusting current prescriptions
- That you get a mammogram pre and post surgery to document any changes in breast tissues
- That you avoid the consumption of alcohol, drugs and abstain from smoking for a certain period surrounding surgery
Finally, your surgeon will go over the options you may have regarding the location of your surgery. Typically, the breast reduction procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, which means that the surgery can be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.
There are many options available to surgeons today to produce the best possible results of your breast reduction surgery.
Your surgeon will determine the techniques used for your procedure based on:
- Your height, average weight and body type
- The current size and shape of your breasts
- The condition of the skin and breast tissue including elasticity
- The condition of your nipples and areolas
Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor will suggest either intravenous or general anesthesia.
Surgeons generally choose to make their incisions around the circumference of the areola and straight down from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease, which allows most of the incisions to be hidden in the natural creases of the breast. Excess fat and breast tissues are then removed and the excess skin is trimmed. Finally, the nipple and areola area is trimmed and repositioned to match the proportion and scale of the newly reduced breast.
Closing the Incisions
Once the procedure has been completed, the incisions are closed with layered sutures and surgical tape.
The breast reduction procedure is unique in that scarring from incisions are, indeed, noticeable on the surface of the breast due to the nature of the procedure. Even though these scar lines will not fade completely, they will become flush and fade significantly over time.
Ultimately, the decision to undergo the breast reduction procedure is yours alone. After careful consideration of both the risks and benefits of surgery, you’ll have to weigh the risks against the potential benefits to make an informed decision that you can live with. Your health care professional will go over all potential risks of surgery and will make themselves available to answer any and all of your questions.
Here is a listing of some of the risks associated with reduction mammaplasty:
- Adverse scarring
- Excessive bleeding (hematoma)
- Complications associated with scar healing, including pain associated with surgery
- Potential loss of breast sensation, which can be either permanent or temporary
- Potential risks of anesthesia use
- Blood clots
- Possibility of loss of sensation in part or all of nipple and/or areola
In addition, if you plan on becoming pregnant after your surgery, it is important to know that pregnancy and childbirth may have adverse effects on the results of your breast reduction. It may also interfere or prevent future breastfeeding.