Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should Consider a Breast Reduction?
Patients with uneven breasts or large breasts who experience a number of problems
- back and neck pain
- difficulty getting clothes to fit properly and bra straps digging into the shoulders
- problems playing sport
- irritation of the skin underlying the breast
These symptoms can cause embarrassment and loss of confidence can be effectively addressed by breast reduction surgery. There are a number of different types of breast reduction procedures and the specific type recommended for a patient will depend on a number of factors, these include the size of the breasts and the amount of excess glandular tissue, fat and skin. Surgery type is determined by the degree of reduction the patient desires and their breast skin tone.
Patients considering breast reduction surgery should be in good general health and not smoke. Smoking can cause significant problems with wound healing and can also impair the blood supply to the nipple, especially if its position is moved during surgery.
What will Breast Reduction Surgery involve?
- Major Reduction
The commonest type of breast reduction performed uses the Wise pattern (or ‘anchor pattern’) incisions. This consists of incisions around the areola-nipples, vertically straight down below the nipple-areola, and in the horozontal creases underneath the breasts. These incisions allow a large amount of breast tissue to be removed if needed, the nipple to be raised and excess skin to be excised in the vertical and horozontal directions. This produces smaller, more pert round breasts, higher on the chest wall and with the nipples on the summits of the breast mounds for optimal breast shape.
- Small to Medium Reduction
Patients who are concerned about having a horozontal incision, who only require a small to medium reduction and have reasonable skin tone may be suitable for a vertical-scare type breast reduction. In this procedure the incisions are only placed around the nipple-areola and vertically beneath it – the horozontal incisions omitted. Patients will be guided as to whether they are suitable for this procedure at heir assessment – the procedural type depends on breast size and the amount of breast skin below the nipple. As part of this procedure the skin below the nipple is compressed/rouched up, this will usually smooth out post-operatively. Occasionally a short horozontal scar may be placed in the crease below the breast if the amount of skin in this area is slightly in excess and is likely to shrink sufficiently after the operation.
- Small Reduction or Covering Uneven Breasts
In a small number of patients who only require a small amount of breast volume reduction, or have small degrees of asymmetry, liposuction alone may be suitable to reduce the volume of one or both breasts.
- What happens to the Nipples during Surgery?
The nipples are not detached during a breast reduction procedure. This is a misconception, so you should be able to have a normal sensation and breast feed after surgery as the operation does not interfere with the milk producing glands.
- How long will the Surgery take and wil it hurt?
Breast reduction surgery normally takes between 2 -3 hours under general aneasthetic and requires a one night stay in hospital. A small drain is placed in each side to prevent fuid collecting after surgery and is normally removed the following day. Patients usually leave hospital the day after surgery and wear an elasticated support dressing or bra which remains in place for a week, afetr which it is exchanged for a lighter dressing and the nipple sutures are removed. Patients are normally seen again a week later, at six weeks and in between if ncessary. Pain an discomfort is normally very well-controlled with post-operative painkillers and patients generally don’t experience siginificant amounts of discomfort.
- What should I be aware of after Surgery?
Following breast reduction surgery patients ussually find that back and neck pain, and shoulder ache settle fairly quickly following their surgery as it is very effective in addressing these problems. In addition they find it easier to buy clothes that fit and can participate in all types of sport where previously their large breasts made these activities uncomfortable or embarrassing.
Scarring is the most significant trade off with reducing breast size, in that some scarring is inevitable.