Learn More About Breast Reduction Surgery
A breast reduction, sometimes referred to as a reduction mammoplasty, is a plastic surgical procedure to treat women with oversized and sagging breasts. All three components of the breasts– skin, fat, and gland– are commonly removed. The breasts are shaped and sculpted to a smaller, more upright position. Any asymmetry or enlargement of the nipples and areolae (dark areas) are improved at the same time.
A breast reduction is similar to a breast lift or mastopexy procedure. The major difference is that with a breast reduction, we not only lift the breasts, but we also remove a significant amount of breast tissue. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis; however, if there is a large amount of breast tissue to be removed, Dr. Shienbaum prefers to perform the procedure in a hospital setting.
Unlike other cosmetic breast procedures, a breast reduction is often chosen for medical reasons. Patients tend to choose breast reduction when their large breasts cause them physical discomfort. If your large breasts cause back pain, chafing, or difficulty with normal activities such as exercise and sleeping comfortably, a breast reduction can alleviate these problems.
Most people need about a week to rest after a breast reduction surgery before they can return to work or school. During this time, it’s normal to experience breast pain and swelling. Dr. Shienbaum may prescribe you medication to ease discomfort during the first few days of recovery.
In order to facilitate the best healing, it’s important that patients refrain from strenuous physical activity, including exercise, for about a month after their surgery. This also includes lifting heavy objects, which could cause scarring to worsen.
Scarring is normal following a breast reduction surgery. Typically, scars will fade with time but never disappear completely. Dr. Shienbaum will determine incision placement that allows for the least visible scarring possible while also achieving the desired results.
This varies according to your insurance plan, but a breast reduction surgery is often considered a medical, rather than cosmetic, procedure, and can be covered by health insurance. It’s typical for insurance providers to require that you have tried non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, without success before you can be approved for reduction mammoplasty coverage.
Dr. Shienbaum will give you detailed, personalized instructions on preparing for your surgery during your consultation. Generally, patients should complete a mammogram and refrain from smoking or taking blood-thinning medications in the weeks prior to the surgery.
A typical breast reduction surgery takes about two to four hours to complete.
Most breast reduction surgeries should not interfere with your ability to breastfeed, however, it depends on the extent of the surgery and techniques used. Talk to Dr. Shienbaum about your concerns regarding future pregnancies and breastfeeding during your consultation.