Breast reduction or reduction mammoplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the breasts, by removing fat, breast tissue and skin, making them smaller, lighter and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola. Women with large breasts may have some problems due to this excess weight, such as back and neck pain, skin irritation under the breast and respiratory problems. The purpose of reduction mammoplasty is to provide the woman with smaller breasts and a shape more proportional to the rest of her body.
Who is the ideal candidate to undergo a breast reduction?
Breast reduction is usually done to alleviate a physical problem, rather than for purely aesthetic reasons. Many women who undergo this procedure are concerned about the excessive volume of their chest that interferes with many activities and causes physical discomfort. In most cases it is expected until the chest has fully developed, although it can be done sooner if physical problems are very important. This procedure is not recommended in women who intend to breast-feed after pregnancy.
During the first consultation, the plastic surgeon will evaluate the size and shape of the breasts, the firmness of the skin and their general state of health. A breast examination will also be performed and in some cases a mammography study will be requested. The different surgical techniques will be explained, the size and shape of your breasts and the options or combination of procedures that are best for you will be discussed. You must express your expectations in a sincere and frank manner, so that the plastic surgeon is also frank and shows you the available alternatives for your problem, with the risks and limitations of each of them. It will also explain what type of anesthesia will be used, the need or not to enter the clinic where the surgery is performed and the costs of the intervention.
Breast reduction is only included in Social Security benefits in extreme cases, a process known as gigantomastia.
Do not forget to tell if you are a smoker or take any medication or vitamin, the number of previous pregnancies and if you plan to become pregnant again or breastfeed. Do not hesitate to ask any question that may arise, especially those related to your expectations about the results.
Surgery and anesthesia Breast reduction surgery is performed in an operating room, in a clinic or hospital
Admission is usually required, being discharged the next day in the case of breast augmentation and mastopexy, and 2 or 3 days in the case of reduction.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, the patient remaining asleep during the operation.
A breast reduction lasts between 2 and 4 hours, although in certain cases it can be extended. There are several techniques, but generally the incisions are shaped like an anchor placed around the areola, in a vertical line down from the areola and in a horizontal line in the groove below the breast. Through these incisions the excess of skin, fat and breast tissue is removed and the areola and nipple are repositioned in their new position; in some cases liposuction can be associated. In most cases the areola stays attached to your blood vessels and nerves, maintaining normal or almost normal sensation; however, in cases of large reductions it may be necessary to completely separate the areola and place it in its new position, losing the sensation. After surgery, drainage tubes and a bandage are placed around the breasts.
After breast surgery it is normal to find yourself somewhat tired a few days, but you can make life almost normal at 24-48 hours. Most discomfort is well controlled with the medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon, although the breasts may hurt a couple of weeks; The first menstruation after a reduction can cause the breasts to swell and hurt. The bandage or the dressings will be removed in a few days, being replaced by a special bra, which must be worn in the manner indicated by your surgeon. It is normal to have a burning sensation in the nipples during the first two weeks.
After reduction, it may be normal to have a decrease in sensation in the nipples; This situation is generally temporary, except in some reductions that may be final.
The stitches are removed between 7 and 14 days; the edema does not completely subside until 3 or 6 weeks.
After a breast reduction you can return to work in 2 or 3 weeks, although in a few days you can make almost normal life. You should limit strong physical activities for a few weeks, until you recover from the operation. For 1 or 2 weeks it is convenient to avoid sexual intercourse so that the incisions are not inflamed; Avoid 3 or 4 weeks of intense physical contact of the breasts. It is normal for small scabs or a little liquid to appear through the incisions.
Your plastic surgeon will see you during the months following the surgery to see the evolution. If you have any discomfort between visits or any doubt about what you should or should not do, do not hesitate to call.
Breast reduction is usually done to alleviate a physical problem, rather than for purely aesthetic reasons.