Excessively large breasts can not only make women feel insecure and self-conscious but can also lead to discomfort and even medical conditions such as intertrigo and infections under the breast. Usually, the breasts are in proportion to the frame, and therefore easily supported by the remainder of the body weight. When this is not the case breasts can be problematic with the weight causing back and shoulder pain.
Why undergo breast reduction surgery?
For many women, the idea of wanting smaller breasts is unlikely, and with breast implant surgery still the most popular cosmetic surgery of all, reducing naturally large breasts goes against the grain of typical surgery trends.
But having disproportionately large breasts can be rife with issues. Not only can it affect your posture and cause back pain, but finding underwear, swimwear and clothes to fit can be problematic, not to mention everyday tasks that people take for granted like sports. What’s more, overly large breasts can affect the whole silhouette and can make many women appear larger than they actually are.
Obviously, none of these effects is desirable, and all of them can have a large impact on day-to-day life. By undergoing a simple breast reduction surgery, many women find that they have a new lease of life – not only do they look slimmer and find clothes that will fit them more easily, but they find movement easier and experience less discomfort.
Who is best qualified to perform your breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is a straight-forward and well-practised procedure. However, for a successful outcome, it is important that you visit a plastic surgeon with experience in cosmetic breast surgery procedures. Although many surgeons, including breast cancer surgeons, may carry out breast reduction it is important to seek the opinion of a plastic surgeon who is trained purely in cosmetic surgery since you get the benefit of cosmetic and artistic experience in in order to achieve bespoke, natural looking and artistic results.
What happens during your consultation for breast reduction surgery?
During your consultation, you’ll be able to learn all about the procedure, so that you can make a fully informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for you. Your surgeon will be able to make a full assessment and examine your breasts to determine the type of breast reduction procedure which is best suited. During the examination, the level of your nipple will be measured and this determines how far the nipple has to be lifted during the surgery. Based on these measurements the majority of patients undergo a procedure where the nipple remains attached to a pedicle of tissue and is moved upwards. A variable amount of breast tissue is removed. If the nipple is very low indeed then the nipple may have to be removed and replaced as a skin graft.
Are there different types of breast reduction?
The type of breast reduction carried out can vary according to the pattern of scarring which has already been mentioned which is either a vertical scar technique or a ‘Wise’ pattern scar, the medical term for the ‘anchor’ shape. However, one of the most important differences is how the nipple is re-positioned. In very large breast reductions the nipple may have to be removed and then replaced as a skin graft. This is unusual however and is only necessary in the largest of breasts. In most breast reductions the nipple is left attached and repositioned whilst being left on a pedicle of breast tissue. Mr Chana uses a technique called a superomedial pedicle where the nipple is kept attached from a pedicle which comes down from the upper part of the breast. This leaves an improved long-term result and better maintains the shape over the years.
Does a breast reduction involve a breast lift?
This is a very common question to be asked. In fact, a breast reduction always involves a lift of the nipple as part of the procedure. However, a breast uplift when carried out on its own does not involve a reduction. You can learn more about the difference between a breast uplift procedure and a breast reduction here. Similarly, breast equalisation surgery can be performed alongside a breast reduction if required in cases of breast asymmetry. A consultation with Mr. Chana will allow the patient to outline the specific concerns she has with her breasts, and a tailored approach to surgery will be formulated prior to surgery.
How can you prepare for the surgery?
Prior to the treatment, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your procedure and recovery runs smoothly. For example, smokers are advised to quit for at least a few weeks before their treatment, because smoking affects the way in which wounds heal and can cause skin loss and even loss of the nipple. I recommend at least a few weeks in advance of your treatment, but the longer you can leave the time between smoking and your surgery, the better.
If you are overweight it is advisable to lose weight before the surgery. Being overweight also increases the risks of delayed healing but also there is an increased risk of clots in the legs.
What is the anaesthetic required for breast reduction surgery?
The surgery itself is performed under general anaesthetic and you will be required to stay overnight in a hospital. A fully qualified and experienced surgeon work with highly trained and experienced consultant anaesthetists to ensure your surgery is undertaken under maximum safety.
How is the surgery performed?
Breast reduction surgery takes around two and a half hours to perform. During the procedure, excess breast tissue is taken from above, below and around the nipples, as well as any excess skin. The nipples are then lifted so that the breasts sit higher on the chest. For the majority of patients, the nipple is moved upwards whilst being attached to a pedicle of breast tissue. However, in a small proportion of women who have huge breasts the nipple may have to be removed and replaced as a skin graft. Incisions are closed with sutures, and a supportive dressing is applied to the wound to assist the healing process.
How is the size of the new breast decided?
The level to which the breasts are to be resized is something that will be discussed mutually between you and your surgeon prior to surgery. Your surgeon will be able to advise what size will be appropriate for your proportions while at the same time meeting your expectations. However, it is important to realise that it is not possible to guarantee an exact cup size.
What are the scars like following surgery?
With breast reduction surgery, there will always be a degree of scarring, and this is an unavoidable side effect of removing the breast tissue. This scarring will extend circumferentially around the nipple and extend in a vertical line down to the crease under the breast. In most cases, there will, in addition, be a scar running horizontally in the crease under the breast. This is the so-called ‘anchor’ shaped scar. In a small proportion of women undergoing a small breast reduction, the horizontal scar can sometimes be avoided. This is the ‘vertical scar’ technique.
What is the recovery?
After your surgery, you should sleep upright for the first few nights to reduce excess swelling or bruising, and you should take around 1-2 weeks off work to aid your recovery. Any discomfort you might experience can easily be managed with a short course of painkillers that will be prescribed to you by your surgeon – you should avoid aspirin after your surgery though, as again, these thin the blood and can affect the way in which your wounds heal. Heavy exercise should be avoided for 6 weeks following surgery.