Breast Reduction 101

Breast Reduction 101

Many women with large breasts suffer from a variety of painful ailments and discomforts, as well as self-esteem and agility issues. Thankfully, a breast reduction has many benefits that are capable of addressing these issues, particularly with relieving shoulder, head, neck, and back pain. Undergoing breast reduction surgery can remove the pain and limitations and restore body confidence, allowing women to enjoy the lifestyle of their choice without added concern.


Most women who have undergone this procedure report being extremely satisfied with and empowered by the results. The surgery reduces the size of the breasts, making them firmer, lighter, and more evenly proportioned to your body. A breast lift typically accompanies this procedure, in order to reduce sagginess and keep the newly formed breasts perky.


Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery can be a viable option for a variety of women, from those who experience pain and function impairment related to the size of their breasts to those who experience self-consciousness as a result of their appearance. Large breasts often lead to back, neck, shoulder, or neck pain due to poor posture and/or other physical and emotional ailments.


However, there are other cases when breast reduction surgery could prove beneficial. Athletes and others who live active lifestyles may find that large breasts infringe upon their mobility and ability to engage in activities, making a reduction the only true viable solution. Physical disproportion can be not only a mere annoyance: it can genuinely impose strict sanctions and limitations on one’s body and lifestyle. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with having your own ideas of what is aesthetically pleasing for your personal appearance.


Generally speaking, any woman who is experiencing negative issues due to the size of her breasts can be eligible for the surgery, provided that they are at least 18 years old and are aware of the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure.


How the Procedure Works

The goal of the procedure is to reduce the size of the patient’s breasts, which necessitates removing tissue and fat via surgery. The procedure begins with the surgeon making an incision in the breast. They remove excess skin, tissue, and fat through this incision, reshaping the shape and size of the breast. The areola is typically reduced in size in order to be proportionate to the new breast size, as well, and is repositioned to a higher position. When the procedure goes as planned and without complications, it is considered an outpatient surgery, meaning that the patient will be able to be discharged after a short period of post-op observation.

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Risks and Potential Complications

As with any surgery, a breast reduction is not completely free of risks. Patients may experience a reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection after surgery, and, in more severe cases, the inability to breastfeed in the future. Scarring as a result of this surgery can be extensive, though it typically fades over time. Smokers appear to experience slower healing and more extensive scarring than non-smokers, so be sure to take this into consideration when deciding whether the surgery is right for you. A qualified plastic surgeon will be able to discuss any risks and complications specific to your individual characteristics and medical history when you go for your first consultation.


Recovery After Surgery

Breast Reduction 101

Most patients are released from the medical center after an observation period so that they may recover in the comfort of their homes. An elastic bandage or surgical bra will be wrapped around the torso in order to promote healing. Most women who undergo a breast reduction and do not experience added complications can expect to ‘recover’ within a week to ten days following the procedure, meaning their mobility levels will return to level and bed rest is no longer necessary. The stitches and dressings are removed after a week or two, but the special surgical bra should still be worn for several weeks following the procedure for added support.


Pain is a subjective term and will be different for each woman. However, it is typically reported as being minimal and manageable with oral pain medication. Bruising, swelling, and itching should be expected for the first two weeks. Moisturizers can be applied to alleviate the itching, but take care to always avoid touching or interfering with the incision site. Strenuous physical activity such as heavy lifting should be avoided for several weeks, as it can lead to inflammation, eroding of the freshly healing scar, and infection- a doctor can make a more accurate assessment at the follow-up appointment. Women can typically return to work (of course, depending on their particular job and subsequent duties) within 10 days to two weeks after undergoing surgery.


Patients will typically start to see the full results after about six weeks, though scars may still be quite prominent. Scars may appear inflamed, lumpy, and/or red for several months before fading into thin white lines that are visually similar to stretch marks. However, the location of the incisions usually allows the scars to be easily concealed.


Most importantly, patient should follow all of the post-op instructions provided by their doctors if they want to see the quickest and most optimal results. Caring for the fresh incisions as they heal is crucial, as infections greatly influence the development of scarring and other complications. If symptoms of complications begin to present, a doctor should be consulted immediately.


Dr. Donald Roland is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast reduction, breast surgeries, body contouring and facial rejuvenation techniques as well as other surgical and non-surgical procedures in New York City. Dr. Roland is also is a published author, researcher, and professor at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.


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