Oversized breasts can cause a host of problems, including neck, back and shoulder pain, skin irritation, and emotional distress. These are problems that not only affect how you look but also how you live your day-to-day life. If you have macromastia (oversized breasts), you can be limited in not only your choice of clothing but also the activities in which you can participate. Some patients can also develop yeast infections and other skin irritation problems underneath the breast (within the skin fold) that may require continuing medical treatment. Breast reduction surgery from Dr. Waterson in Salt Lake City can help relieve the pain and discomfort that often accompanies oversized breasts
Breast reduction (or “reduction mammoplasty”) involves the removal of excess breast tissue and breast fat to reshape, resize, and lift the breasts. This procedure helps the patient to achieve a breast size that is more balanced and proportional to the rest of her body. It also relieves the mental distress, physical restrictions, and painful strain on other parts of the body caused by excessively heavy breasts.
Some common issues breast reduction patients face are:
- Back, neck and shoulder pain that persists even after medical treatments such as medications, massage, and chiropractic care
- Indentations or deep grooves in the shoulders from bra straps
- Restricted physical activity, inability to run, or general discomfort being active
- Skin irritation including but not limited to yeast or fungal infections in the breast crease that may require topical creams or ointments
- Sagging, stretched breast skin
- A low breast profile where the nipple-areolar complex rests below the breast crease
- Enlarged areola caused by stretched skin
Although breast reduction surgery is frequently performed to address medical issues, it may also be done electively for patients who are simply unhappy with the size of their breasts and desire to have smaller breasts.
Our experienced and renowned plastic surgeons are available to discuss the procedure, surgical techniques and the results you can expect in more detail through a free plastic surgery consultation. Your consultation may be covered under your insurance plan – let us know if you are interested in seeking insurance coverage and we may be able to bill your insurance company accordingly. Pre-certification is often required for reimbursement or coverage, along with detailed documentation by a physician for a period of time determined by your insurance policy.
How is a breast reduction performed?The incisions used by Dr. Watterson will depend on your unique condition. Usually one of two incision methods is used, dictated by the amount of sagging you’re experiencing. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Here are the two incision options:
- Traditional incision method — If you have extremely large breasts, we will likely use the traditional incision method. This allows the most access to remove sagging skin and tissue. The incision, also called the “anchor incision,” circles the areola, runs down to the breast crease, and then follows the breast crease a few inches in each direction. This is the most common procedure.
- Vertical incision method — This incision follows the same path as the anchor incision, without extending along the breast crease. The shape of this incision is more like a lollipop. It can work for women with moderately large breasts. This technique is used more in lifts with implants.
What if my breasts are reduced too much?
If you have had overly large natural breasts your entire life, however, you do need to be prepared to have dramatically smaller breasts after this procedure. There is no way around the removal of excess, sagging skin and tissue. While most patients are thrilled to be rid of the burden of their large breasts, others wonder if their breasts are now too small. Of course, this could be rectified with the insertion of small breast implants. But we feel that it is better for the patient to be fully clear on the changes that will happen with her breasts. This will be discussed in detail during your consultation.
What is recovery like after breast reduction surgery?This procedure involves significant tissue reduction and repositioning. This creates tissue trauma, which results in swelling, bruising, and soreness. After your surgery your breasts will be fully bandaged and you’ll be wearing a surgical bra. You’ll have to take it easy for the first one to two weeks, and avoid strenuous activity for probably six weeks. Depending on your type of work, you can resume work after a few days or a long weekend. Wearing your surgical bra, and then transitioning to a strong underwire bra is a really important part of your recovery. These bras must be worn 24 hours a day for at least six weeks. This can seem like a real burden, but it’s worth it. These bras keep any stress from being placed upon your incisions. By being diligent with this your scars will stay as thin as is possible and will heal better. We usually need to move the nipples with this procedure, but we make every effort to maintain nipple sensation and breastfeeding function after breast reduction, but this is not always possible.
Can breast reduction be combined with other breast procedures?Breast reduction surgery is basically a more dramatic, extensive breast lift. The goals are the same — to remove sagging skin and to return the breasts to a higher location on the chest. Otherwise, this is a stand-alone breast procedure.
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LENGTH: 2-4 hours.
ANESTHESIA: General (asleep).
SIDE EFFECTS: Swelling, edema, altered nipple sensation, bruising.
RISKS: With any surgery, risks such as infection and blood clot exist. Our surgeons will always talk with you about potential risks specific to your procedures in your consultation. Other risks may include scarring and delayed healing.
RECOVERY: Back to non-strenuous work activity within a week; active exercise usually after two weeks.
DURATION OF RESULTS: Permanent.
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