Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by very large, ptotic (or sagging) breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort.
Best Candidates for Breast Reduction Surgery
In most cases, breast reduction isn’t performed until a woman’s breasts are fully developed; however, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Breast reduction is not recommended for women who intend to breast-feed. Future breast-feeding may not be possible, since the surgery removes many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples.
Will Insurance Cover Breast Reduction Surgery?
Some insurance companies will pay for breast reduction if it’s medically necessary; however, they may require that a certain amount of breast tissue be removed. Check your policy, and have your surgeon write a predetermination letter if required.
Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. The surgery itself usually takes two to four hours, but may take longer in some cases. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Breast reduction is nearly always performed under general anesthesia. You’ll be asleep throughout the entire operation.
Techniques for Breast Reduction Surgery
Techniques for breast reduction vary. My preferred technique is called the Vertical breast reduction using a superomedial pedicle. In this procedure, the lower, sagging part of the breast is removed leaving the upper, more important tissue, which, is shaped into a perky, uplifted breast mound. The nipple and areola are moved into their new position higher on the new breast mound based on a blood supply that comes from the upper part of the breast called a “superomedial pedicle”. It is possible to limit the scar in the inframammary fold (or crease) of the breast depending on the amount of breast tissue and skin that needs to be removed. I perform all of my breast reductions with this technique as I feel it results in the best shape, projection and lift.
Very rarely, when only fat needs to be removed, liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size, leaving minimal scars. However, there is also no reshaping or lifting of the breasts.
Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery
You may feel some pain for the first couple of days (especially when you move around or cough) and some discomfort for a week or more. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to lessen the pain.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. You’ll be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, your body will look better proportioned, and clothes will fit you better.
However, as much as you may have desired these changes, you’ll need time to adjust to your new image, as will your family and friends. Be patient with yourself, and with them. Keep in mind why you had this surgery, and chances are that, like most women, you’ll be pleased with the results.
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Please note that the information provided in this discussion is an expression of Dr. Maier’s philosophy and practice.