Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)
Women with large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by heavy breasts. Symptoms such as back and neck pain, skin irritation, skeletal deformities and breathing problems may be improved by Breast Reduction. Grooving caused by bra straps leaving indentations in shoulders should improve following surgery. Breast Reduction, technically known as Reduction Mammaplasty, is designed to reduce volume, improve contour, lift the breast and remedy the symptoms discussed above by making the breasts smaller, lighter and firmer as well as reducing the size of the enlarged areola.
Breast Reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than purely cosmetic improvement and, as such, frequently reimbursed by health insurance. Check your insurance policy first. You can also request a predetermination letter from Dr. Duboys if your insurance company requires one.
Most women having surgery are troubled by very large, sagging breasts that restrict their activities and cause physical discomfort. 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. Future breast-feeding may not be possible, since the surgery may disrupt the milk ducts leading to the nipples and consideration as to whether or not one wants to nurse should be made prior to your surgical procedure.
Breast Reduction is not a simple operation, but normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon on a healthy individual.
The procedure leaves scars that may be concealed by your bra or bathing suit. In your initial consultation, it's important to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Duboys.
Dr. Duboys will carefully examine and measure your breasts. He will also take photographs for reference during surgery and afterwards. (The photographs may also be used in the processing of insurance coverage.) Dr. Duboys will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure such as age, size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin. You should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; as they will be moved to a more natural position.
Dr. Duboys will describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks and limitations while making sure you understand the scarring that will result. Surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia.
Dr. Duboys requires that you have a mammogram (breast x-ray) within 6 months of your surgery. You will also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where will your surgery be performed?
The surgery is generally done in a hospital, frequently on an ambulatory basis. The surgery itself usually takes two to four hours, but may take longer in some cases. In all but the most unusual case, you may expect to be discharged the same day.
Types of Anesthesia
Surgery is nearly always performed under general anesthesia. You will be asleep through the entire operation.
After your surgery
After surgery, you'll be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings.
You may experience some discomfort for the first couple of days, especially when you move or cough that might persist for about a week and will be alleviated by prescribed medications.
Bandages will be removed several days after surgery, though you'll continue wearing the surgical bra for several weeks. Usually all sutures will dissolve and need not be removed.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry.
Getting back to normal
Although you will be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks. Dr. Duboys will give you detailed instructions for resuming exercise and other normal activities. Most women can return to work (if not too strenuous) and social activities within two weeks. A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. If you have any unusual symptoms, such as bleeding or severe pain, do not hesitate to call Dr. Duboys.
Your new look
Most of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, however, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to hormonal shifts, weight changes, and pregnancy. Dr. Duboys will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that Breast Reduction scars are permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, and then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops. Of all plastic surgical 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 better. Keep in mind why you had this surgery, and chances are that, like most women, you'll be pleased with the results.
Elliot B. Duboys, M.D.