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What Is a Breast Reduction?

Posted in Breast Procedures

A breast reduction is one of the most frequently performed procedures in plastic surgery.  Women who seek consultation for a breast reduction commonly have discomfort in their breasts, neck, shoulders, and upper back.  Many women also have difficulty fitting into a proper-sized bra, and indentations from the bra straps may be present.  There are also many other reasons why a woman would choose to have breast reduction surgery.  A breast reduction can dramatically improve the symptoms and quality of life of these women.  Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, removes excess breast tissue to achieve a breast size in proportion to your individual body frame, while relieving the symptoms of discomfort associated with large breasts.

Breast reduction surgery typically lasts on average 3-4 hours and is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.  There are several techniques that can be used to complete the surgery.  The inferior pedicle technique with Wise pattern skin excision is the most common method used in the United States.  The particular technique used depends on your particular breast measurements, the amount and quality of your breast tissue and skin, as well as surgeon preference.

Immediately prior to breast reduction surgery, your breasts will need to be marked in order to determine the new position of the nipple-areolar complex.  The pedicle, which is the breast tissue that remains behind and provides blood flow to the nipple-areolar complex, is drawn out.  Additionally, the areas of breast tissue to be removed will also be marked. Once you are asleep, the skin overlying the pedicle will be removed.  Incisions will then be made to isolate the pedicle from the rest of the breast tissue.  Dissection will then proceed, removing as much breast tissue as necessary in order to reduce the size of your breasts while still maintaining a proportionate size and shape relative to your individual body frame.  The remaining breast tissue will then be rearranged and the skin will be closed.  Many women ask if the breasts will be lifted as part of the procedure.  The breasts are indeed lifted during breast reduction surgery, resulting in perkier breasts.

Most women notice an immediate improvement in their symptoms after breast reduction surgery.  Some pain can be expected afterwards but this usually subsides within a few days.  The bandages are removed two days after surgery.  In some cases, a small drainage tube may be placed during the surgery, and this is usually removed at the same time as the bandages.  It is ok to shower after the bandages are removed.  A support bra can help to minimize the swelling and support the breasts as they heal.  It is reasonable to expect to be out of work for 2 weeks, and in most cases there is no limitation on activity by 6 weeks after your procedure.  The end result are breasts that should help to relieve you from the discomfort and physical limitations prior to the surgery.  Your new proportionate breasts can help to enhance your image and boost your self-confidence!

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