In addition to dissatisfaction with body image, large, pendulous breasts may cause a woman to potentially experience various medical problems caused by the excessive weight of the breast tissue. Overly large breasts may develop at any time: at puberty, during teenage growth years, or after childbirth. Problems associated with large breasts include poor posture, back and neck pain and skin irritations. Bra straps often leave indentations in the shoulder area. Patients with very large breasts may have difficulty with physical activities such as engaging in sports or jogging and the ability to lead an active life can be impaired. Women may also have problems with clothing, particularly with today’s popular athletic wear. Many women, especially teenage girls, are very self-conscious if they have unusually large breasts. The condition of oversized breasts is called breast hypertrophy. Patients as young as fourteen and as old as seventy have had successful breast reduction surgeries. In younger patients, the surgery may be performed once breast size has been stable for at least one year.
If you have large breasts that limit your physical activity and cause pain and dissatisfaction with body image, breast reduction may be right for you. Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) removes fat, glandular tissue, and excessive skin, resulting in smaller, lighter and firmer breasts that are better-shaped in proportion to rest of the body. Breast reduction can be performed unilaterally (on one side) to correct asymmetry or bilaterally (on both sides). It is generally considered a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by your insurance plan when it is performed to relieve medical symptoms. Many insurance companies define breast reduction as medically necessary, however there is usually a criteria to be met and pre-certification is often required. In some cases, breast reduction is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore is not covered by insurance.
This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia on an out-patient basis, meaning you will be able to go home that same day. Once your procedure is complete, dressings/bandages will be applied to your incision sites and a surgical bra will assist with minimizing swelling and supporting the breasts as they heal. You will experience some initial post-operative soreness and discomfort at the incision sites, which can be controlled with medication. A return to light activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a couple days after surgery. Initial healing may take 5-10 days, at which time you may be able to return to work and normal, light activity. Full recovery to normal activity level typically takes 2-3 weeks, and a return to rigorous exercise about 4-8 weeks.
The final results of your breast reduction will appear over the next few months as breast shape, volume, and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent, but with proper scar therapy provided by your surgeon your scars should fade to very fine lines that will not be visible even under bras and bathing suits.
Over time, your breasts may continue to change due to gravity, aging, and weight fluctuations. Your new breast contour is best maintained by a healthy lifestyle, weight management, and proper support of your newly reduced breasts.
Learn more about Breast Reduction from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at www.plasticsurgery.org.
Please contact our cosmetic surgery practice to schedule an appointment for this procedure.