Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammoplasty, is designed for women with very large, pendulous breasts. Large breasts cause a multitude of problems. These include backache, shoulder pain, rashes in the breast creases and interference with sporting activities. Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement.
What does the surgery involve?
The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
Breast reduction surgery takes 3 to 4 hours and is done under general anaesthesia. It will involve a few days stay in hospital. Though the surgery will leave noticeable, permanent scars, active scar management post op will minimise scarring. Some patients may develop keloids which will require further treatment with steroid injections and gel sheets. The extent of the scars will depend on the technique used. The common technique involves inverted T-technique, peri-areolar technique and the short scar technique.
The first technique leaves scars around the areolae, down the bottom of the breasts and across the breast creases.
Peri-areolar technique results in scars around the areolae. The skin around the areolae remains pleated for a few months but eventually subside.
The short scar method leaves scars around the areola and down the bottom of the breasts which may remain creased for a few months.
The technique used depends on your breast size and shape and will be discussed with you in detail during your consultation.
How is the postop recovery?
After surgery, there will be an Opsite dressing which is waterproof that allows you to bathe. Drains are removed in a day or two. 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. You must continue wearing the surgical bra round the clock for several weeks, until the swelling and bruising subside. In most cases, stitches will be removed in 10 to 14 days. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks.
Most women can return to work (if it's not too strenuous) and social activities in about one week. You should avoid sex for a week or more, since sexual arousal can cause your incisions to swell, and avoid anything but gentle contact with your breasts for about six weeks.
What are the post op problems?
Besides the problems of scars, there may be altered nipple sensation which can be permanent. Breast feeding is limited. However, despite these problems, 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.