Breast Reduction Perth
What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery removes the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts. Also called reduction mammaplasty, it was first described in the 7th century and has since become one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures worldwide.
What breast reduction surgery is not
Breast reduction is often mistaken for other cosmetic breast procedures like breast augmentation surgery, mastopexy and mastectomy. Breast augmentation surgery is a surgical procedure to enlarge the female breast and usually requires saline or silicone implants. Women use mastopexy to lift sagging breasts, while mastectomy removes one or both breasts, usually to treat breast cancer.
Who can do breast reduction surgery?
Although reduction mammaplasty is most popular among women, some men may need it. The motivation behind breast reduction surgery among women is usually to address size problems.
As a woman, it may be necessary to reduce overly large breasts when:
- You experience persistent and burdensome neck, shoulder, chest or back pain.
- You find it difficult to breathe, exercise or perform regular daily activities.
- Your bra causes ridges on your skin or notching on your shoulder.
- You cannot find clothes that fit you correctly.
- The skin under your breast begins to peel or get irritated.
In men, breast reduction surgery may be a part of the treatment for gynecomastia if breast growth is excessive. Overweight or obese men who develop sagging breasts following weight loss can also undergo the procedure to remove lax skin.
Who cannot do breast reduction surgery?
Those who do not meet the criteria for elective surgical procedures cannot undergo breast reduction surgery. Here are some additional exclusion criteria:
- Smoking and alcohol intake: The constituents of cigarettes and tobacco delay wound healing and increase the risk of necrosis of breast flaps. Alcohol also delays wound healing and may aggravate post-operative pain.
- Chronic medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes mellitus and obesity may cause intra-operative complications and impair wound healing.
How to prepare for breast reduction surgery
Breast reduction is a major procedure for which you must be psychologically and financially ready. The pre-op consultation with your plastic surgeon may include the following:
- Medical history and examination: Your surgeon may need to know about medical conditions that may interfere with wound healing, common drugs and family history of breast cancer. Your breasts will also be examined for masses, drooping, and symmetry at our office in Perth.
- Baseline mammogram: You should do a mammogram before and after your reduction mammaplasty. A pre-op mammogram gives your surgical team a more precise evaluation of your breasts to determine the best approach to the procedure.
- Laboratory investigations like blood tests, electrocardiograms and organ function tests are equally important.
- Instructions include avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking and adjusting or stopping certain medications.
What happens during breast reduction surgery?
A typical breast reduction surgery involves the following steps:
- Anaesthesia: Anaesthetists use drugs to cause a temporary loss of sensation or awareness and help you feel less pain. Cosmetic surgery of this scale usually requires general anaesthesia to put you to sleep during the entire duration of the surgery.
- Incision: Your surgeon will examine your breasts closely and use a marker to outline incision patterns on your breasts. The choice of incision pattern depends on the size of the breasts, the position of your nipples and your surgeon’s judgement.
- Tissue removal: This is where the actual breast reduction occurs, and techniques used include:
- Liposuction involves suctioning fat from the breast. It is the least invasive method, causes minimal scarring and does not alter the breast shape or areola location.
- Vertical breast reduction: An incision is made at the areola and another from the lower end of the areola down to the underlying skinfold. Fat and glandular tissue is subsequently removed.
- Anchor breast reduction: Two incisions are made - one vertical and another underneath the breast crease to give the inverted-T shape. This method requires extensive removal of breast tissue and is best for significantly sagging breasts.
- Nipple repositioning: The nipple is shifted to a good position relative to the rest of the breast while still connected to its blood and nerve supply. Women with huge breasts may need an additional procedure called free nipple graft. The incision edges are apposed and sutured appropriately.
What to expect following surgery
You may be fit enough to go home just a few hours after surgery, but complete recovery may take two to six weeks. Drains may be placed at the discretion of your surgeon, and you may need to wear a non-wired sports bra to support your breasts. Your surgeon will give you self-care instructions and medications to prevent postoperative complications and facilitate wound healing. Get plenty of rest and avoid rigorous exercise and strenuous work.
What are the associated risks?
Breast reduction is generally with minimal associated risks. Possible risks associated with reduction mammaplasty include:
- Allergic reaction to anaesthetic agents.
- Infection of the incision site.
- Breast swelling from blood or fluid accumulation.
- Loss of sensation in the breasts.
- Scar formation after healing of incision sites.
Book an appointment with Dr Nathan Stewart
The most critical choice you can make for any cosmetic procedure is choosing the right plastic surgeon. Dr Nathan Stewart is a board-certified Consultant Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Perth. He is a rare blend of sound technical knowledge and empathetic listening to give you the best service. Dr Stewart currently consults in Perth and Bunbury. Book an appointment with Dr Stewart and his team today to begin planning your breast reduction.
Breast reduction FAQs
What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts to reduce the size and alter their shape whilst lifting the breast.
Who is a good candidate for breast reduction surgery?
Good candidates for breast reduction surgery are individuals who are in good overall health and suffer from physical or emotional discomfort due to large breasts.
How long does the recovery from breast reduction surgery take?
The recovery time for breast reduction surgery varies for each individual, but most patients can return to normal activities within 2-4 weeks. Exercise can usually be resumed from 6 weeks.
Will I have a scar after breast reduction surgery?
Yes, breast reduction surgery involves making incisions, so there will be a scar. The scar is typically located around the areola, in the crease below the breast, and vertically down the center of the breast.
Is breast reduction surgery painful?
Breast reduction surgery is typically performed with general anesthesia and patients may experience some discomfort and pain during the recovery period. Pain can be managed with prescribed medications.
How will breast reduction surgery affect my ability to breastfeed?
Breast reduction surgery can impact the ability to breastfeed, but the extent of the impact depends on the technique used and the amount of tissue removed. It’s important to discuss your plans for future breastfeeding with Dr Stewart before undergoing the procedure.
Will I lose sensation in my nipples after breast reduction surgery?
Nipple sensation may be temporarily lost after breast reduction surgery, but it typically returns within a few weeks to a few months. In some cases, nipple sensation may be permanently lost. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits with you before the procedure.
Will my insurance cover breast reduction surgery?
In some cases, insurance may cover breast reduction surgery if it is deemed medically necessary due to physical discomfort or health problems caused by large breasts. It’s important to check with your insurance provider for their specific coverage policies.
Taking care of yourself after surgery
After any kind of breast surgery, it is important you take as much time as you need to rest and recover. You will be provided with a number of information sheets and checklists to prepare you for your recovery, including any symptoms to watch out for and tips to keep you as healthy and comfortable as possible during this time.
Following the procedure, you will likely experience some moderate discomfort, as well as bruising or tenderness. Dr Stewart will discuss your pain medication needs with you and tailor a dosage and schedule to suit your individual circumstances. Most symptoms will settle within 4 – 6 weeks.
Should you have any questions at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Stewart or the team.