Many women with very large breast will at some point in their life think about getting breast reduction surgery. Especially as women age, extremely large breasts can become quite a nuisance—they tend to sag, can limit mobility in everyday tasks such as reaching for a glass of water, and cause back problems due to their massive weight. That is why breast reduction surgery, also called mammoplasty, is one of the common plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States. More than 100,000 women get a breast reduction every year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The Benefits of Getting a Breast Reduction
The goal of breast reduction surgery is to resize and reshape overly large breasts so that they no longer cause problems for the patient, and many will find the new size and shape much more aesthetically pleasing. A breast reduction will also help deal with unsymmetrical breasts and make both of them roughly the same size. A breast lift may be performed in tandem with the breast reduction to get the full benefit, especially if the breasts are really saggy. The plastic surgeon will use a variety of techniques to shape the breasts and modify potential problems such as loose skin by increasing the firmness. The doctor may also have to perform nipple surgery to resize the areola.
How the Breast Reduction Procedure is Performed
Breast reduction surgery will focus on three main factors: Removal of excess skin, removal of excess fat, and repositioning of the nipple. It will most likely be performed under general anesthesia, meaning you will be out cold during the entire procedure.
Much like with a breast lift, the doctor will begin the breast reduction by drawing several lines on the breasts on where to make the incisions. He will make them when you are in a sitting up position, as these marks will guide him while you are laying down, in the position where the surgery will actually be performed in. The drawings, again much like in a breast lift, will resemble an anchor shape. The incisions will run along the sides of the breast, right where the breast fold meets the chest, then run over the top of the breast and around the areola in roughly an “anchor” shape. These incisions will create skin flaps that will be surgically opened up. Once opened up, the doctor will use a variety of techniques to remove excess fat and skin to resize and reshape the breasts. He will also reposition the areola, moving up the breast and in some cases making it smaller, if that is what the patient desires. After that doctor has removed enough breast tissue, he will place the areola in its new position, and suture the breasts back together. The nipple will remain connected to its original blood and nerve supply, so there is a very low risk of losing sensation in the nipples.
The end results of a successful breast reduction are smaller, perkier, more evenly shaped breasts.
It is also important to note that in some rare cases, for women who have breasts that are not extremely large and have not sagged a great deal or experienced other problems such as enlarged areola, the breast reduction may be performed with just liposuction alone. Most women need the breasts cosmetically reshaped, however, in rare cases liposuction alone may suffice. Discuss this option with your doctor.
Breast Reduction Recovery
A breast reduction is a fairly major surgery, so there will be a bit of pain and a recovery period. There will be lots of swelling and bruising, and a mild amount of pain, however, this can be controlled through medication your doctor will give you. Patients will be advised to take at least a week off of work, maybe more in some cases, depending on the job. You not be allowed to exercise for at least two weeks, and even after two weeks, only very mild exercise will be permitted. Your doctor will have you wear a special surgical type of a bra that will be very soft and provide support for your healing breasts. The stitches will be removed after two to three weeks. After the first two month, bruising and swelling will be significantly reduced and may have completely vanished. However, to get to the point where the breasts are not at all tender or sore anymore, and you are able to squeeze them just as hard as you did before the surgery can take up to six to eight months.
Breast Reduction Risks
As with any plastic surgery procedure, there are a number of risks associated with a breast reduction. All surgeries run the minor risk of infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia, as well post-op pain in the operated area. Aside from these general risks, the main risks and complication associated with a breast reduction are loss of sensation in the nipple area, permanent scarring, and breast asymmetry. Choosing a highly qualified plastic surgeon who is experienced at performing breast reductions will greatly reduce this risk. You will often find doctors who have significantly lower breast reduction prices than other doctors, however, do not let breast reduction cost be your only determining factor. Finding a quality doctor is always priority number one.
Breast Reduction Cost
Breast reduction cost is roughly $8,200 on average. This is a rough estimate for the final cost including surgeon’s fee, hospital fee, anesthesia, medications, post surgery garments, etc. However, it is important understand that breast reduction prices can vary a lot from patient to patient and doctor to doctor. There are so many factors will determine the cost, such as how difficult the procedure will be on your particular breasts with regards to how saggy they are, if nipple surgery is also needed, if a breast lift is also needed, how much fat needs to be removed, the shape of the breasts, etc. It will also depend on the doctor—how experienced and prestigious he is, as well as the location of his office (place such as Beverly Hills, CA will charge more than small cities).
Choosing the Right Doctor for Your Breast Reduction Surgery
The number one priority when getting any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure done in finding a quality doctor, not simply looking around for cheap plastic surgery. You want a doctor who has performed many breast reductions and is very experienced at it. Some plastic surgeons may focus on other procedures, such as rhinoplasty, and may not be as proficient at breast reductions. Research, research, and research your doctor some more. Here are things you will want to ask your doctor when preparing for breast reduction surgery:
Am I a good candidate for a breast reduction?
Are the results I want realistic?
Will I need a full breast reduction surgery or will just liposuction suffice?
What percentage of your patients have had complications from the surgery?
How many times have your performed a breast reduction in the last six months?
Can I see before and after photos of your patients?
Have you ever had a malpractice suit filed against you?
What is the policy on revision surgery? If there is something that I specifically wanted done but you failed to perform, or you make a cosmetic error, will you incur some of the cost for a revision surgery?