What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery or reduction mammoplasty is a surgical process where excess of fatty tissue along with skin is removed from the breasts. Women with large breasts may opt for reduction mammoplasty to ease discomfort associated with the breast size or for cosmetic purposes in reducing the breast size proportionate to the body size. Breast reduction surgery ensures that functional sensitivity and the lactational capacity of the breast is maintained. The main indications for breast reduction surgery include physical, cosmetic and psychological aspects.
Reasons for Reduction Mammoplasty
Before considering breast reduction surgery, the patient should discuss probable the risk factors, complications and possiblef outcome of the reduction mammoplasty with the consulting plastic surgeon.
This surgery is mainly indicated for patients with:
- breast with stretched overlying skin,
- low hanging of the breast,
- persistent pain in the neck, back and shoulder region,
- frequently occurring rashes or skin irritation just under the breast,
- deep skin marking in the shoulder because of increased pressure on the shoulder region caused by the bra strap,
- posturing becomes poor with increased stooping,
- restriction of daily activities,
- difficulty in fitting in dresses and bra,
- depression, and/or
- deterioration of self image.
Breast reduction surgery can be done at any age, even on teens. However, it is prudent for the surgeon to wait till the breast is fully developed and advise teens on being patient. Since pregnancy can affect the outcome of breast reduction surgery, patients need to be made aware that the results may be lost to some degree with pregnancy.
At first the consulting plastic surgeon evaluates the medical, surgical and drug history of the patient and then discusses the expectation of the patient following surgery regarding the size and appearance of the breast, examines the breast, takes photographs and discusses the cost of surgery and follow-up care. Before surgery certain routine blood tests and a mammography has to be performed.
The patient is asked to stop smoking before and immediately after surgery as cigarette smoking interferes with the healing process. Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal preparations are to be avoided before surgery as they may increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure and thereafter.
Breast reduction surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. The exact technique of breast reduction surgery may vary. The point of entry into the breast is through an incision around the areola in most cases. Extra breast tissue, fat and skin are removed through the incision.
Usually the nipple and areola are not separated the breast tissue during the procedure. However, in women with large droopy breasts the nipple and areola may be removed and attached at a higher position on the breast after reducing the breast size.
After surgery the breasts are covered with bandages and drains are placed. Breast reduction surgery may lead to bleeding, infection, scarring, loss of sensation at nipple and areola region or asymmetrical breast size.