You can have breast reduction surgery at any age, but it’s generally advisable to wait until you’re at least age 20, by which time your breasts are likely to be fully developed. However, sometimes surgery is performed in teens who suffer significant emotional and psychological effects of having too-large breasts.
We would like to provide some basic information regarding breast reduction. However, the best way to get specific information is to have a personal consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. Please call (414) 963-0500 or (800) 769-0849 for a consultation in any of our three locations; Milwaukee, Brookfield and Franklin, Wisconsin.
Women with very large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight; from back and neck pain, skin irritation to skeletal deformities breathing problems and furrows in their shoulders from bra straps. Often times large breasts can make a woman or a teenage girl feel extremely self-conscious. Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is designed for such women. 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. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
Beast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by very large, pendulous breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort. In most cases, breast reduction isn’t performed until a woman’s breasts are fully developed; however it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results.
Some insurance companies will pay for breast reduction if it’s medically necessary, however, they may require that a certain amount of breast tissue is removed. Photographs will be taken which will be used for the pre-authorization process with your insurance company. Our office will contact your insurance company to obtain pre-authorization
Breast reduction is relatively straightforward. But as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection, or reaction to the anesthesia. Slow or poor wound healing along the suture line as well as fat necrosis is a possibility, especially in association with obesity, diabetes and smoking. We recommend that our patients stop smoking for at least 6 weeks before and after surgery. You can reduce your risks by closely following our medical team’s advice both before and after surgery.
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering breast reduction. During this meeting one of our board-certified plastic surgeons will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific goals for surgery. During the consultation the doctor will examine your breasts and describe the procedure in detail. Included in that discussion will be risks and limitations of the surgery. There are variables that may affect the procedure such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the elasticity of your skin.
Be sure to ask about limited incision breast surgery.
Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. Our office assists in making these arrangements. When the date for your procedures has been set, we will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after surgery. A number of points may be covered, including:
Breast reduction is generally done in a hospital with general anesthesia, as an outpatient procedure. The surgery itself usually takes two – three hours. You can expect to go home several hours after surgery.
Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. The surgeon removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and moves the nipple and areola into their new position. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast. Most often these stitches are dissolvable and under the skin. Oftentimes, a drain is placed in each breast. You will be given instructions on how to care for your drains and record the ouput. The drains will be removed by our staff in our office during a post-operative visit.
After surgery, you will spend approximately one hour in the recovery area, and then return to the outpatient care unit until you are ready to go home. There will be gauze sponges covering the breasts as well as a surgical bra. Patients wear the bra night and day for the first week, and then for several weeks afterwards. You may feel some discomfort for the first couple of days; we will prescribe medication to lessen the discomfort.
You may experience random, shooting pains for a few months. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin caused by swelling after surgery. This usually diminishes over the next six months or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more.
Although you may be up and about, your breasts may ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks. We will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. Most women can return to work (if it’s not too strenuous) and social activities in about two weeks. But you’ll have much less stamina for several weeks, and should limit your exercises to stretching, bending, and swimming until your energy level returns.
Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts, weight changes, and pregnancy. Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that breast reduction scars are permanent. They often remain red for months, then gradually becoming less obvious, massaging vitamin E into the healed incision lines help scars flatten and fade. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops. Of all plastic surgery procedures, 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.