The Breast Reduction Surgery
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 Your Breast Reduction Surgery
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.
Getting Back to Normal
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.
Your New Look
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.