Breast reduction surgery is a surgical procedure to raise, reshape and reduce large breasts. This operation is also one that is usually considered a reconstructive procedure and is often covered by insurance plans. The procedure removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.
Breast Reduction Technique
Breast reduction surgery is performed in order to relieve:
- Pain related to the weight and ongoing traction effects of the large breasts which can manifest in the neck, back or shoulders
- Difficulty wearing clothes that fit or finding clothes that suit your figure
- Sagging after breast feeding
- Ongoing irritation, rashes or infection under the breast in the breast crease
- Inability or difficulty exercising due to the weight of the breasts.
Specific patient requirements for those undergoing a breast reduction:
- No smoking or nicotine intake for at least 6 weeks pre- and 4 weeks post- surgery.
- No anti-inflammatory tablets e.g. aspirin and ibuprofen (Nurofen) for at least 10 days prior to surgery.
Breast reduction procedures commonly use one of two designs:
Vertical incision (short scar or lollipop scar)
The incision is made around the nipple-areola complex and vertically down to the inframammary fold
A very natural-looking, attractive breast is created with a smaller than usual scar
Frequently there is a short T extension following the breast crease.
It can be performed in women of any age, once breast maturity has been reached, and is associated with a relatively quick recovery period.
Inverted T shape (anchor) incision
The incision is made around the nipple-areola complex and vertically down to the inframammary fold and then horizontally across this fold
The scars involved are significantly longer than the ‘vertical’ technique
This operation is reserved for someone who is unsuitable for the ‘vertical’ operation, such as a patient with very large breasts with significant skin surplus.
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The procedure requires a general anaesthetic and a minimum overnight stay in hospital.
Patients report minor post-operative pain, which can be treated with oral medication. You will be given prescriptions to relieve pain and prophylactic antibiotics are prescribed.
During your surgery, special dressings aid healing and minimise breast movement. This dressing remains on for the first 4 weeks after surgery and you may be able to shower over them the next day. A surgical garment will be applied in the recovery room. It is important that you wear the garment for 6 weeks in total. A drain is usually placed in each breast to drain off excess blood and fluids for the first day or two. All sutures are self-dissolving.
You may be back to work as soon as five to seven days after breast reduction surgery and may begin light exercise at two weeks. Most activities can be resumed between 4 to 6 weeks post surgery.
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Meet the Experts
Dr Rohit Kumar is an Australian trained and fully certified cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
Dr Kumar completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree in 1995 at the University of Queensland. He subsequently went on to successfully complete a Masters Degree in the field of Burns Surgery in 2004 – MMedSci (Burns)
His advanced surgical training commenced in the specialty of General Surgery in which he trained for four years. This gave him a solid foundation of technical knowledge and surgical perspective upon which he then built his considerable skills, once he commenced his advanced training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The Australasian training scheme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is one of the most thorough and rigorous in the world and upon successful completion of this training, over a period of ten years, Dr Kumar was awarded his Fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – FRACS (Plas).
He thus brings over 15 years of surgical experience to his practice having been involved in over ten thousand procedures in that time.
If you are considering a breast reduction surgery, then it is important that you are informed of the potential risks, complications and side effects of this surgery.
While all care is taken to minimise or totally avoid these complications and side effects, complications may and do occur despite the best medical care. It is important that you carefully read and understand the risk factors and they will be discussed in more detail when you have your consultation with your surgeon.
The Risks include…
- Partial or total loss of the nipple and/or areola
- Bleeding or haematoma ( blood clot)
- Infection around the incision sites
- Loss of sensation in the nipple
- Wound breakdown
- Abnormal scarring
- Lumpiness or fat necrosis
- Breast asymmetry
- Temporary or permanent areas of numbness around the scar
- Inability to breast feed
- Revisional surgery to correct complications or any unevenness between the two sides