Large breasts can cause pain in the breasts, back, neck, and shoulders, as well as rashes beneath the breasts, indentations in the shoulders from bra straps, and low self-esteem. Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is usually done to provide relief from these symptoms. Performed under general anesthesia, this procedure removes fat and glandular tissue and tightens the breast skin to produce smaller, lighter breasts that are more in proportion to the rest of the body.
It is important to consider each aspect of the breast reduction procedure and your life after surgery before deciding upon the procedure. Prior to the procedure, Dr. Kunkel will meet with you to discuss your expectations for breast reduction surgery. He can then evaluate which goals are within reach and propose a plan for the breast reduction operation. At that time, Dr. Kunkel will inform you about the risks and possible complications of breast reduction surgery and the long-term effects of undergoing a breast reduction.
Benefits of Breast Reduction
Women with large, heavy breasts may suffer physical pain from the weight of their breasts and may experience social discomfort due to unwanted attention to their breast size. Because of this, many women turn to breast reduction as a remedy.
Large, heavy breasts can also cause strain on a woman's body. The extra weight of heavy breasts can be harmful to posture and may lead to spinal problems. In addition to causing back, neck, and shoulder pain, excessively heavy breasts may also lead to breathing problems and other serious health issues. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman correct her posture and remove strain on the back, neck, and shoulders, reducing overall pain.
In addition to seeking relief from the pain caused by heavy breasts, many women seek breast reduction surgery because they are uncomfortable with the unwanted attention that their breast size draws. This unwanted attention may cause a woman to become uncomfortable with her appearance. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman regain her self-confidence and positive self-image, as well as provide the motivation to participate in a wide range of physical and social activities.
Breast reduction surgery generally takes three to four hours and is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital. The size and shape of the breasts, as well as the desired amount of reduction, helps determine which type of incision is best for each woman. The different types of incisions for a breast reduction include:
- Traditional Breast Reduction Surgery - The “traditional” approach to breast reduction surgery is a very effective method for alleviating discomfort caused by large, heavy breasts. The traditional method, also called an inverted-T pattern, anchor pattern, or Wise pattern reduction, is often the best choice for women requiring a large amount of tissue removal.
In the traditional breast reduction surgery technique, incisions are made horizontally under the breast in the crease and extend vertically up to and around the nipple. Because traditional breast reduction surgery allows for excess skin removal both vertically and horizontally, it is typically the best method for women with extremely large breasts. This type of reduction may allow Dr. Kunkel to remove more tissue than other methods, maximizing breast reduction results.
Although the inverted-T pattern method can be useful in reducing excessively large breasts, it leads to more scarring than other breast reduction surgery techniques. These scars can almost always be hidden by bathing suits and even low cut tops.
- Vertical Incision Breast Reduction Surgery - The vertical incision technique, also known as the short scar breast reduction, may result in less scarring than traditional breast reduction surgery. Vertical incision breast reductions are a popular alternative to the traditional method, especially for women who do not require extensive tissue removal.
Incisions in this technique extend around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease, making a “lollipop” pattern. Vertical incision breast reductions eliminate the need for the horizontal incision along the breast crease that is used in traditional breast reduction surgery, resulting in no scarring in the crease beneath the breast.
Women with moderately large breasts are the best candidates for vertical incision breast reductions. Vertical incision breast reduction surgery may not be a good choice for women requiring the removal of significant amounts of fat and breast tissue.
- Liposuction Breast Reduction Surgery - This type of breast reduction employs liposuction techniques to reduce the size of the breasts with minimal visible scarring. Because liposuction can only reduce the amount of fatty tissue in the breast, ideal candidates for liposuction breast reduction are women whose breasts have more fatty tissue than glandular tissue. Breast reduction using only liposuction is often not the best option for more slender women with large breasts, women with extensive sagging, or women with excessively large breasts. This technique removes much of the weight of the breast but typically does not result in a lifted or tightened appearance.
Initially after breast reduction surgery the breasts will be sore, swollen, and bruised. Bandages are worn for two or three days after surgery. Women should avoid heavy lifting and refrain from exercise and other strenuous activities for at least four weeks following the procedure. For extra support, a special soft surgical bra or athletic bra may be recommended.
Most women will be able to return to work and other less physically demanding activities about two weeks after undergoing a breast reduction. To ensure that the breasts are healing properly, breast reduction patients should attend follow-up appointments for two or three months after surgery.
Risk and Complications
Dr. Kunkel performs breast reduction surgery with great care, attempting to provide safe results that meet or even exceed the expectations of his patients. As with all surgeries, however, complications can occur. Potential risks that are specific to breast reduction surgery include asymmetry of the breasts, numbness, widening of the scars, and breasts that are larger or smaller than a woman may have desired. Other less common risks include infection, bleeding, and loss of a nipple. Dr. Kunkel discusses these issues with all breast reduction patients to help them decide if breast reduction is right for them.
If you would like more information about Breast Reduction or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at (817) 335-5200.