Frequently Asked Questions - Breast Reduction

» What is the right age for breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped, usually by 18 years. Childbirth and breast-feeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Nevertheless, many women have breast reduction done even in their teens if the symptoms are severe and causing health, social and psychological problems.

» How is breast reduction performed? Where are the scars?
Individual factors and surgeon's preferences will determine the specific technique selected to reduce the size of your breasts. Dr. Priti uses short vertical scar technique which results in a scar around nipple and going vertically down from it till the breast crease. Rarely the scar may be inverted T shaped if the breasts are too large.

One incision is made around the areola. Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. After the excess breast tissue, fat and skin are removed, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which in large breasts usually has been stretched, also is reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Liposuction may be used to improve the contour under the arm.

Usually, the nipples and areolas remain attached to remaining breast tissue, and this allows for the preservation of sensation. The ability to breast-feed may also be preserved by this method, although this cannot be guaranteed.

Rarely, if your breasts are extremely large, the nipples and areolas may need to be completely detached before they are shifted to a higher level. In such a case, you will need to make the decision to sacrifice sensation and the possibility of breast-feeding in order to achieve your desired breast size.

» What are the risks involved with breast reduction surgery?
Fortunately, significant complications from breast reduction are infrequent. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and the risks.

Some of the potential complications include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Rarely, a patient may require a blood transfusion during the operation. This usually can be anticipated in advance, and blood of a known donor can be reserved for possible transfusion.

Following reduction, sometimes the breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical or the nipple height may vary slightly. If desired, minor adjustments can be made at a later time. Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts may occur rarely. Reversionary surgery is sometimes helpful in certain instances where incisions may have healed poorly. In the unlikely event of injury to or loss of the nipple and areola, they usually can be satisfactorily reconstructed using skin grafts.

» How will I look and feel after surgery?
The day after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. After several days, you will be able to move about more comfortably. Straining, bending and lifting must be avoided, however, since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. You may be instructed to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts.

Any surgical drains will be removed a day or two after surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. You will be instructed to wear a support bra for a few weeks, until the swelling and discoloration of your breasts diminishes. Generally, stitches are self absorbable.

You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas. This usually is temporary. It may, however, take weeks, months or even more than a year before sensation returns to normal. Your breasts may also require some time to assume a more natural shape. Incisions will initially be red or pink in color. They will remain this way for many months following surgery.

After breast reduction surgery, it is often possible to return to light work after a week or two, depending on your job. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after several weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to your doctor.

Any sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of one week, and your plastic surgeon may advise you to wait longer. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next six weeks.

» What results can I expect after breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery will make your breasts smaller and firmer and lighter. If you have suffered from back ache due to heavy breasts it will be relieved. Your posture will improve. The incisions from your breast reduction surgery will heal and fade over time. It is important to realize, however, that the incision lines will be permanently visible, more so in some individuals than others. Fortunately, the incisions for breast reduction are in locations easily concealed by clothing, even low-cut necklines.

» How long will the results last?
Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your breast size should remain fairly constant. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman's breasts. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast "lifting" procedure to restore their more youthful contour.

» How long do I need to see the doctor after surgery?
You will return to the clinic for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, usually 2 days, 2 weeks one month and 3 months later. At these visits your progress will be evaluated and minor problems are taken care of. Once the immediate postoperative follow-up is complete you come back for periodic checkups to observe and discuss the long-term results of surgery. You are not charged for follow-up visits after surgery till one year. Please remember that the relationship with your plastic surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact Dr. Priti.

» Will I be able to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?
The chances of breast feeding go down after breast reduction surgery because of removal of gland and ducts. Remaining gland can still produce milk and you can safely breastfeed if you are producing milk. A lot of women have breastfed after this surgery but there is no guarantee that you will be able to do so.

» Do I need to inform my future husband about breast reduction surgery?
That is entirely up to you. Scars of the surgery tend to fade out but usually are visible on close examination permanently.

» Is the breast gland that is removed sent for biopsy routinely?
It is recommended to have the tissue examined by pathologist to detect any coincidental tumor that is too small to be detected otherwise. If you are younger than 25 and have no history breast lump or family history of breast cancer, the biopsy is optional.

» When can I buy new size bra and clothes after surgery?
As the swelling goes down the continues to decrease after surgery till next 3 months. Majority of swelling is gone by one month so you should wait for at least one month before buying new clothes.

» Does the breast enlarge once again after surgery?
Breasts do not enlarge again usually. They may enlarge to some extent if you gain weight, become pregnant or if you have got the surgery done while your breasts were still growing. If necessary the same procedure can be repeated.

» Are there methods available to reduce the scarring?
Scars can be improved by creams, gels and taping for 3-6 months. Excessively prominent scars can be revised surgically after 6 months.

to view article on how to minimize scars after surgery

» Is there a way to do breast reduction surgery without scars?
Liposuction surgery can remove fat but not the gland part so breasts can be reduced to some extent by liposuction through small holes but big reduction is not possible by this method. Breasts also will sag after liposuction.

» I am 30 Kgs overweight and not able to exercise because of large breasts. If I have breast reduction done now and lose the weight later what will happen to my breast size?
Breast reduction surgery will help you to be active. Size will further reduce with weight loss. You may opt for a medium reduction. Also you may need breast lift to reduce the sagging after you have lost lots of weight.

» I have had bariatric surgery done for morbid obesity and have lost 50 kgs . My breasts are sagging. Can I have breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction or lift is commonly required after. In your case the skin folds going to sides and arm folds also can be addressed.

» One of my breast is larger than the other one. Do I need breast reduction of bigger one or enlargement of the smaller one?
That depends on your desires and surgeon’s assessment. Any of the above options may be chosen. At times surgery on both breasts may be required to reach the desired size and symmetry.

» Is there a risk of breast cancer in future after breast reduction?
No, breast reduction surgery will not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Depending on your age, or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your plastic surgeon may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery and another mammographic examination some months after surgery. This will help to detect any future changes in your breast tissue. Following breast reduction, you will still be able to perform breast self-examination.

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