Breast reduction is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the breasts making them smaller, better shaped and more uplifted.
What is a breast reduction?
The procedure can relieve physical symptoms such as breast discomfort, neck ache, backache, shoulder pain, skin irritations under the breast fold, painful pressure from bra straps and difficulties and discomfort during exercise.
What happens during breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction is performed under a general anaesthetic. It can take between one-and-a-half to three hours.
There are several different surgical procedures for breast reduction. Excess skin and fat is removed. Your breasts are reshaped and the nipples are repositioned. All procedures result in a scar around the areola (dark area around the nipple) and each method results in additional scarring. Your surgeon will discuss each procedure with you and together you will decide which is best in your particular case. Breast reduction can also be used to correct asymmetry (imbalance) of your breasts.
Going home after breast reduction surgery
Patients are usually required to stay in hospital one to two nights. You will have dressings on your breasts and there may be drains (plastic tubes). The drains are usually removed before you leave hospital.
You will be given post-operative pain killers and instructions regarding your dressings and any stitches you may have.
Most patients are mobile from day one and return to normal activities within six weeks. However everyone heals differently. Be sure and discuss your return to work with your surgeon.
The results of breast reduction improve gradually over time. Your breasts should become softer and more natural as the healing continues.
This chart is a guide to stages of recovery only. Everyone heals differently so your results may vary.
4 – 6 Weeks
You may have some discomfort for a week. Mild painkillers will help with this but avoid taking aspirin.
Sports bra worn day and night for about 3 weeks.
Might pull and hurt a little when you move around.
Gradually begin to increase your activity.
Depending on your job, should be able to return to work from 2 weeks.
Drive only when you feel safe to do so.
Avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for at least four weeks.
Loss of sensation to breast and nipple area continues to improve.
Scars will begin to soften and fade.
Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.
Specific complications following breast reduction:
- Developing a lump or swelling inside the breast
- Numbness or persistent pain on the outer part of the breast
- Loss of skin, including the areola and nipple
- Stiff shoulder
- Change of breast and nipple sensation
- Uneven shape: Your breasts will change shape after reduction surgery. There is a chance that they may end up slightly lopsided, lumpy or with uneven nipples
- Reduced ability to breastfeed
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