Breast reduction is the surgical procedure performed to reduce the size of your breasts and to enhance their shape, leaving them more in proportion with your body.
Breast size and shape can affect a woman's well being, self-image, psyche and lifestyle.
The operation is one of the most commonly performed, the results are predictable and the women who have this operation are usually delighted by the transformation.
If you are considering a breast reduction operation, this information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure - when it can help, how it is performed and the results you can expect.
Who is suitable for breast reduction?
Ideally you should be near to your normal weight for height when the operation is carried out. Any woman with large breasts may be a candidate for the operation, especially if their breasts are causing any of the following:
- Neck, back and/or shoulder ache
- A feeling of heaviness in the breasts
- Bra strap grooves in the shoulders
- Rashes underneath the breasts
- Pins and needles in the hands
- Striae (lines) or dilated veins on the breast
A breast reduction operation can improve your self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem.
Usually the operation is not performed until a woman's breasts are fully developed, usually from late teens onwards. Occasionally, marked breast growth can occur in early puberty warranting the performance of the operation in the teens.
What to expect at the initial consultation?
At the initial consultation your breasts will be examined and measured, and your surgeon will discuss all aspects of the operation with you. At this stage, your surgeon will assess whether breast reduction is suitable for you and whether the operation will meet your specific needs.
It is important to bring to your surgeon's attention any previous breast problems that you may have had. Such problems would include breast lumps, nipple discharge, breast pain, breast cancer and any other surgery you might have had on the breasts.
You should also inform your surgeon if you have any family history of breast cancer, particularly in your mother or sisters. If you are on any long-term medication, if you have any allergies, if you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, if you have had any previous surgery, if you have had any previous problems with local or general anaesthesia and if you have any chronic medical ailments, tell your surgeon.
Where does the treatment take place?
Your operation will take place at New Victoria Hospital, and you can expect to spend 1-2 nights in hospital recovering from the operation before going home.
What can go wrong?
In general, breast reduction is associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction and the vast majority of women are very pleased with their results. Nevertheless, no surgery is without risk, and your surgeon will explain the risks and possible side-effects of treatment with you at your consultation.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery can take up to 3-4 weeks and return to work during the recovery period is at the discretion of you and your surgeon.
How satisfied can you expect to be with the procedure?
Because this is a common plastic surgery procedure, the results are quite predictable. After the operation, many women report a feeling of increased self-esteem and self-confidence and reduced self-consciousness. Physical discomfort from having large breasts is also greatly reduced or removed.
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. Although every effort will be made to ensure that your scars are as inconspicuous as possible, it is important to remember that breast reduction scars are extensive and permanent. They may remain red and slightly prominent for months, before fading to thin white lines.
Your surgeon can discuss the exact nature of your treatment, including procedure details, recovery times and any possible side-effects at your consultation. This will reflect your exact circumstances and needs. The information included here is provided for general guidance only.