Breast reduction (mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure which involves removing excess fat, skin and glandular tissue from the breasts to reduce their overall size, weight and volume, and improve their shape.
The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and takes approximately 3 hours.
There are a number of techniques your surgeon may use, depending on the size of your breasts and desired outcome.
This is the most common type of breast reduction. An anchor-shaped incision is made around the areola (the dark tissue around the nipple), vertically down and then horizontally across your natural breast crease.
This type of breast reduction results in a circular scar around the areola and a vertical scar directed downwards. This technique has the advantage of leaving no scarring under the breast and a lower chance of wound complications. A small fold of skin may result, initially, at the lower end of the vertical scar.
This technique is only suitable for the removal of a small amount of tissue. A circular scar around the areola will result.
Your surgeon will discuss the surgical alternatives and advise the most appropriate for you.
After the incisions have been made, excess breast tissue and skin is removed and the nipples are repositioned. The size of the areola may be reduced to suit the new shape of your breasts. The incisions are closed with dissolving sutures.
Dressings and a supportive bra will be fitted. Tubes may be fitted to drain away any excess fluid. These will be removed prior to discharge.
It is normal to experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising in your breasts and these effects should subside after a few weeks. The shape of the breasts can take several months to settle.
Your anaesthetist will prescribe painkillers to reduce any potential discomfort. It is important to discuss any discomfort with our nursing team.
Your surgeon will advise when to wear your support bra and for how long. It’s important that you do not wear an under-wired bra until advised to do so.
You must avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, swimming and vacuuming for four to six weeks after surgery.
The length of time you will need to be off work will depend on the type of work you do. Your surgeon will advise, however a minimum of one week is usual.
Breast reduction is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. Nonetheless, all surgery and anaesthetic have some risk associated. Risks to all surgeries include infection, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anaesthetic or blood clotting.
Your surgery will result in scarring, however it should gradually soften and fade over several months.
Changes in sensation, including increased or decreased sensitivity may occur in different parts of the breast, including the nipple. These changes are usually temporary, lasting up to six months, however in some cases numbness is permanent.
In some cases it is not possible to breast feed following surgery.
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