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breast reduction

  • Procedure Time:1 to 3 hours
  • Recovery Time:10-14 days
  • Average Cost:$6,000
Tip:Avoid wearing underwire bras for at least six weeks after surgery.

Breast Reduction Overview

Large breasts can make a woman feel self-conscious, and they can also cause physical stress and affect her ability to engage in physical activities. Women who wish to alleviate their physical and psychological discomfort and achieve a lighter, more proportioned look can opt for a breast reduction—also known as a reduction mammaplasty.

A breast reduction also reshapes the breasts to correct excessive sagging, elevate the nipple and create a more pleasing and youthful contour.

This procedure is for you if…

  • You are physically healthy and don’t smoke
  • You have realistic expectations about the results that can be achieved
  • You are self-conscious about your large breasts
  • Your breasts limit the type of physical activity you can engage in
  • Your breasts place a strain on your back, neck and shoulders
  • Your breasts and nipples hang low and areolas are stretched

You can expect these results:

Breast reduction surgery offers both physical and psychological benefits. The reduction in the weight and pendulousness of your breasts will immediately alleviate physical symptoms such as back-, neck-, and shoulder-ache as well as painful chafing.

You may also find that you can comfortably enjoy a much wider range of physical activities, especially high-impact activities such as jogging or aerobics.

With smaller, shapelier, more youthful-looking breasts, many women also feel less self-conscious and more attractive.

What happens during breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery may be performed in an outpatient clinic or in a hospital, and the patient is given a general anesthetic for this procedure. The procedure lasts between 2-5 hours. The surgeon begins by making an incision around the nipple, and then, depending on the extent of the reduction, he or she may choose from one of three incision patterns: a circular incision, a keyhole incision that extends from the nipple to the base of the breast, or an anchor-shaped incision pattern.

The excess skin, tissue and fat are removed, and the remaining tissue and fat are sculpted to create a smaller, more uplifted contour. The nipple is moved up to create a perkier, more youthful look, and may be trimmed to fit the breast’s smaller proportions.

The incisions are then sutured, and the surgeon wraps the breasts in gauze and applies drainage tubes in some cases.

The recovery process

It's important to have someone with you who can drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. You can expect to feel tired and be in pain: your surgeon will give you painkillers to cover the first few days.

You’ll need to take at least one week off from work, and you may need as many as two to recover sufficiently. If you are a physically active person, you will have to put those activities on hold for at least a month after surgery.

Understanding the risks:

Breast reduction surgery does leave scars: they’ll fade over time but will never completely disappear. There can be a risk of excessive scarring, especially if the patient lifts heavy objects or engages in vigorous activity prematurely. In very rare cases, a patient’s nipple area may not heal adequately, requiring a skin graft. Your surgeon will discuss your personal risk profile during the consultation.

Did you know?
Because it is often considered reconstructive surgery, your breast reduction may be covered by your health insurance. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 88,732 women had breast reduction surgery in 2008. Breast reduction is one of the top 10 plastic surgeries in terms of patient satisfaction, with 86% of patients reporting they felt their surgery was worth it.



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