As you sit waiting for the physiotherapist you know that something has to change. For the last few months you’ve seen them every week for your back and neck pain. You’ve always had large breasts that have caused some neck pain, but since your last pregnancy it has become worse. And it’s not just impacting your posture. You really want to get back into regular running, but when you do try to run, it’s uncomfortable.
During your treatment, you ask the physiotherapist about other options. And that’s when you hear all about the benefits of breast reduction surgery. They tell you that breast reduction surgery has helped many of their patients by:
- Reducing pain: If your breasts cause neck or back pain, bad posture or numbness, a breast reduction can relieve the pain almost immediately.
- Attention: Having large breasts can bring a lot of unwanted attention that can have a deep lasting impact on women’s lives. A breast reduction can stop the unwanted attention, comments and stares.
- Sleeping: If you have large breasts it can be hard to find a comfortable position to sleep. With a breast reduction, you’ll be able to sleep easily without using a special pillow.
- Clothing: Finding clothes that fit your body can be easy, but finding clothes that also fit your breasts can be incredibly annoying. After a breast reduction you’ll be able to wear the clothes you want.
- Lifestyle and Exercise: Women who have had a breast reduction are able to exercise and enjoy an active lifestyle without the pain and inconvenience of having larger breasts.
What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery, removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to relieve the physical discomfort associated with overly large breasts. Having breast reduction surgery will make your breasts smaller and with an improved shape.
Is breast reduction surgery right for me?
Women who are suitable for breast reduction surgery have naturally large breasts and experience a variety of problems from the weight and size of their breasts, including back, neck, and shoulder pain, and skin irritation.
You may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery if:
- Your breasts are overly large in proportion to your body frame
- You’re self-conscious about the size of your breasts.
- You find it hard to sit up, stand and maintain good posture
- Your bra straps create grooves in your shoulders.
- You experience skin irritation or rashes under your breasts.
- Your physical activity is restricted because of your breasts’ size and weight.
If you’re planning to lose a lot of weight, it may be better to lose the weight first before having breast reduction surgery. It’s also important to let your Breast Surgeon know if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the future. Before deciding if breast reduction surgery is suitable for you, the Breast Surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment.
What are the important facts about breast reduction surgery?
- Breast reduction surgery is usually performed for relief of pain or discomfort. It can be performed on females of any age but is most advisable that breasts are fully developed.
- Possible risks and complications of breast reduction surgery include bleeding, infection, bleeding, asymmetry, wound breakdown, poor scars, nipple irregularities, loss of nipple sensation, and fat necrosis resulting in hard lumps in the breast.
- Breast reduction surgery has a very high level of patient satisfaction, with most patients being extremely positive about their improved quality of life and comfort.
- After a breast reduction, your breasts should be smaller and have a better shape.
- The surgery results in permanent scars, which usually follow the natural curved line under the breast with a vertical scar to the nipple and another around the areola. Either a lollipop pattern or an anchor pattern is used, depending upon the individual breast size and shape being reduced.
- Loss of some or all nipple sensation is common, and the bigger the volume of reduction, the more likely it is to lose nipple sensation.
- Most women who have a successful breast reduction are able to wear more revealing clothing, have less back and neck pain, are more comfortable with their appearance, and find that their personal and sexual relationships improve.
What happens during breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 90 minutes. You may get injections of local anaesthetic to help with the pain after your operation. To reduce the risk of infection, you may be given antibiotics during the breast reduction operation. After surgery, your breasts may be wrapped in bandages for support.
Breast reduction surgery methods include pedicle procedures, nipple graft procedures, liposuction procedures and combinations. The most common surgical technique to reduce breast volume requires three incisions. One around the areola (a periareolar incision), another incision that runs vertically from the bottom of the areola to the crease underneath your breast, and a third incision following the natural line of your breast crease. Read more about the types of breast reduction procedures here.
What are the expected results of breast reduction surgery?
It will take around four months for your breasts to adjust to their new form and can take a year or more for the scars to fade. If you genetically take a long time to heal, you may have visible scars for life.
If your body shape changes a lot or you have more pregnancies, after your breast reduction surgery, you may need to have a breast lift, breast augmentation or a further breast reduction.
Breast reduction surgery is very effective at reducing a large breast to less than a C cup. Many women who need a breast look more natural with at least a C cup. It’s vital that you discuss this carefully with your Breast Surgeon as a smaller breast reduction, may result in badly shaped breasts that have noticeable differences between them.
What is recovery like after breast reduction surgery?
After your breast reduction surgery, you’ll be given medication to limit any pain and nausea. Most breast reduction surgery will not require drainage tubes. Recovery and pain will vary from patient to patient. If you do feel pain it will respond well to pain medication. Driving can be resumed once you are comfortable, can react quickly if necessary, and are not taking strong painkillers. This is normally within five to seven days.
Most breast reduction surgery patients stay overnight in hospital with most women taking one to two weeks off work. After your surgery, to avoid putting pressure on your breasts you may be advised to sleep on your back.
Wearing a light pressure bra or sports bra will give you support in the first few weeks after breast reduction surgery. For at least six weeks following the breast reduction procedure, it’s important to handle your breasts gently. It is recommended that you avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for up to six weeks.
What complications or risks are associated with breast reduction surgery?
Any surgical operation brings complications of anaesthesia. Your anaesthetist will be able to discuss with you the possible complications of having an anaesthetic.
General complications of every surgery include:
- Pain. Your healthcare team will give you medication to control the pain. To reduce discomfort and prevent headaches, it’s important that you take the medication.
- Blood clot in your leg (deep-vein thrombosis – DVT). This can cause pain, swelling or redness in your leg, or the veins near the surface of your leg to appear larger than normal. Your healthcare team will assess your risk. They will encourage you to get out of bed soon after the operation and may give you injections, medication, or special stockings to wear. Let the healthcare team know straightaway if you think you might have a DVT.
- Blood clot in your lung (pulmonary embolus). If a blood clot moves through your bloodstream to your lungs. If you become short of breath, feel pain in your chest or upper back, or if you cough up blood, let the healthcare team know straightaway. If you are at home, call an ambulance or go immediately to your nearest Emergency department
Specific risks and complications from breast reduction surgery include:
- Breast disease
- Breastfeeding problems
- Fat necrosis
- Loss of sensation in the nipple and areola
- Skin contour irregularities
- Wound healing issues
You can read more details about the risks and complications of breast reduction surgery here.
How to find the best Breast Reduction Surgeons in Australia
Your Breast Surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if breast lift surgery is suitable for you. This may include taking photos for your medical records. They’ll also examine your breasts and ask you questions about your medical history.
Breast reduction surgery to make your breasts smaller is only suitable for certain women. It’s important to consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the breast reduction results. While breast reduction surgery is usually effective and safe, complications can occur. Knowing about the risks and complications of the surgery is vital.
We suggest you make a shortlist and consult with a few Breast Reduction Surgeons. You can find the best Australian Breast Reduction Surgeons here.