Breast reduction (or reduction mammaplasty) is an enhancement procedure that reshapes the breasts in order to make them smaller, lighter, and shapelier. Reduction is accomplished by removing excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin. Large breasts
can cause physical pain as well as emotional and social anxiety. Women who take advantage of the breast reduction procedure find that they are able to lead a healthier, more comfortable life, in addition to enjoying a beautiful, more proportionate
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Let’s face it, overly large breasts can be a real pain in the neck. Literally. Big breasts are responsible for neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain. They create posture problems and limit the types of activities and sports women can do. They also cause a problem when searching for clothes that fit, especially when what you want doesn’t come in your size or requires you to buy two separate pieces: one size for the bottom half, another for the top.
Socially, women who have overly large breasts can be faced with uncomfortable situations, like unwelcome stares and rude comments. For some women, the dream of having normal-sized breasts is one that they have thought about every day for many years.
Breast Reduction surgery doesn’t have to be just a dream, though. It can be a real, viable solution. If you are a large breasted individual looking to eliminate discomfort and complications caused by this condition, Breast Reduction surgery can be the key to the active, healthy, pain-free life you’ve always wanted.
Am I a candidate for a breast reduction?
Let’s be clear here. Breast Reduction is not for someone who is just looking for firmer breasts. A typical Breast Reduction candidate has back and neck pains, wears a size D or bigger bra and probably has the grooves on her shoulders from bra straps to prove it. Some women may be so excited to have smaller breasts that they are looking at a large reduction, while others may just want to go down a cup size or two.
About breast reductions
The perfect time to discuss these goals and expectations is with Dr. Volshteyn at your initial consultation. You can talk about the size and shape you desire, and he will consider your desires along with your body size and frame. Most physicians recommend not going too small – it can make your body appear out of proportion. You will also be able to discuss your medical history and medications at your initial consultation.
For a breast reduction procedure, there are a few different techniques offered. The amount of tissue to be removed as well as the need to lift the breast help determine the correct procedure for you.
What are the different types of breast reductions?
Inverted T or traditional breast reduction
The traditional breast reduction allows for the most tissue to be removed as well as more of a reshaping (lifting) of the breast. In most patients, an incision, which looks like an anchor, is made around the areola, then vertically down from the areola to the breast fold, and then horizontally along the breast fold. After the unwanted fat and breast tissue has been removed, the nipple is repositioned higher on the breast and sutures are put in place. This technique, while allowing for the greatest amount of reduction, does cause some scarring. Please note that the nipple and areola are never separated front e breast, even though it looks like they were. By preserving the connection with the breast Dr Volshteyn is able to preserve sensitivity and functionality of the breasts. Potentially after breast reduction vast majority of patients able to feel nipples and even breastfeed in the future.
FYI. In the past, about 25 years ago, plastic surgeons used to separate nipples and areolas from the breasts (ouch!!!) and replace them as a graft at the end of the procedure. Obviously, patients used to lose sensation and final look was not very natural. It is very rare to us that old fashioned Nipple graft technique. Even in very large breasts, in most cases the pedicle method is much better.
Other types of breast reduction
Other breast reduction methods produce less scarring.
These are also known as lollipop, doughnut and scarless breast reduction.
In doughnut breast reduction incision is limited to the area around the areola. There is no vertical extension or horizontal component underneath. It works well for smaller breast reductions. But if it is used for larger reductions, it redults in fletter or boxier breast.
Lollipop incision doesn’t require the horizontal incision along the breast crease. Not as much tissue can be removed with this techniques, but the overall shape is very natural. With these methods, the excess skin along the vertical incision is pleated over itself instead of removed. While these techniques result in fewer scars, the overall time to heal is about the same because the pleated skin area needs time to “smooth out,” which is accomplished by the elasticity of the skin.
Scarless breast reduction. Scarless breast reduction is a newer method that has the least amount of complications, takes the least amount of time, and preserves the ability to breastfeed the best. The doctor will make 1 or 2 very small (under 1/4″) incisions under the breast or armpit and extra tissue is removed with liposuction cannulas. The recovery process is the same with non-visible scars. It works better for younger patients and produces very minimal lift. In older patients breast look emptied out and not very “perky’. This procedure is usually reserved for younger patients or patients with very severe keloids.
What are the potential risks and complications of a breast reduction?
All surgeries have the possibility of risks and complications. Breast reductions include the possibility of bleeding, bruising, swelling, and scarring as well as asymmetry, numbness, loss of nipple sensation and the inability to breastfeed. Dr. Volshteyn will discuss all of this with you in detail during your consultation. You can also help to minimize any complications by following all pre- and post-operative instructions you are given.
What can I expect after a breast reduction procedure?
After a breast reduction you should expect to take about a week off before returning to work. It may be an additional 3-4 weeks after before you can return to all of your normal or strenuous activities. While most breast reductions are performed on an out-patient basis you should have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours. You’ll be given a surgical bra to wear for a few days and a compression garment to wear for the first few weeks after surgery. These will help minimize swelling as well as promote healing. Results are apparent more quickly with traditional breast reductions, while you may have to wait about six months to see the final results with the scarless technique.
What is the recovery after a breast reduction?
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the recovery time. Bandages are applied immediately following surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, a specialized surgical bra will need to be worn for several weeks. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery. Any pain can be treated with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the instructions given after surgery.
Before you make your final decision, I would like you to read one of the letters from my former patients, who is also a nurse.
When I was in the 6th grade I started developing, and boy did I. I had much larger breasts than any girl in my class. Every year it was the same way and I felt very self conscious, as I was teased a lot. I could never wear the same types of outfits that the other girls were wearing because most of them really accentuated my breasts. So, I found myself wearing very loose fitting shirts, bib overalls, anything that would hide them. When I did wear something, such as a prom dress, I would receive lots of stares and many comments. I would even hear comments that were made by some of the girls, such as, “she is just a slut, look at her flaunting those big boobs. Can you believe her?”
I felt like the only reason why guys would ask me out was because of my breasts. I even heard a friend, of one of the guys who had asked me out, making comments about how lucky he was, and stating “maybe you will get to see or even touch those huge breasts of hers.”
When I tried out for the drill team (a group kind of like the golden girls at Mizzou) and was selected to be on the team, there were comments made in reference to the fact that the only reason why I was selected was because of my breasts, not that I had any talent.
At our senior dinner, for graduation from high school, they wished me and my “Grand Tetons” the best in life. I wanted to crawl under the table. Even when I went to college things were the same. I wished there was something I could do to convince people that I was not the way they thought I was. But, there seems to be a stigma that goes along with having large breasts.
When I would go to apply for a job, I would notice that most of the time the person I was interviewing with would not be talking to my face, but instead talking and staring at my chest. It was that way most everywhere. I got to the point where, at times, I would say something that would alert them to the fact that it offended me that they were staring at my chest.
The other thing, that people did not know, was that I was very uncomfortable with large breasts. My back and neck hurt. I had indentations in my shoulders where my bras would cut in from carrying such a large load. I even had headaches because of the stress it put on my back and neck. Along with the very low self-esteem I had.
One of the best things I have ever done in my life was to get a breast reduction. I feel so much better. No more back or neck pain and my self-esteem is much better. I even proudly talk to other people about having had my breast reduction and how much it has helped me. Since I am a nurse, I have the opportunity to help inform people of what to expect and what benefits there are from having a breast reduction done.
Please call our office today for more information on breast reductions or to set up a consultation with Dr. Boris Volshteyn, our board certified plastic surgeon 732-641-3350