Large breasts can cause chronic neck and back pain, bra strap grooving, and skin irritation or infections below the chest due to chronic moisture. Reduction mammaplasty is designed to reduce the size of large breasts to help alleviate these symptoms. This common procedure also tends to raise and reshape the aging or “drooping” breast, in addition to making the breasts smaller. There are many techniques used to accomplish these goals. The techniques tend to differ with regard to the skin incisions used as well as the positioning of the breast tissue. Most of the techniques are similar to techniques used in mastopexy. Underneath the skin, the surgeon must be careful to preserve the blood supply to the nipple. Some of the more common techniques utilize a scar around the areola and vertical scar that continues to the fold underneath the breast. An additional transverse scar underneath the breast is often used and can vary substantially in length depending on the circumstances. This involves the placement of scars on the breast in order to accomplish the reduction, but the length and position of these scars can be chosen according to your individual circumstances. The more common technique is known as a “Wise-Pattern” or “Anchor incision” technique to reshape your breast, resulting in an anchor-shaped scar. Another technique, the vertical reduction, uses only the vertical portion of the incisions. Your surgeon can perform each of these different types of breast reduction and will discuss with you the various options and which type is likely the most appropriate for you.
What to expect: During the office consultation you will discuss all aspects of the procedure with one of our surgeons in order to establish a thorough and well-informed plan. Your procedure will begin after consulting with your surgeon and your anesthesiologist or anesthetist. Your surgeon will mark and measure your breasts prior to surgery according to the plan discussed with you. Typical incisions are shaped so that they result in a vertical scar extending from around the edge of your areola down to the fold underneath your breast, with or without a horizontal scar underneath the breast. From these incisions, your skin and breast tissue are reduced and reshaped in order to both reduce the size of the breast and raise the breast and position of the nipple and areola. Additional techniques such as liposuction might be added to complete the individually tailored plan for you, depending on your wishes and your specific circumstances.
The recovery: The breast will have some bruising and swelling that improve for several weeks. Your postoperative course is monitored in the clinic by your surgeon and staff. Sometimes small drains are used after the surgery and are removed at the clinic visit. Local anesthetic and pain medication are often used to manage any discomfort you might have after the operation. We ask that you avoid wearing an underwire bra, but a camisole or other soft bra is safe.
Some of the unlikely complications: Infection, fluid collection, or bleeding can occur following any type of Reduction mammaplasty, and may require surgical drainage. Some asymmetry in breasts is expected before and after the operation. Healed incisions can sometimes be raised or wide regardless of the technique used. Very rarely, the nipple or areola can be damaged by poor blood supply. A more complete discussion of the risks, benefits, and alternatives will always be included at your visit. As always, our efforts are directed at minimizing the risk of these complications and optimizing your safety.