Large breasts (macromastia) can cause pain, improper posture, rashes, breathing problems, grooves on the top of the shoulders, skeletal deformities, and low self-esteem. Breast reduction surgery is usually done to provide relief from these symptoms. Depending on patient expectations, symptoms, and on the amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed, this procedure may be covered by your health insurance.
Under general anesthesia, the typical two to three hour procedure removes excess skin, fat and breast gland tissue to produce smaller, lighter breasts more proportional to the rest of the body. The breasts are also lifted on the chest wall and the nipple-areola are placed in a more youthful position.
What Can I Expect During Breast Reduction Surgery?
Typical incisions are made around the areola, from the new location of the nipple down to and within the crease under the breast. Dr. Birchenough removes excess tissue, fat, and skin, then he relocates the nipple and areola higher on the chest wall, and reshapes the breast. All incisions are closed with multiple layers of stitches. Liposuction may be needed to remove excess fat from the side of the breast, under the armpit. Occasionally, liposuction alone can be used to reduce the breast.
How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?
An elastic bandage or a surgical bra is worn for the first week after surgery. Occasionally, especially with a very large breast reduction, surgical drainage tubes for fluid removal may be placed in the breasts. Stitches come out in about a week and a snug bra (like a sports bra) must be worn for about four to six weeks – to help with the shape, healing, and swelling.
Walking can be done immediately. More strenuous (cardio) activity can usually start within two weeks. Arm exercises are limited for the first four weeks. Dr. Birchenough follows his patients closely to individually recommend which activities can be started when.
What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?
- “How big will I be after breast reduction?”
- “Will insurance pay for breast reduction surgery?”
- “Can I breast feed after my breasts are made smaller?”