Breast reduction can be an extremely emotional procedure. A woman’s reasons for breast reduction are very personal and usually include self-esteem issues or physical pain. Having larger sized breast can cause back issues, unwanted taunts from strangers and a host of other problems and concerns. Dr Isolde Hertess, Specialist Plastic Surgeon from Cairns Plastic Surgery, says breast reduction can be one of the most rewarding procedures for both patient and breast reduction surgeon and shares with us what you should expect.
Breast Reduction to reduce physical pain
Dr Hertess says breast reduction is a surgery to reduce psychological pain as well as physical pain. “Neck and back pain, bra strap indentations on the shoulders, and general discomfort are all unfortunate realities for women who have exceptionally large, heavy breasts. Also known as a reduction mammaplasty, a breast reduction helps to create breasts more proportionate to the body.”
Dr Hertess says breast reduction is one of the few plastic surgeries that teenagers often want. “Young women may feel self-conscious about large breasts, on top of suffering from extreme neck and back pain. They may feel embarrassed wearing certain clothing or finding clothes that fit well and may hesitate to exercise or participate in sports. Teens with large breasts can also suffer irritation under the breast fold, or simply feel that their breasts are too large and heavy for their build.”
Breast reduction is also a common procedure for women whose breasts have increased in size as they have gained weight. Dr Hertess says, “It’s also popular with post-menopausal women whose breasts have grown and sagged. The body experiences many changes during menopause, one of which may be excessive breast tissue growth. It’s estimated one in five women will experience growing breasts during menopause.”
The Breast Reduction Procedure
Generally, unless there are complications, a breast reduction surgery won’t take any more than three hours. It involves an incision from the areola down to the bottom curve of the breast whereby excess fat, glandular tissue and excess skin are removed and the remaining skin is tightened around the newly contoured breast. Dr Hertess says there is usually always swelling, temporary bruising and some pain which can be managed with pain medication, and the recovery period is said to be two weeks. “However, keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for the breasts to fully settle into their final position,” Dr Hertess says. She also shared some milestones with us that you’re likely to reach along the way after your breast reduction:
Immediately after surgery:
- Breasts swollen and bruised
- Scars fresh and visible but will begin to settle after a few days/weeks, etc.
- You may experience mild pain, discomfort, or soreness
- You are advised to wear a surgical bra for approximately one month
- Transition to a wire-free bra
6+ months after surgery:
- The breasts have healed and have settled into their “near-final” position
- Scars will have faded, but they will continue to fade for the next 12 months
- Your surgeon will advise if you can begin wearing an underwire bra
- Your nipples may experience more sensitivity.
Most women who undergo a breast reduction say it was the best decision of their life.