The thought of potential risks of breast reduction surgery can be scary! However, if you approach the right surgeon, you can minimise these risks as much as possible and ensure that you are well informed regarding the procedure. In this latest article, expert plastic surgeon Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi explains the things to consider before having a reduction mammaplasty.
In the first part of our discussion with Miss Tadiparthi, she explained how a breast reduction can be beneficial, how it can improve asymmetric breasts and the requirements for surgery.
In the second part, Miss Tadiparthi went on to explain how breast reduction surgery is done, how much scarring the procedure leaves, the aftercare, risks and the potential price of the procedure. Here is the second part of our discussion.
How is breast reduction surgery done?
The operation takes approximately three to four hours, it is carried out under a general anaesthetic and usually requires an overnight hospital stay. During the procedure, the existing nipple area is kept alive on a block of tissue called the ‘pedicle’. The skin overlying the pedicle is removed, leaving just breast tissue and fat. The excess breast tissue around the ‘pedicle’ is removed. The resected tissue from each breast is weighed to allow comparison of the tissue removed from each side and can be sent for analysis if required or there is family history of breast cancer. The remaining breast tissue is then brought together and the nipple area is secured into its new, higher position.
What scarring does a breast reduction leave?
The scars will depend on the technique used for the breast reduction. There are two main techniques: the ‘Wise pattern’ is the most commonly used and this leaves ‘anchor’ shaped scar with a scar around the nipple area, a vertical scar from the nipple area down to the breast fold and a long horizontal scar in the breast fold which is mostly not visible. A ‘vertical pattern’ breast reduction leaves ‘lollipop’ type scarring which is similar but has either a small or no horizontal scar in the breast fold.
How much breast tissue can be removed and can you predict what bra size I will be after breast reduction surgery?
There is no real limit on how much tissue can be removed. The risks are greater with larger breast reductions where greater sections of tissue are removed and there is a longer pedicle keeping the nipple area alive.
Bra sizes vary with individual brands and a definitive cup size after surgery cannot be guaranteed. It is best to have a discussion with your surgeon at your consultation to make sure they are aware of your size preference. The breasts are reduced to be natural and in proportion to your body but if you prefer, they can be made smaller or kept larger.
What is the difference between a breast reduction and a breast uplift?
In an uplift (mastopexy), either no or only a very small amount of breast tissue is removed and the main aim is to raise the position of the nipples and reshape the breasts. Whereas in a breast reduction, reducing the size of the breasts is the main aim and larger sections of breast tissue are removed.
Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction?
You will not be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction as the majority of breast ducts will be cut during the surgery whilst relocating the nipples and removing sections of the breast tissue. If you wish to breastfeed, it is best to postpone your surgery until you have completed your family.
What is the recovery following a breast reduction? When will I be able to return to work, exercise, swim and wear an underwired bra?
You would not be able to drive for 2 weeks. Return to work should be possible by 2 weeks with most occupations, although you should be able to work from home after a few days. Swimming, strenuous exercise or heavy lifting should be avoided for approximately 6 weeks after the surgery. An under-wired bra can be worn after 6 weeks but you may find it more comfortable to wear a non-wired or sports bra for the first 3 months after surgery.
What are the risks and complications of breast reduction surgery?
The vast majority of breast reduction patients heal well and have an uneventful recovery. However, every surgical procedure has the potential for complications and these should be carefully considered before going ahead with surgery. The main risks include permanent scarring, poor scarring (stretched or lumpy), infection, bleeding with blood clot forming within in the breast, poor healing, fat necrosis (poor blood supply to the tissues leads to formation of a hard lump), asymmetry, altered sensation and rarely, there is loss of areas of the skin or all or part of the nipple and need for revisional surgery.
How much does a breast reduction cost?
In the UK, the cost of a breast reduction starts from £6,500.00 and can vary depending on the size of the reduction, whether any liposuction is also performed, and if done as a day case etc.
For more details on breast reduction surgery, read part 1 of this article on breast reduction surgery. You may like to consult with a leading plastic surgeon such as Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi. Visit her Top Doctors profile today for further information.