Breast reduction (or reduction mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure that reduces, lifts and reshapes the breast. The procedure removes excess breast and fatty tissue, leaving the patient with an overall smaller and shapelier breast.
The operation seeks to improve posture and relieve the symptoms caused by very large breasts. These may include back pain, neck pain, breast tenderness, shoulder grooving (from bra straps), intertrigo (rash between folds of skin), and overall breast discomfort.
- Reduce the size of overly large breasts
- Improve the breast shape
- Alleviate heavy, pendulous breasts
- Achieve a more balanced breast shape
- Reposition the nipple/areola complex
At a Glance
Breast reduction procedure is designed to reduce the size and improve the shape of a woman’s breasts.
Depending upon the technique and the patient’s circumstances the procedure will generally take around 2—4 hours.
Depending on your personal situation, breast reduction surgery can be done in an outpatient facility, or you may have to stay at least one night in the hospital.
Pain and discomfort vary depending on the individual but you can expect moderate to severe pain for the first few days after which the symptoms will improve. Most of our patients cope well with the assistance of oral pain medication.
Unfavourable scarring, loss of nipple sensation, loss of ability to breastfeed, loss of nipple and breast tissue, unsatisfactory shape, and failure to achieve aesthetic goals.
Most patients will return to work in 1—2 weeks and are generally able to return to most normal activities in 4—6 weeks.
The decision to undergo breast reduction surgery is a very delicate one, and we strive to make you feel comfortable and safe during this journey.
What is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction or Reduction Mammaplasty is a major surgical procedure to reduce the breast size in cases of large and uncomfortable breasts often with degrees of medical complications such as neck pain, back pain and skin infections under the breast fold.
Breast reduction procedure
The procedure itself will take around 3 hours depending on the complexity of the case and is performed in day hospital. Overnight stay is not normally required. A General Anaesthetic is usually appropriate for this surgery.
Many breast reduction procedures call for just one vertical incision around the areola down to the breast crease, and in some cases along the crease as well. A portion of fat and excess tissue is then removed. The nipple and areola are then repositioned and the skin under the breast is re-sculpted. This results in smaller breasts that have a more aesthetically pleasing shape and improved support, lift and overall fullness.
Breast reduction surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic. Women undergoing a breast reduction can expect to spend one to three nights in hospital. The recuperation period lasts for around three weeks. The resulting scar can be seen from around the nipple down to the breast crease in a vertical line, and gradually fades over 12—18 months after the procedure. This scar generally takes longer than other types of scarring to settle.
It takes approximately 3 months for the breasts to relax into their new shape, as gravity takes effect and swelling begins to reduce.
What to expect after breast reduction surgery?
For the first 24 hours you will have heavy dressings on your breasts to reduce swelling. You may notice initially that your breasts appear quite high in position, this is normal and they will assume a more natural position as you heal.
Pain and discomfort varies depending on the individual. You can expect moderate to severe pain for the first few days, after which the symptoms will improve. Most of our patients cope well with the assistance of oral pain medication.
You are able to shower the next day after surgery since we normally use waterproof dressings on the wounds. It is common to have some drains in place with breast reduction to prevent the accumulation of fluid or blood. These are usually removed after 1—2 days.
You will require some help at home in the early stages. Gentle exercise such as walking is encouraged after the first day or so. You should also be able to return to most household tasks after a week. You should avoid vigorous activity such as gym or jogging for a few weeks.
Breast reduction scar healing
As with any operation of this nature naturally there will be a degree of scarring but every effort is made to minimize this. Scars tend to be pink to brown and slightly firm in the first few weeks but gradually become lighter in colour and acquire softness. Scars around the nipple are usually difficult to detect, the vertical scar is more easily seen but fades to a very light colour in time. The horizontal scar hides very well under the breast fold. Some people have a tendency to form heavy, discoloured scarring which might be itchy and uncomfortable. There are ways to minimize this scar response and so any history of poor scarring should be advised before surgery.
Can you breastfeed after a breast reduction and lift?
As the amount of tissue removed in this operation varies from one patient to another no guarantees can be made as to potential successful breastfeeding, however, in most cases of women can successfully breast feed following this procedure.
Breast reduction risks
- All medical procedures carry some risks as well as potential benefits. There are general surgical risks such as bruising, bleeding, blood clots, infection.
- Bruising is common and resolves well, usually in a matter of days. Bleeding at the time of operation is well controlled but sometimes bleeding occurs after the operation and may collect as a haematoma. If a haematoma is large enough it may need to be drained.
- Drains are commonly used in conjunction with mastopexy and this helps to minimize the risks of collections.
Infection is uncommon but if it occurs it can be serious and so it needs to be treated seriously. All patients are treated with antibiotics to try to prevent infection. Severe infections may cause skin necrosis and loss of tissue which will need to be repaired.
- Unevenness of the breasts after surgery may occur. There may be changes to the sensitivity of nipples.
- General anaesthetics are a safe procedure but they too carry potential serious risks including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blood clots, lung problems, even death.
- Despite the risks, Breast Reduction, when performed by an experienced practitioner is a very safe procedure and has a high level of patient satisfaction.
How much is a breast reduction?
A breast reduction at Cosmedic & Skin Clinic on the Gold Coast starts from $11,250. The cost for breast reduction surgery is tailored to your individual requirements and desired outcome, so prices may vary. A more precise surgery cost will be provided during your initial consultation with Dr John Flynn.