Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Also known as reduction mammaplsty, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue, fat and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.

Common complaints from large breasts include upper back pain, neck pain, shoulder strap grooves, and skin irritations. The weight of excess breast tissue can impair your ability to lead an active life. The emotional discomfort and self-consciousness often associated with having large pendulous breats is as important an issue to many women as the physical discomfort and pain. Breast reduction surgery has had a 95% success rate in relieving neck and upper back pain.

Because a breast reduction surgery is usually performed to lessen health risks, it is one of the few plastic surgery procedures that may be covered under medical insurance.

Is It Right For Me and Am I A Good Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?

The best candidates for breast reduction are non-smokers who are in generally good health and maintain a stable weight that is at or near the patient’s ideal weight.

It is also important for the patient to have a positive outlook and realistic expectations about the outcome. There are tradeoffs for the surgery. Unlike a breast augmentation, a breast reduction is not the reverse or shrinking of the breast. There are significant scars, worse in some patients than others. There is potential loss of the ability to breast feed, loss of sensation, and potential healing problems. Insurance caompanied do require enough tissue or breast weight to be removed to relive sympotms. This may make some patients smaller than desired. Removing skin alone or small amounts of breast tissue is a breast lift or mastopexy, and although similar, would not be covered by insurance.

Breast reduction surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, ot to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

Breast reduction is a good option for you if:

  • You have realistic expectations
  • You don’t smoke
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too large
  • Your breasts limit your physical activity
  • You experience bac, neck and shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
  • You have regular indentations from bra straps that support heavy, pendulous breasts
  • You have skin irritation beneath the breast crease
  • Your breasts hang low and have stretched skin
  • Your nipples rest below the breast crease when your breasts are unsupported
  • You have enlarged areolas caused by stretched skin

Recovery and Downtime after Breast Reduction Surgery

Most patients can return to non-strenuous work after about two weeks. Strenuous work or exercise should not be resumed until at least three to four weeks have passed.

You will be wrapped with an elastic bandage after surgery. You may feel pain and discomfort the first couple of days. To alleviate some of the pain, the doctor will prescribe pain medication. The bandages are removed within a couple days after surgery. After about a day or two, you may be able to move around like normal, but you cannot resume strenuous activity until three to four weeks after surgery. For final results, it can take six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape.

Iowa Plastic Surgery offers two types of breast reductions. The traditional inverted “T” or anchor scar and a short scar option. The short scar is a “lollipop” shaped scar that avoids the longer horizontal scars. It is a good option for younger and thinner patients.

If there is not much droop and the patient only wants to decrease one cup size, liposuction might be an option, although it is not covered by insurance. Other smaller reductions can be done to try to achieve the cup size the patient wants, but also might have to be done outside of insurance, as a cosmetic procedure.

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