Breast Reduction


Breast Reduction Overview

Dissatisfaction with breast size is a common complaint. Many women feel that their breasts are too large. This can cause many difficulties including breast pain, pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Patients can have problems exercising, and finding clothing to fit. If left untreated for a long enough period of time, rashes can occur and permanent creases in the bra strap area of the shoulders can develop. Curvature of the upper spine is frequently seen as well, but can be improved. Surgical reduction in the size of breasts is helpful with these problems. Particularly rewarding is the freedom patients enjoy with a return to activities and improvement in the discomfort.

During the procedure, incisions are made around the areola, and over the chest/breast area. This allows us access to the excess breast tissue located in the upper and outer portions of the breast. We then remove the extra tissue from both sides and compare the weights and effect on the breasts with the patient sitting upright in the operating room. Once the incisions are closed, the nipple has been elevated to an appropriate location and the breast volume reduced to an appropriate size. The procedure does combine the lifting of a breast lift with a reduction in volume, and the enlarged diameter of the areolar is adjusted as well.

When permitted, Dr. Brzowski will submit the tissue to the pathologist for examination. There is a fee charged by the pathologist for this review, so you will want to provide us with your insurance information. If you choose to allow us to do this, it will help us look for any potential signs of cancerous or pre-cancerous areas. Luckily, there have actually been some good studies that suggest that the breast reduction surgery will lead to a decrease in the risks of subsequent breast cancers.

Lastly, the results of this operation and the satisfaction rates from the procedure are the highest in nearly every plastic surgeons office. It is a very satisfying procedure to be involved with.

Breast Reduction Recovery Period

For most patients, they are back to a normal routine involving deskwork and activities such as cooking, shopping, and light exercise within 2 weeks. It is best to avoid bouncing and stretching during that time to limit the risks of disrupting the incisions and/or creating internal bleeding. It is important that you wear a snug bra that is provided to you 24/hr/day for the first two weeks. After the first two weeks you may stop wearing it to bed, but must wear it when out of bed for anything more than a brief time. Usually you can transition to a non-underwire bra after 4 weeks.

Overall discomfort is usually mild to moderate. In fact, most all patients will be aware of the relief from the weight and heaviness in the chest upon awakening from the surgery and comment on this in the recovery room.

Occasionally Dr. Brzowski may insert drains into the surgical area through the side part of the incisions. Typically these are removed within 24-72 hours.

Lastly, because of swelling and tightness in the skin, your final breast appearance and size will not be seen for several weeks postoperatively.

Risks of Breast Reduction

The incisions necessary to remove the needed breast tissue and elevate the nipple usually result in a pattern similar to an upside down T or anchor. A part of the scar totally encircles the areola. Because of the magnitude of the cuts, the biggest risks are of healing or scarring problems. Thankfully these risks are low, but are higher than the others, such as loss of sensation in the nipples, size differences between the breasts, a permanent size that is smaller or larger than wished for, and loss of circulation to the areola. The potential for problems such as difficulty breast feeding should be very low.

As with any operation, there are risks of bleeding, poor healing, infection, dissatisfaction with the results, and complications from the anesthetic such as blood clots and etc. Certain behaviors around the time of your surgery can influence your risks of problems such as smoking and failing to follow instructions regarding wound care and activities. Specifically, smokers are required to discontinue smoking a minimum of 3 weeks prior to surgery and not resume smoking until proper healing as been verified.

Learn more about Breast Reduction

If you feel that breast reduction might be right for you, schedule a private consultation with Dr. Brzowski.