When people think about plastic surgery and breasts, many automatically think of breast augmentation with implants. However, surgical breast "enhancement" isn't always about making breasts bigger. Many times it is about making very large breasts smaller in order to reduce pain and improve self-esteem in the process. The breast reduction removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with a woman's body. The operation also ameliorates the discomfort associated with very large breasts. High patient satisfaction rates reflect the dramatic impact this operation can have on patients' lives.
Women with very large breasts (macromastia) often suffer from neck, shoulder, and/or back pain, rashes underneath the breasts and headaches as a result of the weight of their pendulous breasts. These women often find that the breast reduction operation will greatly alleviate their discomfort. Most insurance plans will cover this operation if the patient meets certain pre-operative criteria.
The procedure will be performed as an outpatient or patients may choose to stay overnight. Under the direction of a board-certified anesthesiologist a general anesthetic is administered. Typically, based on the size of the patient's breasts, the operation takes around 3 hours. A primary incision is made around the areola, and often vertical and horizontal incisions are used depending on the breast size and shape. During the operation excess breast tissue and skin are removed. At the conclusion of the operation your breasts will be smaller. Additionally, the areola is reduced in size and the nipple and areola are lifted to a higher position. The operation is performed as an outpatient, with patients returning home the same day of their operation.
Swelling and occasionally some bruising are common after the operation. Mild to moderate discomfort lasts for a few days. Recovery time usually takes seven to 14 days. Patients will wear a soft bra day and night for one month. Although patients will immediately notice that their breasts are smaller, the results will continue to improve as swelling goes down. After one to two weeks, most women return to work and their normal daily activities.
Complications following the breast reduction operation are usually minimal. Some rare complications that may occur include infection, bleeding, hematoma, changes in nipple sensation, contour irregularities, delayed wound healing, and rarely thickened scars.
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