Breast reduction is a procedure with both cosmetic and functional benefits. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and involves a two night stay in hospital. The procedure is discussed at length in the pre-operative consultation.
Why are large breasts a problem?
Some women have problems with asymmetry (one breast much larger than the other) or have very heavy or pendulous breasts. Very large breasts can cause back ache, neck pain and irritation of the skin underneath the breast. It can be hard to find suitable clothes and comfortable bras, and certain sports can be difficult. For some women having large breasts can make them very self conscious.
Who can have reduction surgery?
Any women with very large breasts that are problematic may be considered for a breast reduction. The size of a woman’s breasts will largely be determined by genetics but it will also be influenced by fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, breast feeding and hormonal changes. For these reasons most surgeons advise that surgery is only undertaken when the woman’s breasts have reached maturity (ie not performed on young teenagers) and the patient maintains a stable weight. You may be asked to lose weight to achieve a healthy BMI (body mass index) before surgery is offered. Ideally surgery should be delayed until any planned family is complete but special cases can be considered.
What is involved in the operation?
A breast reduction is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, takes between 2 and 4 hours and requires a 2 to 4 day stay in hospital. There are a number of different techniques that the surgeon may use. There may be a scar underneath the breast, one around the nipple or even a vertical scar running down from the nipple to join the scar underneath. The choice of operation will be determined by the size and shape of the breasts before surgery and the size that is desired afterwards. You should discuss the options and the exact position of the scars with your surgeon before the operation. Excess skin, fat and breast tissue is removed and the position of the nipple may be moved permanently.
Before the operation, depending on your age and fitness, you may have to undergo some simple health checks such as blood tests and a mammogram. The surgeon will also examine your breasts and draw guidelines with a marker pen before you are under the anaesthetic. If you decide on surgery you will be required to sign a consent form giving permission for the operation. This requires that you are aware of the risks and complications involved with the procedure.
*Results will vary from person to person and a thorough in-depth consultation will first take place.