Also known as reduction mammoplasty, a breast reduction reshapes and resizes the breasts. Breast size and shape is subject to a number of influences: hormonal changes, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, weight gain or loss, hormone replacement therapy and the use of contraceptives.
Breast reduction aims to improve health and boost self-image, and is also performed as part of reconstructive surgery in the treatment of breast cancer.
Breast reduction is performed on mature adults who are fully developed. Although large breasts are considered an ideal by many people, there can be physical and psychological symptoms associated with breasts that are too large or heavy. Considerations for a breast reduction include:
- Pain in the shoulders, neck or back
- Posture affected by heavy breasts
- General discomfort
- Pain while wearing a bra
- Irritation or infection caused by large breasts
- Breathing difficulties
Add to these physical difficulties the potential for negative self-image, intimacy problems and reluctance to appear in public. From a practical perspective, large breasts can impede sporting and recreational activities, while also making it difficult to fit comfortably into some clothing or swimwear.
Breast reduction consultation
The consultation is an opportunity to discuss your motivation for undergoing breast reduction surgery, and to inform your surgeon of the desired shape and size of your new breasts. Dr Valente is a highly qualified Aesthetic Surgeon and will assist with establishing a proportionate breast size that suits the rest of your body.
Any concerns regarding breast reduction surgery can be discussed, and potential risks, although rare, will also be covered. The cost of breast reduction surgery is dependent on a range of factors that are patient-specific, although Dr Valente will provide a clear picture moving forward.
Breast reduction surgery procedure
Prior to surgery you will undergo a breast examination to determine the current condition of your breasts. Photos may be taken to be used as a reference during surgery and recovery. The surgery takes several hours to complete and depending on the procedure a stay in hospital for a couple of days might be required. There is no discomfort during surgery as general anaesthetic is administered and you will be asleep.
As no two breasts are the same, there are a range of techniques used for different scenarios.
Tissue, fat and skin is then removed to create the desired breast shape and size. The areola and nipple can also be repositioned as part of the operation.
Small tubes may be connected to help drain excess fluid from the surgical site. Dissolvable stitches (sutures) are often used to minimise scarring. Supporting tape, surgical dressings, bandages and a surgical bra are all commonly used to support healing after breast reduction surgery.
Breast reduction recovery
Immediately after surgery an intravenous drip may be attached to administer fluids. There will be some unavoidable swelling or bruising, and suitable pain relief medication can be prescribed by Dr Valente.
Bandages can be removed after a couple of days and careful washing of the surgical site can commence. A surgical bra will need to be worn both night and day for around two weeks. This bra can then be replaced by a close fitting sports bra if required. Underwire bras and those with tight, thin straps should be avoided for 3 to 4 months after breast reduction surgery.
Dr Valente is on hand during recovery from surgery. During follow-up appointments your progress is closely monitored and advice given where necessary. Any strenuous exercise or activities that require heavy lifting should be postponed for around one month after surgery.
Commencing work or regular activities should wait until you are entirely comfortable and able to move freely. Breast reduction surgery results take some time to fully manifest although scarring will continue to diminish while your breast shape fully settles. This can take from several months to a year in some cases. Breast reduction surgery is more common than most people realise, as women increasingly aspire to become proportionate, healthy and happy with their appearance.