The aim of breast reduction surgery is to remove excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to create a more proportioned look. Large breasts can cause neck and back pain while making exercise a massive challenge. Not to mention how it can impact your comfort while you sleep. Breast reduction is major surgery. When your breasts feel too big for your body, you can feel out of balance, and it can be hard to find clothes that fit. A reduction in breast size can improve confidence, decrease physical discomfort, and boost emotional wellbeing.
What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is also known as reduction mammaplasty. If you feel out of proportion, the idea of getting your breast size reduced has probably popped into your mind. Maybe you struggle to exercise comfortably, find clothes that fit, experience pain, or feel self-conscious about the size of your breasts. Whatever the reason, a breast reduction can help you look more in proportion and alleviate neck and back pain.
During the operation, your surgeon will remove extra fat, skin, and tissue from the breasts. The nipples are then lifted, and the breast is reshaped into a smaller size. There are different ways you can perform breast reductions. Depending on the method you use, the scar may be in a slightly different place. No matter which surgery works best for you, you can rest assured that the scarring won’t be visible in bikini tops, bras, or your everyday clothes.
Breast Reduction: Quick Overview
What Happens During Breast Reduction Surgery?
In breast reduction surgery, your nipple will be lifted into a new position. Then, extra skin and breast tissue are then cut away. The remaining skin and tissue are reshaped into smaller breasts. Drains are used during your breast reduction surgery to drain excess fluids. They will then be removed before you leave the hospital.
There are different types of breast reductions, which create various scars on the breasts. Whichever type you choose, your scars shouldn’t be visible when wearing regular clothes, tops, bikinis, and bras.
What are the Different Types of Breast Reduction Techniques?
Breast reduction is performed under general anaesthetic. In general, it can take between 1.5 to 3 hours to complete. There are several different procedures for breast reduction surgery. Your surgeon will discuss these with you, and together you make the best decision for your unique case.
Vertical Scar Reduction
The vertical scar reduction procedure is suitable for moderate breast reductions and sagging. It may not be suitable for very large breasts. Your surgeon will cut around the areola and down to the crease beneath the breasts. They will remove excess fat and tissue before reshaping and lifting the breast. There is no incision underneath the breasts.
A circumareolar reduction works well for a slight reduction when just a small amount of tissue needs to be removed. The only scar you will have is around the areola. This is a good option for matching breasts when one breast is smaller than the other.
This type of breast reduction is best suited for large breasts with considerable sagging. The wise pattern reduction is also known as the anchor pattern, T-incision, T-scar, or inverted T-pattern. Your surgeon will make an incision around the areola, down to the centre of the breasts, and horizontally along the seam of the breast where it meets the abdomen. This technique is the oldest and causes the most scarring.
Breast Excess Amputation and Free Nipple Graft
Gigantomastia is a rare condition that causes excessive growth of female breasts. Traditionally, this condition is approached with breast excess amputation and free nipple graft. The procedure involves removing the excess breast tissue.
Sometimes, with more extensive surgeries, it’s impossible to achieve a smaller breast size without a nipple graft. This is why a free nipple graft is offered within this type of surgery. With a nipple graft, your nipple is removed, and breast reshaped. Then, a replacement nipple is positioned on the newly resized breast.
Another way to achieve a breast reduction is through liposuction. During the procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions. Then, using small tubes, they will suck out fat and fluids. This procedure is most suited for small breast reductions in a person with good elasticity.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery?
By removing excess fat, skin, and breast tissue, your breast size will decrease. Benefits of breast reduction surgery include:
- Breasts in proportion with the rest of your body
- Alleviate physical discomfort caused by overly large breasts
- Promote a positive self-image and self-confidence
- Clothes fit better
- More youthful appearance
- Increase ability to exercise comfortably
What Happens During Your Breast Reduction Surgery Consultation?
At Harley Clinic, we conduct a thorough assessment to develop a bespoke treatment and recovery plan. This includes a complete exam and analysis. Your doctor will formulate a treatment plan and talk you through the entire process, risks, and potential side effects. It’s your surgeon’s job to answer all of your questions so that you feel completely ready for your surgery and recovery journey.
After the surgery, you will wake up with bandaging. You will be observed for a few hours and given instructions on how to change your bandages. You will need to rest for two weeks. It’s normal to experience soreness, swelling, and tenderness in the first few days.
In about ten days following your surgery, your stitches will be removed. After approximately one month, you will start to feel like yourself again as your body heals. It’s important to remember that you are still recovering in the first few months. You will feel better and stronger each day. At 6-8 months, the breasts will fully settle, and your scars will begin to lighten.
Large breasts can cause back, and neck pain and make it difficult to find clothes that really fit. Breast reduction surgery can reduce the size, increase confidence, and alleviate pain associated with large breasts.
What Will Your Scars Look Like Following Breast Reduction Surgery?
After your surgery, you will have scarring that looks like a thin raised line on your breast. It will start off red or pink, then fade to white over time. Different techniques for breast reduction surgery can create slightly different scar placements. The scar will depend on the type of technique your surgeon uses.
Most commonly, you can expect to have a scar around your nipple. Although scars never fully go away, with the right care and time, they will fade. Here is what scarring you can expect from the different types of breast reduction procedures:
- Wise pattern – a scar around your nipple, breast fold, and a vertical scar.
- Vertical scar – this technique removes the need for the breast fold scar; you will have a vertical scar and scar around the nipple.
- Circumareolar – a scar around the nipple.
- Liposuction only – you will have minor scars under the arm
How Many Sizes Can You Go Down With Breast Reduction Surgery?
One of the most common questions we hear from patients is how many cup sizes can you go down?
Several factors play a part in how many sizes you can go down. This includes how much volume you have to lose, the shape of your breasts and the technique your plastic surgeon uses. In general, you can expect to lose one or two cup sizes.
The main reason that very large breasts can’t go down to an A or B cup is the blood supply around the nipple during surgery. If you remove too much from the breast, it could result in nipple or tissue death. The size you can go down is unique to each person, based on the amount of tissue you have. During your consultation, we will talk about everything you need to know and give you a realistic idea of what you can expect to lose.
Is a Breast Reduction Permanent?
Yes, the results from breast reduction surgery are permanent. The excess fat, tissue, and skin are removed. But, some women do find that their breasts get larger at menopause due to hormonal changes. Also, if you gain weight, you may notice an increase in breast size.
Who is the Right Candidate for a Breast Reduction?
The ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery is bothered by overly large breasts, is a non-smoker and has realistic expectations. They feel like their breasts are out of proportion with the rest of the body. A breast reduction is a procedure that can relieve the physical symptoms associated with overly large breasts like back and neck pain.
A good candidate for surgery is physically healthy but has large breasts. They may experience the following:
- Neck and back pain from large breasts
- Difficulty finding clothes and bras that fit
- Under breast rash and chafing
- Shortness of breath when lying down
- Difficult exercising due to large breasts
How Can You Prepare for Your Breast Reduction Surgery?
Before your surgery, you will need to stop smoking and avoid certain medications. It’s a good idea to lose weight first as you need to be at a stable and healthy weight before your surgery.
If you are over the age of 40, you will need to get a mammogram before surgery. Anyone under 40 doesn’t need to get a mammogram unless there is a family history of breast cancer or other cancers.
4 Things to Know Before Breast Reduction Surgery
1. You Will Need Some Downtime
The surgery itself lasts a few hours, and typically patients go home the same day or the next morning, at the latest. You will probably feel tired and sore after the surgery. Although it’s a good idea to get up and move around regularly, you will need a few days off work to recover.
2. Be Realistic About Your Results
A good plastic surgeon will set a realistic expectation of what you can expect. Because the size you can go down to depends on your current size, composition, and goals, your plastic surgeon will determine the best plan for you. It’s unlikely that you will go from a G to an A cup.
3. Your Breasts Will be Lifted Too
During breast reduction surgery, your plastic surgeon will remove excess skin, fat and tissue. As the nipple is repositioned to a higher point, naturally, your breasts will look lifted too. If you’re worried about sagging and size, you can see why a breast reduction is a popular option.
4. You Should be Fit and Healthy
Patients who are physically fit and healthy tend to recover more quickly from plastic surgery. Operating on patients who are overweight with a BMI of over 30 can carry a serious risk. Being relatively fit and healthy puts you in a good position for recovery before the surgery.
Is Breast Reduction Surgery Painful?
Typically, patients experience the most intense pain the first few days after surgery. You will have some soreness for 2 to 3 weeks. You may need some pain medication for the first 1 to 2 weeks. But you should start to feel stronger each day. Although most of the swelling goes down in about 3 weeks, it will take up to months for your breast to return to normal.
Can You Breastfeed After Breast Reduction Surgery?
Most patients can breastfeed after breast reduction surgery if they have already breastfed previously. However, there is a high chance of not breastfeeding after the procedure if you have never breastfed.
Is There an Alternative Procedure to Breast Reduction Surgery?
Yes, one option is to achieve a breast reduction through liposuction. This procedure only works for a modest cup reduction between 1-1 ½ cup sizes. It is not suitable for moderate breast reductions with good skin elasticity.
Before and After Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast Reduction Patients Reviews at the Harley Clinic, London
What are the Potential Risks and Complications of Breast Reduction Surgery?
Potential risks and complications of breast reduction surgery include but are not limited to:
- Anaesthesia risks
- Skin and or fat/necrosis
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Poor scarring
- Nerve injury
- Contour irregularity
- Over/under correction
- Damage to other structures
- Chest infection
- Breastfeeding complications
- Partial or total loss of nipple
For some people, large breasts can really impact your quality of life. Strenuous exercise and activities can prove difficult, and this may affect both your physical and mental health. Women with large breasts often experience headaches and back pain. If you’re looking to reduce your breasts’ size and boost your confidence, breast reduction surgery may be the right solution for you.
Further Breast Reduction Reading:
- Is Breast Reduction Surgery Right for You?
- Breast Reduction Surgery: Procedure & Recovery Time
- Breast Augmentation: Implants vs Fat Transfer
- Can You Breastfeed After Breast Surgeries?
- Aftercare: 11 Simple Recovery From Breast Reduction Tips
- Breast Reduction Scars: Before and After
- Breast Reduction Recovery Week by Week: What to Expect
- What to Wear After Breast Reduction Surgery
- 6 Signs of Infection After Breast Surgery