Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
Women with very large and heavy breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight such as back and neck pain, skin irritation, skeletal deformities, and breathing problems. Bra straps may leave indentations in their shoulders and unusually large breasts can make a woman or a teenage girl feel extremely self-conscious. The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body. Breast reduction is a complex procedure with risks and a possibility of complications associated with the procedure that will be discussed during your consultation. If you’re considering a breast reduction, the information below will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect.
Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by very large, sagging breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort. In most cases, breast reduction isn’t performed until a woman’s breasts are fully developed however, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Breast reduction is not recommended for women who intend to breast-feed.
Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. You’ll be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, your body will look better proportioned and clothes will fit you better. However, as much as you may have desired these changes, you’ll need time to adjust to your new image as will your family and friends. Be patient with yourself, and keep in mind why you had this surgery and chances are that, like most women, you’ll be pleased with the results.
During your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your surgeon and to listen to his or her professional opinion. Every patient has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts. Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. The surgeon will examine and measure your breasts and will probably photograph them for reference. They will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure, such as: your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition and elasticity of your skin. You should discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breasts. Your surgeon should describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks and limitations and making sure you understand the scarring that will result.
Breast Reduction procedures are performed at The Centurion Day Hospital under general anaesthesia. The surgeon will give you instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Some surgeons suggest that their patients lose weight before the procedure. We advise that you need to stop smoking two weeks before surgery and two weeks after surgery. This will help expedite your recovery period and encourage better healing on cellular level and to avoid unforeseen complications. After your consultation, we will provide you with a personalised quotation based on the recommendation of the surgeon involved. While you’re making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.
Breast reduction procedures can take between two and three hours in theatre, depending on the size and weight of each patient. Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. Excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin are removed. The nipple and areola are moved into their new position. The surgeon brings the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the new contour of the breast. The nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves. Sutures are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward and along the lower crease of the breast, and are self-dissolving.
Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts, weight changes and pregnancy. Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that breast reduction scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin lines.
You are likely to feel tired and sore for a few days after surgery but you will be able to mobilise after surgery. Expect to be back at work in about two to three weeks after a breast reduction procedure, depending on the level of activity required. The first follow-up appointment usually takes place seven days after surgery with a second to follow in six weeks. Prescribed medication can control most discomfort. You will be fitted with a surgical bra over dressings that you must wear for six weeks after surgery until the bruising and swelling subsides. Surgical bras are available to purchase at the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic on special request and at additional costs.
A small drain tube will be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids for the next seven days. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for the first few weeks after surgery, but the pain shouldn't be severe. Avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for six weeks. You may feel some pain for the first couple of days especially when you move around or cough. You may be instructed to avoid intercourse for two weeks and to avoid anything but gentle contact with your breasts for six weeks.
A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. Be sure to keep the dressings dry. You may also experience random, shooting pains for a few months. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This usually fades over the next six weeks. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more and occasionally it may be permanent.
Centurion Cosmetic Clinic, understand that getting a plastic surgery procedure is one of your biggest life decisions.
It takes time, planning, and resources. We want you to know that our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons, Dr Paul
Pienaar or Dr Liana Volkwyn and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team are here to help you every step of the way.
FREE PHONE CONSULTATION
Contact us for free phone consultation with one of our knowledgeable surgical consultants who are trained by our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons. They will answer many of your questions, provide you with additional information on procedures of your interest and pro-forma quotations. You can decide if you are ready for your consultation with one of our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons.
Consultation with Dr Paul Pienaar or Dr Liana Volkwyn
Meet your Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon during your one-on-one consultation. During the consultation the surgeon will discuss the procedure, preparations, after care and answer all additional questions. You will be provided with a personalised quotation after your consultation. The consultation fee is R 900.
Preparations & Surgery Day
After you reserve your surgery date, Centurion Cosmetic Clinic will need a 30 % deposit to secure your theatre booking at the Centurion Day Hospital. The surgeon and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed and prepared for your big day. Preparation and After care are very important parts of your plastic surgery journey.
The post-op phase is an important time. The Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed with post-op information and will arrange your first follow up appointment on the day of your surgery. You will have to visit the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic for your first follow up appointment 7 to 10 days after surgery and then again on 6 weeks after surgery. Healing and recovering are of great importance so you can enjoy your amazing results and your improved quality of life that you have envisioned.
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