Breast Reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure in which fat, glandular tissue and skin are removed from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. The breast tissue is also reshaped, and the nipple areola complex is reduced, if desired.
The goal is to give you smaller, better-shaped breasts that are in proportion with the rest of your body. If you have very large, pendulous breasts, you may experience a variety of medical problems caused by their excessive weight and size, such as:
- Back and neck pain.
- Breast pain or heaviness.
- Changes in posture.
- Shoulder “grooving” secondary to your bra straps.
- Skin rashes on the under-surface of your breasts.
- Interference with exercise and other activities.
- Difficulty finding clothing that fits properly.
The scars from a breast reduction may be a welcome alternative to the physical and emotional pain of having very large breasts. Over many years, the skeletal changes caused by heavy breasts can lead to restrictions in flexibility and mobility. The changes brought about by a breast reduction are among the most helpful and dramatic in the entire field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Dr. Kevin Tehrani is an expert breast surgeon who has performed hundreds of successful breast reduction surgeries.
Who is a Candidate for Breast Reduction?
Candidates include women who are troubled by very large, sagging breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort. A breast reduction can be performed for cosmetic improvement, as well as symptomatic relief.
In younger patients, the breast reduction surgery is performed after a young woman’s breasts are fully developed, usually no sooner than age 17 or 18. Rarely, the surgery may be performed at an earlier age if the patient is suffering emotionally, as well as physically, from the large size of her developing breasts. In adulthood, the surgery can be performed at any age.
The Breast Reduction Procedure
This procedure is usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Incisions vary depending on the technique used. Scars are inevitable, but they fade and soften over the course of the year following surgery.
In all cases, Dr. Tehrani removes the necessary amount of fat, skin, and glandular breast tissue in order to contour your breasts in the size you requested. Sometimes, the areolas need to be resized and reshaped in order to match the size of your reduced breasts. This results in smaller, lifted breasts that no longer put strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Vertical (Lollipop) vs Wise Pattern (Anchor) Breast Reduction
The wise pattern or anchor technique is the traditional incision pattern used in breast reductions. One incision is made around the areola, another vertically down the center, and a third underneath the crease of the breast. This method is usually required for larger breasts, and it helps to maintain blood supply to the nipple areolar complex – an important consideration in a successful breast reduction.
In some cases, however, the vertical reduction or “lollipop” technique might be possible. It’s so called because the scar resembles the shape of a lollipop. The incisions are made around the areola and in a fine vertical line from the areola to the crease. No incision is made underneath the breast crease.
This method removes the sagging part of the breast and reshapes the breast so that it is fuller at the cleavage. For those requiring large amounts of tissue removal, the wise pattern will probably be necessary.
With one less incision, the lollipop pattern is less invasive and may shorten your recovery period. Dr. Tehrani will advise if you’re a good candidate for this type of breast reduction.
Ultrasonic Liposuction Breast Reduction
If your breasts do not need to be reshaped and if the reduction you want is minimal, you might be a candidate for a less invasive ultrasonic liposuction breast reduction. In this case, a cannula is inserted, and ultrasound energy is used to liquefy the excess fatty tissue, thereby reducing the breasts. The shape of the breasts remains the same.
Since the tissue is not excised, recovery is faster after this technique. Ultrasonic liposuction will not create satisfactory results for all patients, however. Dr. Tehrani will let you know during your consultation and examination if you are a good candidate for this technique.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
You should be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks and resume exercise in about a month. Some bruising, soreness, and swelling are inevitable after surgery, but these symptoms will subside within a few weeks. You can take pain medication, if necessary, to ease any discomfort.
We may fit you with a compression bra for a few weeks in order to speed healing and prevent swelling.