For patients with large breasts that cause neck, shoulder, and back pain, a breast reduction surgery will not only relieve daily aches, but result in perkier breasts as well. During a breast reduction areola shape and size can also be addressed.see all Breasts procedures
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Over time, large breasts can cause painful neck, shoulder, and back aches. Larger breasts can also prematurely sag due to the extra tissue pulling the breasts and nipples downwards. It is common for a breast reduction procedure to incorporate a breast lift to adjust the position of the breasts as well as an implant to improve breast shape and volume. A surgical breast reduction can help patients who desire a more dramatic reduction. For minor sagging, patients may be better suited for the less invasive radiofrequency assisted breast lift. A breast reduction surgery utilizes the same incisions as a breast lift but focuses on removing excess breast tissue. There are 3 methods of incision: peri-areolar, vertical, or inverted T. Incision method will be chosen based on the needs of the patient. For individuals who require mild reduction and lifting, the peri-areolar or “donut” lift is ideal. A circular incision will be made around the areola with a bigger concentric circle made around the breast. The apex of the second circle will indicate the new location of the nipple. The skin between the two circles will be removed as well as excess breast tissue. Once the incision is closed, the patient will have smaller, perkier breasts as well as a reduced areola size and a hidden scar within the boarder of the areola. The vertical, or “lollipop”, incision is a well known technique used to correct more moderate sagging and breast shape concerns. The lollipop incision combines the peri-areolar incision with an additional incision that runs from the bottom of the areola to the breast fold. Once the skin is removed, the shape resembles that of a keyhole. Breast tissue will be removed and once the incisions are closed, the resulting lollipop shape is visible. For patients who need a reduction but also have severely sagging breasts, the inverted T or “anchor” incision may provide the best results. The anchor method has the same incisions as the lollipop technique but has an additional horizontal incision that runs along the breast fold. The anchor shaped scar is visible once the breast tissue is removed the incisions are closed. Typically, the nipple will not be removed and grafted during a breast reduction surgery unless the patient has extremely large and pendulous breasts. While it is more difficult to conceal the scars from a breast reduction surgery, following proper aftercare will help to improve and fade scars over time.
The goal of a breast reduction is to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.
What to Expect
For patients with large breasts that cause neck, shoulder, and back pain, a breast reduction surgery will not only relieve daily aches, but result in perkier breasts as well. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a surgical breast lift.
- Stop taking blood thinning medications 2 weeks before
- Stop smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery
- No alcohol 1 week prior
- Stop applying all self-tanning products
During Treatment: Peri-Areolar Incision
- Circular incision around the entire edge of the areola
- Excess skin and tissue removed in shape of a donut
- Creates a mild lift while also decreasing areola size
Recovery from a breast reduction surgery can vary depending on the extent of the procedure. Typically, most patients are able to recover within 2-6 weeks. Most patients will need to take 1-2 weeks off of work depending on the physical demands of their position. Final results are visible after several weeks or months, once swelling has subsided.
The ideal candidate for breast reduction is looking to address issues such as breasts that limit physical activity, pain especially in the back, neck and shoulder caused by the weight of your breasts, skin irritation beneath the breast crease, or is bothered by feeling that your breasts are too large.
Not Recommended For
Breast lift surgery is not recommended for patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under the age of 18.
Side effects of a breast reduction can include unfavorable scarring, changes in nipple or breast sensation, breast contour irregularities, skin discoloration, swelling and bruising, asymmetry, excessive firmness, potential inability to breastfeed, and fat necrosis. Other potential side effects include loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other, potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola, and possibility of revision surgery.