For women with larger or heavy breasts, a breast reduction surgery is a welcome solution to chronic shoulder and back pain, skin irritation, and even the emotional effects of self-consciousness and low self-esteem. If you struggle with these issues or are simply unhappy with having large breasts, you may be considering a reduction mammaplasty but don’t know what kind of outcome you can expect. Our Raleigh plastic surgeon is providing an in-depth look at what you can expect during and after your breast reduction surgery.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
First, it’s important to determine if this procedure is right for you. Of course, you’ll have a one-on-one consultation with your plastic surgeon, to get personalized information, but some general guidelines include:
- You’re physically healthy and have the right weight;
- The size of your breasts limit physical activity;
- You experience pain in your back, neck, and shoulders due to the size and weight of your breasts;
- You have bra marks on your shoulders:
- The skin under your breasts often becomes irritated or chafed;
- You are self-conscious or unhappy with the size of your breasts;
- You have realistic expectations for how surgery can affect you;
Choosing the Right Size
One of the questions we’re asked most frequently is what cup size a patient will be after the surgery. Choosing the final size is dependent on a combination of what the patient wants the outcome to be and the existing shape and size. Typically, most reductions bring the cup size down one to two sizes, though in cases of extremely large breasts, more drastic results may be achieved.
For example, a woman who is a DD but wants a reduction to reduce discomfort, especially during physical activity and exercise may be able to go down to a B-C cup. However, for a woman whose natural breast size is much larger, reducing the size by four or five cup sizes may not be feasible.
It’s also important to note that cup size is not an accurate measurement as it tends to vary from bra manufacturers. Most plastic surgeons go by centimeters, measuring from the base of the neck, called the sternal notch, to the nipple, then measure from the nipple to the bottom of the breast, called the inframammary fold. These measurements provide a much more accurate look at how much tissue to remove to get the best results for the patient.
Understanding Reduction Mammaplasty
During the procedure, a general anesthetic is typically administered, then incisions are made, usually in a circular pattern around the areola or an incision around the areola and then vertically down to the underside of the breast.
Tissue and excess fat is removed from the breast, and the underlying tissue remaining is repositioned and the remaining skin is tightened, similar to a breast lift. In some cases, liposuction is used to remove fat, and your plastic surgeon will discuss if this is right for you. Additionally, the nipple and areola may be moved to a higher position, depending on how much tissue is removed.
What to Expect After Breast Reduction Surgery
Following the procedure, you will see and feel an immediate difference, though the final results may not be visible for a few weeks to a few months following the procedure. It’s also important to follow your doctor’s recommendations after surgery, including taking a few days off work to recover, getting up and moving around, and avoiding strenuous activity for several weeks.
Some long-term effects, aside from the reduced breast size and reduction in pain and discomfort, are scarring and a decrease in nipple sensation. For the first few weeks, you’ll see that the incision wounds may be swollen and red, but over the next several months, you’ll see a drastic improvement, and often genetics plays a role in how scars heal. While the nipple area may be a bit numb for the immediate time after surgery, some sensation and feeling will return as you heal.
Schedule a Consultation for Breast Reduction Surgery in Raleigh Today
There are many benefits of breast reduction surgery, and it has one of the highest satisfaction rates of any cosmetic procedure. To see if it’s right for you, schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ortiz, at (919) 532-2270 or fill out the form below to get started.