What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery can alleviate the daily neck or back pain, headaches or other problems associated with large breasts by removing fat, glandular tissue and skin while also creating a more proportional body.

Who Is a Good Candidate?
A good candidate for breast reduction is physically healthy, has realistic expectations and has breasts that are fully developed. Some other considerations that may indicate you are a candidate for this cosmetic surgery are:

  • You are bothered by feeling that your breasts are too large.
  • Your breast size limits your physical activity.
  • You have back, neck or shoulder pain.
  • Your bra straps make regular indentations.
  • Your skin beneath the breast crease is irritated.
  • Your breasts hang low and have stretched skin.
  • Your nipples rest below the breast crease when your breasts are unsupported.
  • Your stretched skin has resulted in enlarged areolas.

What to Expect
Your plastic surgeon will make an incision around the areola in a keyhole-shaped pattern and down the breast to the crease, or around the areola in an inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern. While the incision lines that remain after surgery are visible and permanent scars, they are usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra. Your surgeon will discuss which type of incision is most appropriate for you.

After the incision is made, the nipple is repositioned while maintaining the original blood and nerve supply. If a reduction in the size of the areola is needed, it is accomplished by removing skin at the perimeter.

The underlying breast tissue is then reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely large, pendulous breasts, your cosmetic surgeon may need to remove and transplant the nipple and areola to a higher position on the breast. This is known as a free nipple graft.

The incision is then brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breast, while the skin is closed with sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape. After breast reduction, in most cases, the incision lines will fade.

Initially after breast reduction surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra may be worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube (drain) may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid.

Recovery Information
You will be given specific instructions after plastic surgery, including:

  • How to care for your breasts following surgery
  • Medications to apply or take orally
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your cosmetic surgeon

Resources
For more information about this cosmetic procedure, visit The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Find a Doctor
To locate a board-certified cosmetic surgeon affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth, search the online physician database or call 678-312-5000.

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Cosmetic Surgery Special