Breast Reduction – Mammaplasty
Overly-large breasts can cause some women to suffer from health and emotional problems, as well as experience physical pain and discomfort. The weight of excess breast tissue can impair a woman’s ability to lead an active life.
Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, removes 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.
Breast reduction surgery is a highly-individualized procedure that may be a good option if you are bothered by large breasts that limit your physical activity and if you experience back, neck and shoulder pain. It is best that breast reduction patients be physically healthy, non-smokers and non-drug users, and have realistic expectations for surgery and potential outcomes.
The Initial Consultation
The success of your breast reduction procedure depends on the quality of your participation in the initial consultation. You will need to be prepared to discuss why you want breast lift surgery, your personal medical history, drug allergies, use of medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and any family history of disease.
Dr. Cohn will perform a physical examination and take detailed measurements of your individual physical attributes, as well as note breast asymmetry that may need to be addressed at the time of your procedure. Photographs will be taken for your medical record. At that point, Dr. Cohn will be prepared to discuss your surgical options, recommend a course of treatment, and discuss the use of anesthesia during your breast reduction. The consultation consists of a thorough discussion to get a sense of what an anticipated final appearance might look like. Dr. Cohn is happy to assist with recommendations while using your personal goals to guide final decision making.
Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery
Before breast reduction surgery, Dr. Cohn will discuss where your procedure will be performed – an accredited, office-based surgical center, outpatient / ambulatory surgical center, or in a hospital. Prior to your surgery, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, receive a prescription for certain medications or adjust your current medications, get a baseline mammogram (before and after surgery), stop smoking, or avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding. Some special instructions you receive will cover what to do on the day of surgery as well as post-operative care and follow-up.
The Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction surgery is usually performed through incisions on your breasts. To facilitate the removal of the excess fat, liposuction may be used in conjunction with traditional excision techniques. If breast size is largely due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be possible.
The technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual anatomy, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and Dr. Cohn’s advice.
- I. The breast reduction surgery begins with anesthesia, where intravenous sedation or general anesthesia will be provided. Dr. Cohn will recommend the best choice for your surgery.
- II. After the anesthesia has taken effect, incisions are made. You and Dr. Cohn will discuss which incision options are appropriate for your desired outcome. Types of incisions include options include:
- a. A keyhole or racquet-shaped pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease.
- b. An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern.
- III. After the incision is made, the nipple-which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply-is then repositioned. The areola is reduced by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary. Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely large pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast (free nipple graft).
- IV. After the reduction surgery is complete, the incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breasts. To further support the newly-shaped breasts, sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue. The incisions are closed with layered sutures, as well as skin adhesive or surgical tape over the skin.
- V. Dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions and an elastic bandage or support garment may be used to minimize swelling. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Potential Risks and Complications
The decision to have breast reduction surgery is extremely personal and not without risk. Dr. Cohn will fully review and explain the risks associated with your surgery. After you fully understand the procedure, you will be asked to sign consent forms.
Note: Breast reduction surgery can occasionally interfere with some diagnostic procedural interpretation, but the procedure does not interfere with the ability to obtain regular mammograms. If you are planning on becoming pregnant following surgery, your breast skin may re-stretch and offset the results of your breast reduction surgery. You may also have an increased risk of incurring difficulty during breastfeeding after a breast reduction operation. Dr. Cohn will discuss these risks with you in further detail at the time of your consultation.
Recovery for Breast Reduction Surgery
Although many factors are involved in your recovery time, you will likely experience an initial post-surgical recovery period of a few days. You may also require a reduced-activity period of a few days. During recovery, you will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Exercise and normal activity can resume at Dr. Cohn’s direction.
Following all of Dr. Cohn’s post-surgery instructions is crucial to the success of your surgery. Surgical incisions should not be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during healing. Dr. Cohn will give you specific instructions on how to care for your incisions following your surgery, which medications to take, how to reduce the risk of infection, and when to make a follow-up appointment.
An elastic bandage or support bra may be worn to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
Birmingham Breast Reduction Costs
Cost may include a surgeon’s fee, hospital or surgical facility costs, anesthesia fees, prescriptions for medications, post-surgery garments, and any associated medical tests.
Breast reduction surgery is considered a reconstructive procedure that is covered by many health insurance plans – when the reduction is performed to relieve medical symptoms.
Some insurers categorize breast reduction surgery as reconstructive surgery based on the amount of tissue that is to be removed.
Cohn Plastic Surgery proudly offers patient financing plans, so be sure to ask if such a plan is of interest to you.
For more information about the breast reduction surgery in Birmingham, we invite you to call us at (205) 930-1600 – Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm – to schedule an appointment. You may also use the Contact Form page to send us a message.