Breast Reduction, or Reduction Mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure performed by Plastic Surgeons to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to reduce volume, reshape and reproportion the overly large breast. In a large majority of women who present for Breast Reduction surgery, they are often afflicted with symptoms of pain and/or discomfort in the neck, back, shoulders along with other conditions such as recurring rashes under the breast, especially in the summer months. Sometimes, even neurological signs can appear causing pain or reduced sensation in the arms and hands. Aside from the somatic complaints, emotional problems including self-image issues and body-consciousness dissatisfaction can occur reducing one’s quality of life.
For these and many more reasons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons along with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recognize Mammary Hypertrophy or disproportionately large breasts to be a medical condition worthy of “reconstructive” classification and do not consider this issue to be “cosmetic”. Some medical insurance companies are also in agreement with this clinical distinction, and as such may help cover some, or all of the costs of the procedure. Each case is different and pre-authorization in required by your individual Insurance carriers prior to proceeding with the surgery. Some, if not all carriers will require a minimum amount of reduction prior to assisting with covering costs – please contact your individual carrier for details of coverage.
Prior to undergoing the breast reduction procedure, all patients must be evaluated for applicability by undergoing a formal consultation with your Plastic Surgeon. At this time, measurements will be taken along with photographs for documentation. The patients will discuss the issues they are having with their current breast size and discuss their wishes and desires for a new, smaller size. Incision options, scars, risks and complications related to the procedure will be reviewed along with certain pre- and post-operative restrictions including, but not limited to, discontinuation of all medications such as blood thinners, nicotine products, and those that interfere with anesthesia. Discussions surrounding post operative restrictions in activities will be reviewed as well as timetables for resumption of normal daily activities.
Prior to undergoing Breast Reduction surgery, all patients must undergo a thorough History & Physical exam by an Internist or Family Practitioner including an EKG, Letter of Clearance and labwork. Other identified conditions during this exam may require follow-up with specialists prior to surgical clearance.
Once cleared for surgery, each patient will review and sign an Informed Consent which outlines all of the risks and complications in general with surgery and more specifically related to the Breast Reduction surgery.
Breast Reduction surgery is performed under General Anesthesia. Today, it is usually performed as an outpatient procedure with the patient returning home, or to an aftercare facility for the night. Each patient is evaluated individually prior to the surgery for the need for aftercare monitoring by a Registered Nurse. In most cases, drains will be required for the first few days to help improve recovery and reduce bruising. These will be removed without the need of anesthesia on the appropriate post-operative day. Dressings will be removed the day following surgery and resumption of showering/bathing often occurs 24-48 hours after drain removal.
Most sutures used will be buried and will dissolve by themselves over time. Some external sutures will require removal at 10 days to 2 weeks following the procedure.
Resumption of full exercise will be restricted in most cases for 4-6 weeks following surgery to allow time for the breasts to heal.
All patients are followed closely for the first year with scheduled visits.
Most patients undergoing Breast Reduction Surgery find this a very rewarding procedure with great benefit to their lifestyle needs and perception of self image.