What is breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that removes some of your breast tissue. This will leave you with smaller, lighter, more comfortable and proportional breasts.
You might be considering breast reduction if large breasts are causing physical or psychological discomfort.
Who is it for?
The reasons for thinking about breast reduction surgery are entirely personal. Some of them may include:
- That you’re experiencing neck, shoulder or back pain due to the weight of large breasts.
- Your bra straps are digging in and causing pain.
- There are recurrent rashes appearing under your breasts due to their ‘droop’.
- Exercising comfortably is difficult; you’re definitely not signing up for a marathon!
- Large breasts are causing you embarrassment as well as difficulties in finding bras or clothes that fit comfortably.
To gain the best outcome from breast reduction surgery it is best that you:
- Are sure that your breasts have finished developing.
- Are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Don’t smoke or have recently quit (smoking impacts recovery from this procedure).
What happens during breast reduction?
The first step is to make an appointment to see Dr McMillan.
You will meet Dr McMillan at his private rooms in Fernbrae House, Dunedin or in Invercargill to discuss your personal goals in relation to breast reduction surgery, and talk though the different options. This is an important step; not only outlining your expectations but also developing your relationship with Dr McMillan as you work together to achieve your goals.
Breast reduction surgery can be performed at the same time as other cosmetic procedures such as breast lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Discuss these options with Dr McMillan at the time of your consultation to decide if this is right for you.
Once you have decided on what needs to be done, a date will be booked for you at Mercy Hospital, Dunedin to have your breast reduction surgery.
The procedure will involve having a general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep a surgical cut will be made around your areola (nipple region) to try and ensure this area maintains sensitivity. This cut then goes vertically down the breast and underneath, following the curve of the breast.
Next steps in the breast reduction surgery is to remove excess tissue, fat and skin before reshaping the now reduced breast around the areola, which is moved into a new, higher position.
Stitches are placed along the cut lines, and around the areola to bring the breast into its new shape.
Liposuction may be used at this point in the armpit to remove any excess fat there.
You will have small drains placed under each breast to remove any excess fluid over your hospital stay. Your new breasts will be dressed in gauze and supported with a surgical bra/bandage.
The length of stay in hospital after breast reduction surgery will depend very much on your own operation, but is usually 2-3 days.
The drains and bandages will be removed prior to you leaving hospital, but the surgical bra will be your friend for about 2 weeks after surgery while swelling and bruising goes down.
Although movement will be essential during your recovery, there will be a limit to your bending, lifting and exercise for the first few weeks. Depending on the type of work you do you may need between 2-4 weeks time off for recovery.
As the surgery site begins to heal your ability to move and exercise will increase, and at 4 weeks it is expected you will be back to normal, although marathons might need to wait a bit longer.
Breast reduction surgery gives you an almost immediate idea of what your breasts are going to look like, as the excess tissue is noticeably gone as soon as you wake up from surgery.
However, it is expected that around 6 weeks after surgery, when most of the swelling will have gone down that you will have a really good idea of what your new smaller breasts will look like. This will also be the time that you will be able to start wearing underwire bras. Planning a lingerie shop for around this time is not a bad idea!
You will have some scars from this procedure on both your breasts. They will fade over time and at 6 months after breast reduction surgery the final results will be clear.
Risks and complications
As with all surgical procedures there are risks and potential complications with the breast reduction procedure.
Dr McMillan will discuss all of these with you during your consultation and answer your questions.
Cost of breast reduction surgery
As breast reduction surgery is not funded there is a cost. The exact figure will depend on a range of factors but generally the cost is around $18,000 including anaesthetic and Hospital costs. Generally insurance companies will make a contribution to costs for breast reduction performed for medical reasons.
Start the journey to the new you; get in contact to make an initial consultation with Dr McMillan about breast reduction surgery.