What is a breast reduction?
A breast reduction removes excess fat, tissue, and skin to give you more proportionate breasts or to alleviate discomfort from large breasts. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision based on your desired outcome. Then they can remove tissue and reposition the nipple before closing the incision.
Disproportionately large breasts (macromastia) can take a toll on you physically and emotionally. They can limit your ability to perform physical activities, whether or not the symptoms cause pain. Additionally, a macromastia can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
If you want to learn more about a breast reduction—or schedule a consultation with a breast reduction surgeon in the Lehigh Valley—then contact St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Breast reduction candidates include adults with the following characteristics:
- Disproportionately large breasts
- Limited physical activity due to breast size
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain caused by breast size
- Chronic rash or skin irritation under their breasts
- Inverted nipples
A breast reduction is highly customizable–so you can have a size you’re comfortable with. Additionally, the procedure can be performed at any age.
Schedule a consultation with a St. Luke’s breast reduction surgeon in the Lehigh Valley to determine if a breast reduction is right for you.
Getting a breast reduction can positively impact your wellbeing and self-confidence. The following list includes some of the most commonly reported benefits:
- Smaller, more proportionate breasts (reduced areola or reduced nipple size)
- Corrected nipple shape (for inverted nipples)
- Alleviated back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Better-fitting clothes
- Improved hygiene
- Increased mobility
Women who have the surgery later in life often report being so happy with their results that they wish they had a reduction earlier. A breast reduction can dramatically improve your body image and give you a more youthful appearance.
As with all surgeries, a breast reduction has risks. Some of them include the following:
- Breast asymmetry
- Change in sensation
- Excessive firmness
- Fluid accumulation
- Trouble breastfeeding
- Uneven breasts
Your surgeon will review a complete list of risks before getting your consent.
Before the procedure
In the time leading up to your breast reduction at St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, you can take steps to make your procedure as safe as possible. These include discussing the following topics at your surgical consultation:
- Goals and expectations
- Surgical options
As part of your consultation, your surgeon will also do a complete evaluation—which may include the following items:
- Ordering lab work
- Taking “before” photos for comparison
- Assessing medical conditions, allergies, and medical limitations
- Reviewing medications, supplements, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
A week before the procedure, you can prepare at home in the following ways:
- Filling outstanding prescriptions
- Purchasing any medical supplies as needed
- Coordinating transportation and meals as needed
- Staying hydrated
You should arrive early on the day of your procedure to avoid travel delays.
During the procedure
Breast liposuctionWith breast liposuction, a surgeon will remove excess fat in the breast to maintain the shape of the breast and the position of the nipple. This procedure is relatively quick and minimally invasive—so there’s less scarring and a shorter recovery time. However, a liposuction breast reduction doesn’t address sagging breasts.
Lollipop breast reductionWith a lollipop breast reduction, a surgeon will make two incisions: one around the areola and the other from the bottom of the areola to the bottom of the breast. Then, breast tissue is removed—which allows for a nipple reduction or areola reduction. This procedure has more scarring than liposuction, but the scarring is not in easily visible areas.
Inverted T breast reductionWith an inverted T breast reduction, your surgeon will make incisions similar to those used for a lollipop breast reduction—but there will be an additional one placed horizontally below the breast. This procedure is used for women who need a more considerable amount of tissue removed.
After the procedure
You’ll experience swelling after your procedure, but your new breast size–including shape and proportion–should immediately help with the pain and physical limitations you experienced prior. While your breasts can change due to aging and other factors, a breast reduction is permanent. And your incisions will fade over time. Most women feel more attractive after this procedure and are happy with their results.
Your St. Luke’s plastic surgeon will customize your procedure based on your desired treatment results. The typical recovery milestones include the following:
- First several days after surgery: You’ll go home with the caregiver. You’ll likely experience pain, bruising, and swelling as the incisions heal. Drainage tubes may be placed to help reduce swelling and remove excess fluid. However, your surgeon will remove the tubes within several days. Additionally, your breasts will be bandaged and supported by a special bra to keep the healing tissue in place. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to ease the discomfort during this time.
- Five to ten days after surgery: You’ll have your stitches removed, and swelling should continue to decrease. Pain, bruising, and swelling may continue—but this is part of the body’s natural healing process.
- Two weeks after surgery: You should have recovered enough to resume normal activities, but you should still avoid strenuous activity. You’ll still have pain, bruising, and swelling–but it should be subsiding. Note that you may need to take off work for at least one week (or more, depending on your healing time).
- Several weeks to several months after surgery: Your swelling should continue to decrease–but it may take up to a year to see the full results of your breast reduction. You may experience numbness or altered breast sensations, which are usually temporary.