FAQPatient Spotlight reconstructive Mammoplasty Breast Reduction FAQ

Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty) Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am a good candidate for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Women with very large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight - from back and neck pain to skin irritation under the breasts and breathing problems. Bra straps may leave indentations in their shoulders. Also, unusually large breasts can make a woman or a teenage girl feel extremely self-conscious.

Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is designed for such women. The procedure removes fat, glandular breast tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. The surgery can also reduce the size of a large areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body and to improve any symptoms associated with the excessive breast weight.

If you are physically healthy and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate.

What is the length of a typical breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery generally requires 3 to 5 hours to perform.

What type of anesthesia is used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

A general anesthetic is used to perform breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery.

Is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery performed as an outpatient?

Usually breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery requires an overnight stay at the hospital or surgical hospital following the surgery. There is a possibility that smaller breast reduction surgeries could be performed as an outpatient.

Where is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery performed?

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery is performed at a surgical hospital or at a hospital.

Is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery covered by insurance?

Insurance companies may pay for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery if it is medically necessary for the treatment of symptoms caused by the large breasts; however, they will require that a certain amount of breast tissue be removed. You will need to check your insurance policy. A “predetermination letter” and a photograph of the breasts are both required by the insurance company to obtain approval prior to the surgery.

Should insurance approval not be achievable, breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery may still be performed if you choose. Similar to breast lift (mastopexy), the cost of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery ranges from $5,000 to $7,500. Of course, there is no need for breast implants in the case of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery. The cost varies with the complexity and anticipated length of the surgery. An initial consultation is required to determine the exact cost of the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery.

How long will it take to recover from breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Individuals usually return to work within 2 to 3 weeks. Jobs that require significant physical activity may require up to 6 weeks off work.

How long do the results of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) last?

The results are permanent, although the effects of aging and gravity continue to act on the breasts after surgery. Pregnancy and weight fluctuation after the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery can also change the postoperative appearance of the breasts.

Is it possible to breast-feed after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Breast-feeding may not be possible following breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery. If a "free nipple" grafting technique is used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), breast-feeding will not be possible. If an inferior pedicle technique is used, maintaining an attachment of the nipple and areola to some of the breast tissue, the ability to breast-feed might be preserved. Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery is not recommended for women who strongly desire to breast feed in the future.

How will I feel and look immediately following breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Soft drains under the breast tissues are removed one day after surgery before leaving for home. There is temporary soreness, swelling, change in nipple and/or breast skin sensation, and bruising. A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. Your energy level or stamina will be less than normal for a few weeks. A supportive sports bra is worn for 6 weeks following breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery.

Is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) a painful procedure?

There is discomfort for several days following breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery that is controllable with the use of pain medications taken by mouth. Dr. Mayfield also uses the ON-Q pain pump system for postoperative pain relief. ON-Q is a small high-tech balloon that holds local anesthetic (a pain numbing medication) and delivers it through a tiny specially designed tube directly into the surgical incision site. The medication is delivered continuously and slowly for several days after surgery.

What are some of the possible risks of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery?

Potential risks of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery include thick or wide scars, skin loss, bleeding, and infection. The procedure can also leave you with slightly mismatched breasts or unevenly positioned nipples. Future breast-feeding may not be possible. In very rare cases, the nipple and areola may lose their blood supply and be partly or totally lost. (The nipple and areola can be rebuilt, however, using skin grafts from elsewhere on the body.) Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.

Are there scars that result from breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Every effort is taken to make the scars as inconspicuous as possible. Stitches are usually located around the areolae, in a vertical line extending downward from the areolae, and along the lower crease of the breast. The procedure does leave noticeable, permanent scars in these areas, although they will be covered by a bra or bathing suit. The appearance of the scars will continue to improve for 12 to 24 months after surgery. They often remain lumpy and red for a few months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin inconspicuous lines. Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers. A variety of nonsurgical scar reduction techniques are utilized after surgery to improve the final appearance of the scars.

 
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