Breast Reduction

Overview

Some women suffer from having developed very large breasts from an early age. Often this runs in the family but sometimes significant breast enlargement can also occur following pregnancies. Women with large breasts can suffer from a range of debilitating physical symptoms such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, a feeling of heaviness in the breasts, indentation marks on the skin of the shoulder region where bra straps have dug in, restriction in physical exercise, infections and rashes occurring under both breasts, as well as pschycosocial symptoms arising from an unnatural disproportion between breast size and the rest of the body habitus leading to low self esteem, embarrassment in relationships, difficulty finding clothes to fit and lack of confidence.

A breast reduction is an operation performed to reduce the size of one or both breasts. It is performed under a general anaesthetic and the operation takes 2-3 hours and requires a hospital stay of 2-3 days. There are different technical ways the operation can be carried out depending on a number of individual factors, and this determines the extent and location of the resultant scars on the breast. Broadly speaking, in all breast reduction operations, cuts are made on the under surface of the breast and excess skin and breast tissue is excised together with a reduction in the diameter of the areola (the pink/brown part of the nipple complex) if this is too large. The nipple is moved to a higher, more youthful position and the wounds are stitched with dissolving sutures, and covered with light dressings. The resultant scars are shaped like an inverted "T" shape and include a circular scar around the nipple/areoalar complex, a vertical scar passing from the nipple to underneath the breast, which joins a long curved scar passing in the breast fold. In some individuals, it is possible to perform the surgery without the scar in the breast fold, leaving only a circular scar around the nipple and a vertical scar.

This is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures and has high patient satisfaction and low complication rate.

Frequently asked questions

Am I suitable for a breast reduction?

What are the benefits of a breast reduction?

Where are the scars?

Is the procedure painful?

How long does it take to recover from the surgery?

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

Will I be told the risks and complications?

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Am I suitable for a breast reduction?

Not everyone is suitable for a breast reduction. Suitability is a matter for you and Mr Johnson to discuss in clinic, following a thorough analysis of your medical history and a thorough clinical consultation.

What are the benefits of a breast reduction?

The surgery visually improves the contour and shape of the breast and places the nipple in a more youthful position leaving the final size and shape of the breast more in keeping with the rest of the body frame. The operation reduces the sensation of heaviness in the breasts and it often improves symptoms of neck and shoulder pain but this is not guaranteed. The operation is very successful at increasing patient confidence and improving self esteem. Patients who have had a breast reduction enjoy participating in sport and being able to wear clothes and swimwear that they would have previously been too embarrassed to wear.

Where are the scars?

There will be a circular scar around the nipple/areolar complex and a vertical scar passing from the nipple scar down to the breast fold. Depending on which technique of breast reduction you are suitable for, these will either be the only scars or else you will have an additional curved scar along the breast fold. All scars are designed to be hidden under the average bra or bikini top. During your consultation, Mr Johnson will discuss with you whether you are suitable for the longer scar technique or the shorter vertical scar technique.

Is the procedure painful?

During the operation strong painkillers are administered so that when patients wake up from the surgery they will be comfortable. It is normal for patients to experience some discomfort from the scar line and for the first day or two postoperatively, strong painkillers can be administered intravenously if required. On discharge from hospital, any discomfort from the wounds can usually be managed with simple tablet type painkillers such as paracetamol etc.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

Following surgery, you should wear a firm sports bra for six weeks. For the first two weeks postoperatively, you should not lift anything heavier than a kettle. It is normal to feel lethargic and tired for the first 2 weeks following surgery. Depending on your job you can usually return to work for light duties after 2-3 weeks. A gradual increase in light exercise is encouraged after your first wound check following discharge from hospital, but no sport, strenuous exercises or weight lifting should be undertaken until six weeks following surgery or until you are seen by Mr Johnson for review.

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

The visual improvement in breast contour will be immediately apparent following a breast reduction. However, there may be some bruising and swelling which may last several weeks. The scars will undergo a natural maturation process involving a series of colour and texture changes over a period usually varying from 6 months to 2 years. The breast shape will change a little over the next 12 months and the final result can usually be judged at around 1 year following surgery. The results of a breast reduction are long lasting provided your operation is done at an age when your breasts have stopped growing. Large fluctuations in weight and further pregnancies can lead to a change is breast size and shape, and the normal age related effects on skin laxity can lead to a development of loose skin and a drooping of the breast tissue.

Will I be told the risks and complications?

Complications are uncommon following breast reduction surgery. During your initial consultation Mr Johnson will have a full discussion with you about the risks and complications of surgery. You will be given an information leaflet about breast reduction surgery which includes complications and if you decide to go ahead with surgery, these risks will again be discussed as part of the consenting process. Fortunately, with correct patient selection and appropriate procedure selection, the risks are kept to an absolute minimum. It is important that you should be reassured that Mr Johnson will not agree to perform any cosmetic procedure on you unless he feels the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Mr Johnson will come and see you on the ward after your surgery and will review you everyday throughout your hospital stay. After you have been discharged Mr Johnson will arrange to see you in clinic after 7-10 days to review the wound. He will then make arrangements to see you in clinic for longer term follow-up appointments. You will be given contact details for the hospital and Mr Johnson's secretary should you wish at any time to discuss further aspects of your care or make additional arrangements for review.


Home| About Mr Johnson| Surgical procedures| Cosmetic surgery| Non-surgical procedures| Consultations and fees| Contact| Useful Links| Site map|

Text © David Johnson :: site design by oxogen

plastic, reconstructive, craniofacial & cosmetic surgery in oxford

you are here: Cosmetic surgery » Breast surgery » Breast reduction  

\n"); // this trick allows a return to the top level from two levels down } else { $endul = ($level < $levelwas ? "\n\n" : ""); // if current < previous, we've moved up a level so finish this sub list before writing the next list item $spawn = ($has_child == 1 ? "\n