Reduction of the breast can be one of the most useful plastic surgery procedures available, reshaping and lifting the breast by removal of a proportion of the breast tissue.
Hypertrophy or overgrowth of tissues can create overwhelming fullness of the breast, a troublesome condition adversely affecting various elements of daily life. Symptoms include pain and discomfort of the breast, chest, neck and shoulders, with difficulties in exercise and even basic mobility. Functional problems combine with distress regarding body shape, with embarrassment, loss of confidence and uninvited comments from others.
A variety of reduction techniques have been described. Chosen techniques vary from patient to patient and final operative decisions depend on details such as age, size, skin quality, general health and pregnancy history.
Surgery usually takes two to three hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. Once surgery is completed the area is dressed and supported by a hospital bra, and the patient remains in hospital for one postoperative night. Surgical drains stay in place overnight and are routinely removed the next morning after the ward round and breakfast. Patients can then travel home for a gentle period of recovery. Breast reduction is not a painful procedure, but routine analgesics are prescribed after surgery, preventing discomfort.
Dressing Clinic visits and review take place two or three times over the following weeks, with the wearing of a sports bra recommended night and day for six to eight weeks. Variable bruising and swelling settle as the final shape evolves during the post operative months.
Scars vary in extent and quality, usually fading with time. Periareolar scars are combined with various vertical and transverse scars, depending on size, shape, and nature of the breast tissue and skin condition.
Once all has settled a small number of patients may require minor revision or adjustments. For the majority the functional and aesthetic benefits of breast surgery can be dramatic.