Breast Reduction: Keeping Your Body in Proportion
Many women long for larger breasts, seeking augmentation to restore the fullness they once enjoyed. Others find that pregnancy, changes in weight, or simple genetics have blessed them with far more than they want. The extra breast tissue weighs heavily and can cause neck and back problems. Feelings of self-consciousness can develop when the breasts get too large. For those who suffer from overly large breasts, breast reductions, also known as reduction mammaplasty, can restore lighter, smaller breasts and a better balance to your overall figure.
What is a breast reduction?
A breast reduction is the removal of excess breast fat and glandular tissue and any extra skin that may be allowing the breasts to sag and droop. If your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body, a breast reduction can make the dimensions of your chest and body match. Reducing the size of your breasts will also reduce the weight your back has to support, alleviating the neck and back pain being caused by them.
Who should consider a breast reduction?
A breast reduction is ideal to treat those who
- Are healthy.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Are bothered by their breast size.
- Are hindered from participating in activities due to their breast size.
- Are experiencing neck, back, and shoulder pain due to the weight of their breasts.
- Have indents on their shoulders from their bra straps.
- Have skin irritation in the breast crease.
- Are experiencing physical, emotional, or mental problems because of overly large breasts.
Are there any risks?
As with any major surgery, risks are involved. For the best possible outcome, you want to wait to have a breast reduction performed until after your breasts are fully formed. The procedure will leave permanent scars that will fade over time. Other possible side effects are
- Reduced sensation on the nipple and areola that may be temporary or permanent.
- Some skin discoloration or pigment change.
- An inability to breastfeed.
Dr. Tolson will go over all the risks and benefits before you have the surgery, allowing you to make an informed decision.
What is involved in a breast reduction?
In order to make an informed decision about whether breast reduction is right for you, you will need to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Tolson. He will discuss the following with you:
- Your expectations, reasons for the surgery, and the probable outcome.
- Any medical conditions, drug allergies, and current medical treatments you are undergoing.
- Medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are taking.
- Your medical history.
- Previous cosmetic surgeries and their outcomes.
- Your family’s history of breast cancer.
- Results from your current mammogram and biopsies.
Once you have thoroughly discussed your medical history with Dr. Tolson, he will
- Evaluate your overall health.
- Examine your breasts.
- Measure the shape and size of your breasts.
- Evaluate your skin quality and elasticity.
- Check the placement of the areola and nipple.
- Discuss your options with you.
- Discuss the probable outcomes of the surgery.
Once the consultation is complete, you’ll need to begin to make the arrangements for the procedure. Dr. Tolson will probably ask for you to have a baseline mammogram done about six months after your reduction to establish a post operative baseline for future comparison. Be sure to stop taking any medications that thin the blood (aspirin, NSAIDs, and some herbs) at least 10 days before the scheduled surgery. You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home from your reduction and stay with you the first night.
Your breast reduction will be done as an outpatient procedure, being performed in Dr. Tolson’s state-of-the-art, AAAASF-certified operating room in Cumming, Georgia. The procedure will be done with general anesthesia. The type of reduction performed is dictated by how much tissue is being removed.
- Liposuction – For patients that need slight to moderate reductions and have little to no sagging and good elasticity in the skin, liposuction offers many advantages. The procedure is shorter and less invasive than the other two options. The incisions are virtually undetectable, meaning no scarring, essentially. The results should last a lifetime as long as you maintain a healthy, stable weight and don’t get pregnant.
- Vertical Reduction – A keyhole incision is made around the areola and down to the breast crease. Excess breast tissue is removed, and the remaining tissue is reshaped, and the breast, lifted. The scar is situated below the nipple and fades with time, to the point of being barely visible.
- Inverted T Reduction – For large amounts of reduction, the doctor will use the inverted T. The incision goes around the areola, down to the breast crease, and along the crease. The tissue will be removed and the breast, shaped and lifted, if needed. The scars are almost identical to the vertical reduction, with one more being hidden in the breast crease.
Dr. Tolson is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and is a member of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He keeps aesthetics in mind as he does the reduction, creating the best look possible for you which may require reducing the size of the areola before closing the incision. Deep, dissolvable sutures are used to help support the new structure, and they don’t have to be removed.
You will probably go home with an elastic bandage or support bra to aid in your healing process. A drain may be put in place to help with healing. Dr. Tolson or someone on his staff will go over how to take care of the drain if one is in place. You can expect to be sore and do some swelling over the first few days after the surgery. Using an ice pack will help reduce the swelling and discomfort. Expect to lack the full range of motion in your chest and shoulders until the swelling and discomfort subsides. Many return to regular desk jobs after one week, but exercise other than walking should wait for three to four weeks.
You should see a difference immediately, but the final results won’t manifest themselves for two to three months. You may even continue to notice subtle changes for up to one year after your reduction. Throughout the early months of the healing process, you may notice some asymmetry to your breasts caused by the reduction sites healing at different rates. This is normal, but if you have concerns, feel free to contact Dr. Tolson’s office with questions. Your reduction should last your lifetime as long as you maintain a stable, healthy weight and don’t have any additional pregnancies.
Feeling self-conscious and suffering in pain because you’ve been overly blessed isn’t really a blessing. Take control of your figure and see what a breast reduction can do for you.
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