Breast reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of your breasts by removing excess glandular tissue, skin and fat. Also known as a reduction mammoplasty, this procedure is commonly performed for both cosmetic and medically indicated reasons.
Breast reduction surgery is an option for women who are looking to achieve a breast size more proportionate to their body, or, who struggle with discomfort due to the size of their breasts. A breast reduction will also reshape the breast, and can reposition and resize downward pointing nipples and areola if required.
If you suffer from symptoms associated with excessively large breasts, breast reduction surgery can help to improve your overall health and quality of life.
It may be a suitable option for you if you struggle with:
- chronic neck and back pain
- skin irritation under the breast fold
- difficulty exercising due to the size and weight of your breasts
- inability to find properly fitting bras
Sometimes it is necessary for breast reduction surgery to be performed in conjunction with a procedure known as mastopexy, or breast lift. This is often the case for very large, low positioned breasts, that can result from breastfeeding, weight loss, or the natural loss of skin laxity over time.
With their extensive knowledge and experience, our specialist plastic surgeons have the skills and expertise to approach each patient journey uniquely, catering to your individual needs. If you’re considering breast surgery, one of our surgeons would be pleased to discuss your options in an initial consultation.
The Procedure and Surgical Techniques
The locations of your incisions and the techniques used will depend on your surgeon’s preferences and recommendations, as well as the shape of your breasts and the amount of skin and tissue needing to be removed.
The incision sites for a breast reduction are similar to those used in a mastopexy. An incision is made around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the inframammary breast crease. Another incision may also be required horizontally along the inframammary fold. Your surgeon will then reshape and lift the breast by removing a predetermined amount of excess breast tissue, skin, and fat. The nipple and areola are repositioned into a higher, more natural looking position, and the incision sites can be then closed with both dissolving and removable sutures.
Your surgeon will recommend the technique that is best for your individual needs.
For further information on the procedure, we highly recommend you watch the animated video on our website, which outlines breast lift surgery in more detail.
Hospital Stay + Anaesthesia
For reasons of patient safety, this procedure is always performed under a general anaesthetic with an anaesthetist present. Surgery can take place as a day procedure but in some instances an overnight stay is required. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you during your initial consultation.
In order to keep your consultation as smooth and efficient as possible, we ask that you please bring all relevant documentation with you on the day or send it in to our practice beforehand. This includes your referral letter, Medicare card, private health insurance details, any third party or return to work insurance information, and any relevant scans such as x-ray or other radiology scans and reports.
During your initial consultation with one of our specialist plastic surgeons, you will have extensive opportunity to discuss expectations and desired results. Your surgeon will explore the different methods of reduction, and review your size, shape and technique. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure itself.
You will then meet with one of our experienced breast care nurses, where you will have clinical images taken as a before and after reference for both yourself and your surgeon. All our images are confidential and are stored securely online pursuant to the current Privacy Act. Your breast care nurse will also take your measurements and fit you with a post-operative bra.
The final stage involves meeting with your surgeon’s personal assistant. You will be given an in-depth quote, including the fee’s for the surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist. When your surgery is booked you will also be given a pack which includes further details and instructions regarding your procedure.
We recommend that you allow an hour for this consultation. Please keep this in mind when organising parking so that you don’t feel the need to rush.
There is a lot of information to take in after your first consultation. We encourage our patients to go home and discuss their procedure with loved ones and come back for a second visit. We find many patients have additional questions and this second visit also allows you to discuss expectations for surgery and confirm the peri-operative plan, so you feel confident and fully informed about your procedure.
Before Your Procedure
There are a number of things you can start to implement before your procedure, to encourage a smooth recovery and ensure you are as comfortable as possible post-surgery.
It is important that you:
- Exercise – as having good physical health will significantly help your recovery
- Are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding or planning pregnancy soon
- Provide a complete medical history to your specialist plastic surgeon, including all current medications, as some may need to be stopped prior to surgery
- Quit smoking
- Arrange for someone to look after you during your recovery. You will need someone to transport you to and from your surgery, as well as stay with you for 48 hours after returning home after a general anaesthetic.
- Ensure you follow pre-operative instructions, such as fasting times and stopping medications, or your procedure may have to be cancelled
- Have plenty of loose comfortable clothing that is easy to get in and out of post-surgery
- Prepare your recovery nest. You’ll want to have everything you need easily accessible and within arms reach. We suggest comfortable pillows, cool packs, prescribed medications, healthy pre-prepared meals and snacks, a list of emergency contact details, phone and device chargers as well as things to keep you entertained
The time frame for recovery will vary depending on your procedure, your general health and fitness, and extent of surgery. Your return to work depends on the nature and physical exertion of your job. Your surgeon will discuss this with you prior to surgery, and it is important to allow yourself the recommended recovery time. Vigorous activity and exercise should be avoided for the first six weeks, however gentle walking is encouraged after the first week.
On discharge, you will be given specific postoperative instructions to facilitate recovery, and a follow-up appointment will be made with your plastic surgeon. These instructions will cover everything you need to know in order to make your recovery as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Post-surgery it is common to have some bruising and swelling, as well as a feeling of tightness across your chest. This is perfectly normal, and while these issues typically subside within the first two weeks, they may persist for up to a month. Breathable tape dressings are applied across the incision lines, and these will remain until your first post-operative visit. You should be able to shower with these dressings on and pat them dry.
You may be required to wear your post-operative bra day and night for up to six weeks from the day of your surgery. The bra helps control the bruising and swelling, gives you support and helps reduce your pain. Patients often purchase two post-operative bras, to allow one to be laundered while the other is worn.
A plastic tube and collection bottle may remain post-operatively to drain off excess fluid. These stay in place until the drainage slows and are removed by a nurse usually a day or two after your surgery. Most of the sutures used will be dissolvable, however any other sutures will be removed on day 10-14. Occasionally half your sutures are removed at this visit, and the other half are removed the following week.
Please be assured that our team is here to support you in making a swift, uncomplicated recovery. We offer a 24/7 on-call medical assistance service for all our post-operative patients.
Ready to book an initial consultation?
If you are ready to book your initial consultation, please book online or call us to book with one of our helpful team members. We’ll be pleased to help you start your journey.
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News – March 23, 2023
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