Women who are unhappy about having large breasts and/or want to treat symptoms such as back pain, breathing problems and poor posture, may benefit from a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), during which fat, glandular tissue and skin are removed from the breasts. The resultant smaller breasts increase patient comfort, and look more in proportion to the rest of the body. Ideal candidates for a breast reduction are women with oversized breasts that are causing medical problems, low self-esteem, and/or physical or social discomfort. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding cannot undergo a breast reduction.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
After a breast reduction, patients typically experience soreness, swelling and bruising for several days. Bandages are removed after 2 days, and replaced with a surgical bra. Physical activity should be limited for 1 to 2 weeks, while exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 4 weeks. Stitches are removed after 2 to 3 weeks, at which point most patients return to work and other regular activities.
The results of a breast reduction are noticeable immediately after surgery. As swelling and bruising subside, the breasts’ appearance improves. Scars fade with time, and usually cannot be seen when a patient wears a bathing suit or low-cut top.
Risks of Breast Reduction
In addition to the risks associated with any surgery, risks related to a breast reduction, depending on the technique used, include the following:
- Loss of sensation
- Excessive firmness
- Inability to breast-feed
- Loss of skin/tissue where incisions meet
- Partial or total loss of areola and nipple
Although a breast reduction provides long-lasting results, breasts are still subject to the effects of aging and gravity.