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Articles

What is Breast Reduction?

Dr. Mary Gingrass and Dr. Melinda Haws

article courtesy Mary Gingrass, M.D. and Melinda Haws, M.D.

CLICK HERE to visit the website of Mary Gingrass, M.D. and Melinda Haws, M.D.

Many women with very large breasts may suffer from a variety of medical problems as well as physical discomfort. These problems range from back/neck pain and skin irritation to skeletal deformities and even breathing problems. In addition, bra straps may leave shoulder indentations. Performed by female plastic surgeons at The Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville in Tennessee, breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure that removes skin, fat, and glandular tissue from the breasts. Breast reduction makes the breasts smaller, lighter, and firmer, and can also be performed to reduce areola size.

Breast Reduction Surgery

At our cosmetic surgery office in Nashville, Tennessee, breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Breast reduction surgery usually requires two to three hours to complete, sometimes longer. As with breast lifts, the incisions and subsequent scar location on the breast are determined by how much tissue needs to be removed to alleviate your symptoms. Many of our patients obtain the best results with a vertical or short scar reduction. With this procedure, incisions are placed around the areola and straight down. In other patients who require more skin and tissue removed, the surgeon makes an anchor-shaped incision around the areola straight down and then in the crease under breast. After the incision is made, fat, glandular tissue, and skin is extracted and the areola and nipple are repositioned. Liposuction is sometimes used during breast reduction surgery to remove any excess fat around the armpit. If only fat requires removal for breast reduction, we use liposuction exclusively.

During most breast reduction surgeries, the nipples will remain attached to the nerves and blood vessels. In cases where a woman's breasts are extremely large, the areolas and nipples may be removed completely and then repositioned. This will result in loss of nipple sensation as well as loss of sensation in the surrounding tissue. Stitches will be placed along the surgical incisions.

After Breast Reduction Surgery

After visiting our cosmetic surgery office in Nashville, Tennessee for breast reduction surgery, you may have small tubes inserted into each breast in order to drain excess fluids. The operation area will be wrapped in gauze dressings and a surgical bra or a protective elastic bandage. Pain or discomfort after breast reduction surgery is common for the first few days to a week. Two days after breast reduction surgery, the bandages will be removed, though you will continue to wear the surgical bra for several weeks. until the bruising and swelling goes down. After three weeks, any stitches on the outside will be removed, however the majority of sutures are inside and will dissolve over time.

Recovery

You may experience pain in your breast the first time you menstruate after breast reduction surgery. Random shooting pains may occur for several months after the procedure and you may experience a loss of sensation in the nipples and breast skin as a result of swelling. The numbness or loss of sensation usually fades over the next six weeks, but the condition sometimes persists in some breast reduction patients for a year or more. In rare instance, the loss of sensation is permanent. Most breast reduction patients return to work in about two weeks.

Potential Risks

At our cosmetic surgery practice in Nashville, Tennessee, we perform many breast reduction surgeries and achieve exceptional results. Yet, as with any surgery, there is always the possibility of complications. Some potential complications following breast reduction surgery include infection, excessive bleeding, or an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Breast reduction surgery does cause permanent scarring and may potentially leave breasts or nipples asymmetrical. The scars are easily concealed with clothing. Breast reduction surgery may affect breastfeeding, since the milk ducts are removed during the procedure. On rare occasions, the nipple and surrounding tissue may lose blood supply and the tissue will die. If this should occur, the areola and nipple can usually be reconstructed using skin grafts.


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