What Is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction is a procedure designed to remove excess tissue and reshape the breasts to achieve a smaller, more proportionate size for one’s body. In addition to these cosmetic improvements, this treatment can help minimize—or even eliminate—the physical discomfort and/or psychological distress often experienced by women who have overly large breasts. By employing the latest techniques available, board-certified plastic surgeons Daniel Y. Maman, MD and Stafford R. Broumand, MD can perform breast reduction surgery to help you attain a more appealing and flattering breast size for your unique figure.
What Can Breast Reduction Do for Me?
While diminishing the overall size and weight of the breasts are certainly key benefits of treatment, breast reduction surgery can also provide a number of other advantages. Based on your unique needs and desires, this procedure can help:
- Raise the breast mound
- Create a rounder breast shape
- Elevate the position of the nipple-areolar complexes
- Reduce the size of the areolas
Along with these aesthetic changes to the breasts, breast reduction may also help reduce the physical and/or emotional discomfort associated with certain recreational activities, as well as make finding articles of clothing that fit properly a bit easier.
*Results May Vary
Candidates for Breast Reduction
Breast reduction surgery can be a great option for women interested in decreasing the size and improving the overall shape of the breasts. Good candidates for this procedure generally include those who are experiencing and/or having trouble with:
- Chronic pain in the neck, back, and shoulders
- Persistent headaches spanning from the forehead to the base of the neck
- Uncomfortable bra strap indentations
- Tender and/or irritating rashes underneath the breasts
- Bad posture caused by the weight of the breasts
- Ill-fitting bras, bathing suits, and various other articles of clothing
Along with being able to relate to one or more of these concerns, breast reduction candidates should be in relatively good health and have no unmanaged medical issues. Anyone who smokes must also quit a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery, and all individuals need to have realistic expectations for the outcome of their procedure. At the time of your consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss all of these factors in great detail to determine proper candidacy.
How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost?
The cost of breast reduction surgery is influenced by several different factors, including:
- The amount of glandular tissue, fat, and skin being removed
- Fees for the plastic surgeon, anesthesia, and operating facility
- The credentials, skill, and experience of the plastic surgeon
- Any necessary pre- or postoperative medications
- The geographic location of the practice
- How much—if any—of the procedure is covered by insurance
In some instances, there may be an added expense if a sample of the removed breast tissue is sent to a pathology lab for examination and testing.
At 740 Park Plastic Surgery, our doctors personalize every breast reduction to meet the specific needs and goals of the individual. As a result, an in-person consultation will be necessary to determine the overall price of breast reduction. Following a thorough physical exam and medical review, Dr. Maman or Dr. Broumand can provide a custom quote and itemized list of expenses contributing to the total cost. If insurance does not cover all or part of the procedure, our practice offers several financing and payment plan options that can help make breast reduction affordable for virtually any budget.
Considerations for Breast Reduction
There are many factors that go into achieving ideal breast reduction results. The information below outlines a few of the numerous details that should be taken into consideration prior to surgery.
Breast Reduction or Breast Lift?
Generally speaking, most individuals who need a breast reduction also need a breast lift (mastopexy), but not everyone who needs a breast lift needs a reduction. This is largely due to the fact that when excess volume is removed from the breasts during a breast reduction, there tends to be a lot of extra, sagging skin left behind that needs to be addressed (which is done with mastopexy). In contrast, some patients wish to elevate drooping breasts while retaining their breast size. For these select individuals, a breast reduction may not be necessary in addition to their lift.
More often than not, however, a combination of breast reduction and mastopexy—commonly referred to as a breast reduction and lift—is needed to achieve an optimal outcome. When performed in conjunction, these two procedures help to lift the breasts while improving both their size and symmetry. By discussing your unique needs and desires in detail with one of our surgeons, he will be able to easily and clearly determine the right procedure (or combination of procedures) for your goals.
Breast Reduction Scars
As a surgical procedure requiring incisions, the development of postoperative scarring following breast reduction is inevitable. That said, our doctors take great care to minimize the final appearance of breast reduction scars through the use of advanced incision techniques and scar management methods.
During surgery, the incision generally utilized by Dr. Maman and Dr. Broumand encircles the areola and extends down to the inframammary crease. Unlike other approaches, the incision does not typically continue horizontally along the fold underneath the breasts, therefore creating a shorter overall scar. Following the procedure, patients are advised to use special silicone strips to help offload tension on the incision lines as they heal, helping to promote better healing and a less distinguishable scar.
Ultimately, any potential breast reduction scarring can usually be concealed by most bathing suit and underwear varieties, and the vast majority of patients find that the results of their procedure far outweigh any hesitations they may have about noticeable scars.
Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding
Women interested in this procedure should understand that breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery might not be possible due to potential milk gland removal and/or alteration during treatment. That said, this does not always occur—many breast reduction patients are able to breastfeed without any issues following surgery. If you are planning to start a family or have additional children in the future, our plastic surgeons will take special care and do everything in their control to help ensure you maintain the ability to breastfeed after treatment. It is important to note that some women are not capable of breastfeeding regardless of whether or not a breast reduction was performed. If a patient has not attempted to nurse a child prior to receiving a breast reduction, she may wrongly attribute her inability to do so afterwards to the procedure itself.
Starting a Conversation
When our doctors first sit down with a patient who is considering breast reduction, there is often an event or discussion that has inspired them to begin the process. Many times this turns out to be a conversation they had with a close friend or loved one about the desire to feel more comfortable in their own skin. When considering this procedure, Dr. Maman and Dr. Broumand encourage you to talk about it with family and friends, or—if possible—with someone you know who has undergone a breast reduction. The insight gained from conversations of this nature is indispensable, and it can lead to a better understanding of the procedure, the expectations, and the eventual outcome.
Questions to Ask Your Breast Reduction Surgeon
When interested in breast reduction, the consultation process provides an excellent opportunity to get to know your plastic surgeon on a personal level, as well as to gain a complete understanding of what to expect throughout all stages of the procedure based on your specific needs and aesthetic desires. Along with making sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, some essential questions you should ask before proceeding with surgery include:
- Do you perform breast reduction surgery regularly?
- What kind of results can and cannot be achieved with breast reduction?
- Do you use a short scar technique?
- What are the pros and cons of this approach?
- Will I need a lift in addition to a reduction?
- Will drains be placed?
- What can I expect during the recovery process?
- What kind of postoperative care do you provide?
- Can I see breast reduction before and after pictures of other patients?
Your breast reduction surgeon should be entirely forthright with you when answering these questions or any additional inquires you may have for him or her. In the end, complete trust, clear communication, and the skill and expertise of your surgeon are vital to achieving excellent results that satisfy—or even exceed—your breast reduction expectations.
What Is the Breast Reduction Consultation Like?
The majority of breast reduction patients our surgeons see fall into two categories: women who have considered this procedure from early on, and mothers who are no longer breastfeeding. While the length of time a patient has considered the procedure plays a significant role in determining if they are prepared for treatment, the ultimate goal of the consultation is addressing each patient’s concerns as we strive to improve their overall health and happiness.
When you come to our practice for a one-on-one consultation, Dr. Maman and Dr. Broumand encourage you to be prepared with a list of questions similar (but not limited) to those mentioned above. As you formulate these questions, and as the procedure is discussed in great detail, our doctors will try to help you envision how the expected outcome will impact your life on a day-to-day basis. They will aim to help you define your frustrations and then understand how smaller, more proportionate breasts can potentially alleviate your frustrations. Knowing if you have been to a chiropractor or back and neck specialist is also helpful, as our surgeons can coordinate treatment to improve your symptoms before and after the breast reduction procedure.
Once Dr. Broumand or Dr. Maman has an understanding of your motivation for considering breast reduction, they will conduct a physical exam and discuss the expected surgical outcome. The initial office visit lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour, but the overall consultation process can take one to two office visits to ensure we reach an understanding of where goals meet expectations.
Family members and friends are welcome to join you for the consultation, and this decision simply depends on your preference and comfort. Some women prefer the one-on-one conversation, while others want to bring someone with them to be certain they ask all the right questions and retain the information discussed. The most important aspect of the consultation is our doctors’ ability to gain an honest understanding of your goals for undergoing the breast reduction procedure as they sculpt the doctor-patient relationship.
How Is Breast Reduction Performed?
Our entire team is involved in the procedure from the moment the decision to undergo breast reduction is made. We have a preoperative checklist that can help you get prepared and improve the overall treatment experience. Some of these items include reminding you to refrain from aspirin products, stopping certain medications and vitamins, and adding an Arnica herbal supplement to your diet.
When the day of the procedure arrives, you will be greeted by our surgical team, who will help you prepare for the operation. You will individually discuss the breast reduction procedure with the nurse, physician assistant, and the anesthesiologist, and then you will see Dr. Maman or Dr. Broumand (whoever is performing your surgery) to review the surgical plan and address any final questions or concerns.
To conduct breast reduction surgery, Dr. Broumand and Dr. Maman typically use a “lollipop” incision pattern that extends around the perimeter of the areola and down the underside of the breasts to the inframammary fold. During the procedure, excess breast tissue and fat is removed, and any redundant skin is excised. Remaining skin and breast tissue is then lifted and shaped until an ideal aesthetic is achieved, and incisions are closed with the utmost care and precision to promote optimal healing. The entire breast reduction procedure can generally be performed in about two hours, though this time may vary depending on the individual needs and goals of the patient.
The entire breast reduction procedure can generally be performed in about two hours, though this time may vary depending on the individual needs and goals of the patient. Later that same day, you will be picked up by a family member or friend and taken home to rest in the comfort of your own home.
What Is Breast Reduction Recovery Like?
Following breast reduction surgery, a supportive bra will need to be worn for a brief period of time to help encourage proper healing. Most women will notice some degree of swelling and/or bruising in the breasts, though these effects should slowly diminish over time. Any discomfort experienced postoperatively is typically described as mild and can often be reduced or alleviated with medication. The majority of patients feel well enough to return to non-strenuous jobs and daily routines after approximately one week, but our doctors recommend that any heavy lifting or rigorous physical activity be avoided for at least four weeks. Due to the location of the incisions, any signs of scarring can generally be hidden underneath most articles of clothing, including various bra and swimsuit varieties.
Become More Informed About Breast Reduction
In our experience, patients who are thoroughly educated about all facets of breast reduction tend to have the smoothest treatment experience and highest levels of postoperative satisfaction. If you believe you are a candidate for breast reduction, the first thing we recommend is more research. Read about the procedure, write down questions or concerns you have, and continue to refine your expectations for the outcome. If you start scheduling consultations, bring this list of questions with you. If you sit down with a friend who has undergone the procedure, bring the questions.
The more time you invest in the research process the better equipped you will be to ask the right questions, find the right plastic surgeon, and achieve the goals that led you to this procedure in the first place. Dr. Broumand and Dr. Maman realize there is a tremendous amount of information to take in when making a decision of this magnitude, and our doctors will never rush or pressure you into proceeding with surgery when you are not completely comfortable doing so. Our goal is simple: help you achieve your aesthetic goals through the safest, most effective means possible—but only when you are ready.