Breast Reduction Surgery – Reduction Mammaplasty
Reduction Mammaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of the breasts. This may be performed for several reasons:
- Back/neck/shoulder pain from heavy breasts
- Chronic skin infections/rashes in skin folds of large breasts
- Large breasts interfering with exercise and other physical activities
- Difficulty fitting into clothing
- Aesthetic/social reasons, embarrassment
Although breast reduction may seem just like the opposite of breast augmentation, the actual procedure can be much more complex. In many cases, Reduction Mammaplasty involves repositioning of the nipples to achieve aesthetically pleasing results, unlike breast augmentation, which seldom involves the nipples. The greater the intended reduction, the more likely the nipple needs to be repositioned.
Reduction mammaplasty therefore entails breast volume reduction and breast reshaping with breast lifting as the procedures have synergistic effects when performed together.
Breast reduction usually involves removing breast tissue via incisions. In some cases, liposuction may be performed to further sculpt the shape of the breast. The procedure is carried out general anaesthesia.
There are different approaches to making the incision. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Excision of a ring of skin around the areola
- A “keyhole” shaped incision – vertical mammaplasty
- An “anchor” shaped incision – inverted ‘T’
The actual approach will depend on the surgeon and patient’s preference, as well as individual conditions. In any case, excess breast tissue will be removed via these incisions, and remaining breast tissue will be lifted and shaped as necessary. Finally. the nipple is repositioned as required and the incisions closed.
The surgery usually takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Possible risks and complications
Breast reduction, like most surgery procedures, come with its risks and potential complications. It is important for you to understand these associated risks before committing yourself to the surgery.
- Loss of sensation around the areola and nipples.
There is a significant risk of this occurring as repositioning of the nipples is unavoidable in most breast reduction surgeries.
- Inability to breastfeed.
This is similarly caused by the reposition of the nipples, and partly because some glandular tissue may be removed during the surgery. Breast feeding capability may be preserved with certain approaches.
Scarring from breast reduction surgery tends to be more obvious than other breast surgeries as current approaches all involve incisions at somewhat conspicuous locations. Nevertheless, the surgeon will do his best to conceal as much of the scars as possible in hard to see places (Example: where the areola meets the regular breast skin)
- Necrosis of the nipple areolar complex
This occurs due to the disruption of blood supply/circulation to the nipple area resulting in the nipple areolar complex loss
- Asymmetrical breasts
- Poor healing, infection or inflammation
- Excessive bleeding
- Fluid accumulation
- Complications with anaesthesia
Although some of these complications are hard to control, skill and experience can greatly reduce the risks of complications. Be sure to consult a reputable plastic surgeon for your Reduction Mammaplasty.
The procedure will be carried out under general anaesthesia so there is minimal pain and discomfort. However, you may experience some soreness around the surgery areas when the anaesthesia subsides after the procedure. Our doctors will usually subscribe painkillers to help with this.
Your breast and chest area may experience some soreness/tightness for several weeks post-surgery. The doctor may teach you some light exercises to help your muscles adjust to these new conditions.
Avoid strenuous activities for at least 4 weeks.
Depending on your condition, the surgeon may ask you to not wear a support bra for some time to allow the breast to settle naturally.
Adhere to the post-care instructions given by the doctor/surgeon closely.