Breast Reduction Surgery
What is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Large breasts are a problem for many women and can also be for some men (gynaecomastia). In addition to the cosmetic implications of larger than normal breasts, the functional problems can frequently be debilitating. These can include back and neck pain, skin problems underneath the breast and difficulty exercising. Social embarrassment and depression can result from the public attention that comes with having large breasts, forcing patients to avoid being seen in public.
In some patients there is a marked difference between the breasts and the correction of this difference can be addressed with breast reduction surgery on one side only.
There are many different methods of breast reduction, all having in common the elevation of the nipple to a higher position, the reduction of the volume of breast tissue, with the ‘trade off’ of a degree of scarring on the breast. Scars are created around the nipple areola disk, and in a vertical line from the nipple to the fold beneath the breast. In some cases these are the only scars required. In larger breast reductions, where there is a correspondingly larger amount of skin to be excised, a further horizontal scar may be required beneath the breast. It is only in extremely large breasts that the nipple skin is removed completely and re-positioned as a skin graft.
Whilst some patients can breast-feed following breast reductions, there is frequently a reduction or loss of this breast function. Careful consideration should be taken if surgery is contemplated before a family has finished growing. Mr Eccles generally advises waiting between 6 months and 1 year after pregnancy and breastfeeding before considering a breast reduction. During this time the breast gland tissue will usually become smaller.
How long will I need to stay in hospital?
The surgery usually lasts between two and three hours and surgical drains are usually necessary to prevent blood collecting within the breast after surgery. When Mr Eccles is happy that the drainage volume has reduced to an acceptable level (usually after a day or two), the drains are removed and you can be allowed home.
How long does it take to recover after breast reduction surgery?
Although there is some minor discomfort after breast reduction surgery it is not usually painful. There will be some bruising and swelling of the breasts. This has most often settled by two weeks when it should be possible to return to work. Following surgery your breasts will be covered with light dressings which will remain in place for about a week. The breast is supported by a bra, either supplied by the hospital, or a bra of your choice. Some 7-10 days after surgery, dressings will be removed and the wounds inspected. The stitches used are mainly dissolvable.
How long does breast reduction surgery last?
The results are usually life long but, as breast tissue is affected by hormonal manipulation, weight gain and ageing, further procedures may be necessary if a patient’s situation changes.
Commonly asked questions.