Breast reduction surgery reduces breast size and improves physical and psychological symptoms caused by very large breasts. Breast reduction surgery, also referred to as reduction mammoplasty, reduces the size and improves the shape of the breasts. Typically, women who are candidates for this procedure have physical symptoms related to the weight or shape of their breasts. These symptoms include back pain, neck pain, headaches, rashes in the fold under the breast and bra strap grooves in the shoulders. Women with excessively large breasts may struggle to exercise, perform other daily activities or find clothing that fits appropriately. These factors and symptoms may have a negative effect on their daily functioning, self-confidence and psychological well-being.
For breast reduction surgery, the incisions vary based on the breast size before the operation and the planned postoperative size. An incision is made around the nipple and areola accompanied by a vertical incision below the areola with or without a horizontal incision made in the crease below the breast. Short scar techniques are frequently applicable in breast reduction surgery and allow for the reduction of breast size with improved shape while limiting the extent of the incisions. For reduction of very large breasts, in some cases, the nipple and areola may need to be surgically removed and reapplied as a graft (known as a ‘Free Nipple Graft’). Removing and reapplying the nipple/areola tissue will result in the loss of nipple sensation and the inability to breastfeed future children.
Breast reduction usually requires two to four hours of operating time depending on the technique chosen and the size of the breasts.
Breast reduction is typically performed under general anaesthesia supplemented with local anaesthesia. Smaller reductions can be performed under intravenous sedation without the need for general anaesthesia.
Depending on the size of the breasts, type of anaesthesia selected, and length of the surgical procedure, patients may return home on the same day as their surgery or spend the night at an aftercare facility or hospital.
Possible side effects may include prolonged swelling and delayed healing.
Risks associated with breast reduction include unfavourable scarring, loss of nipple sensation, loss of ability to breastfeed, loss of nipple and breast tissue, unsatisfactory shape, and failure to achieve aesthetic goals.
Typically recovery requires one to two weeks. Most patients return to normal activities within that period. Strenuous physical activities are discouraged for three to six weeks after the surgery.
Most patients who undergo a reduction mammoplasty are very happy with the size and the shape of their breasts and are delighted with the improvement and lessening of the symptoms of pain and discomfort that they experienced due to the weight of their breasts. Breast reduction makes physical activities easier, allowing patients to exercise in ways they could not have done previously. Patients feel more confident and enjoy their new appearance and ability to wear clothing that was uncomfortable or unattractive before the surgery was performed.
WHEN YOU CHOOSE A DOCTOR WHO IS A MEMBER OF APRASSA, YOU CAN BE ASSURED THAT YOUR SURGEON IS QUALIFIED IN ALL ASPECTS OF COSMETIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY.
The Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons of Southern Africa was formed in 1956. It currently has over 169 members from all around South Africa. All our members are fully qualified Plastic surgeons that have been approved for APRASSA membership and will endeavour to provide you with excellent care throughout your plastic surgery journey.