Breast Reduction

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While most women considering cosmetic breast surgery wish their breasts were larger than they naturally are, many women will attest that extremely large breasts can be too much of a good thing. Breasts that are too large for a woman’s frame can lead to back and neck pain, breathing problems, stooped shoulders, and stretched skin. Even in the absence of these complications, some women consider their breasts too large in proportion to their frames to be considered aesthetically pleasing. Given the cosmetic and potentially serious medical considerations, breast reduction surgery is often a wise course of action. In this procedure, incisions are made as inconspicuously as possible and then excess fat and mammary gland tissue are removed. The structural reconstruction of a more ideal breast shape than entails suturing of the breast mound into a conical shape and onto the muscle fascia for support. The excess skin is removed and sutured back together to give the patient a firmer, shapelier, and lifted bust.

If the description of these struggles is all too familiar to you, please contact Dr. Mark E. Richards today. Well-versed in recent developments that allow the operation to be carried out with as little scarring as possible, Dr. Richards has been providing breast reduction procedures for patients for many years. He understands that breast enhancement, both for health and for beauty, sometimes means breast reduction. Learn more about this procedure by visiting our video gallery.

*Individual Results May Vary

About the Procedure

The approach Dr. Richards will take for your breast reduction will depend on several factors. There are a few incision options available, and the right technique for you will depend on your unique anatomic needs and desired outcome. Some examples of common breast reduction incision patterns include the Benelli (donut), the vertical (lollipop), and the anchor. In rare cases, liposuction may be an option; however, this method reduces fatty tissue, not breast tissue. Liposuction alone may also cause some skin laxity, potentially resulting in a sagging effect that might need to be addressed with a breast lift. However, VASER LipoSelection® is sometimes used in combination with a breast reduction to contour the sides of excessively wide breasts wall while leaving the vascular and nerve supply to the breasts intact. During your initial consultation, Dr. Richards will discuss your goals and develop a customized treatment plan based on your expressed wishes and unique anatomy. During this meeting, you will learn the details about the operation, incisions, and recovery experience so you are well informed about the entire procedure.

Breast reduction is designed to do more than just make the breasts smaller. This procedure can also make the breasts more symmetrical and modify the size, shape, and position of the areola—the area around the nipple. While a few incisions will be necessary, Dr. Richards strives to minimize the appearance of scars. Most women report such high satisfaction with the result they admit they don’t even notice the lines.

Recovery Following Breast Reduction

Breast reduction surgery typically will be an outpatient operation, which means you should be able to return home the same day. In some cases you may need to spend the night in the hospital. Drains may be utilized, and Dr. Richards will provide specific instructions before and after the procedure about how to care for your bandages. After the surgery, you will notice some swelling, tenderness, and bruising, which is normal. We will prescribe medication to manage the pain and make the recovery as comfortable as possible. You should rest and take time off work and regular duties for about one week, though individual experiences vary. For instance, some women are comfortable returning to normal, non-strenuous activity after a few days. It’s important to listen to your body and not overexert yourself before you’re ready.

After your operation, you should avoid high-impact exercises for approximately one month, or as long as Dr. Richards recommends. To optimize scar healing, Dr. Richards will utilize a pulse-dye laser on your incisions in the office and recommend topical silicone gel products. Our medical team provides advice and specific recommendations during your follow-up visits.

The difference in breast size may be immediately noticeable after surgery; however, swelling will take several months or longer to fully subside. Many women report an instant sense of relief and increased comfort shortly after the operation, although this, too, can take some time. Dr. Richards is committed to your care through final recovery, and you’re encouraged to speak with us if you have any questions during the healing period.

Commonly Asked Questions About Breast Reduction (FAQs)

We understand you may have many questions about breast reduction surgery. Dr. Richards wants to provide the information you need to make the best decision possible. The following questions and answers are designed to help you understand how breast reduction achieves its goals, and what you can expect. If you would like to learn more, we invite you to contact our practice to schedule a private consultation focused on your needs.

Will I receive a lift as well as a breast reduction?

Yes, this procedure is designed to reduce the size of the breasts as well as elevate them to a more youthful location for the most aesthetically appealing outcome. The nipples are also moved up and resized (as desired) to achieve a natural-looking effect while never detaching them from the breast tissue or milk ducts. As breasts are almost always asymmetrical, it is common to have more tissue removed from one side than the other in order to achieve greater symmetry. Dr. Richards will use your input to help guide his treatment and deliver a result that is more comfortable for you as well and beautiful.

Will the scars be visible?

Your incisions will take some time to heal, but most patients find the marks fade to skin color and become smoother and softer as time goes on. While a completely scar-less reduction is not possible, we make every effort to minimize the appearance of the incisions. Most women report that they are so happy with the result of the operation they do not mind the well-healed, fine scarring. Laser skin resurfacing with the N-Lite laser can be used to further diminish the appearance of the scars from this and other procedures and traumas. We can provide additional details during your initial consultation.

Will insurance cover the procedure?

Many types of medical insurance plans offer at least partial coverage for a breast reduction, although you should speak with your insurance company representative to determine what costs, if any, may be covered. Most insurance plans require patients to demonstrate a need for the procedure, citing documented examples of physical pain or non-surgical attempts to address the problem. They may also instruct the policyholder to try and lose weight prior to approving the surgery. We can help you navigate this process and submit a claim for you.

If I gain weight, will my breasts become larger again?

It does not happen in the majority of cases, but it is possible. We encourage you to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle to help preserve your results. Small fluctuations in weight should not have a dramatic impact on your breast size, but significant weight gain can lead to growth and the return of some or all the problems you were experiencing before the surgery. Many patients find that once their breasts are a more comfortable size, they have a more enjoyable time exercising, and end up losing weight rather than gaining it.

When can I resume normal activities?

You should be able to return to office work and a regular schedule after about one week, although your experience may vary slightly from this estimate. Impact exercises, such as running or jumping, should be avoided for the first month, but moderate activity like walking and weightlifting can be resumed after one to two weeks. You will have regular check-ups with Dr. Richards after surgery. And, of course, we are only a phone call away!

For more information about breast reduction, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today. We are happy to answer your questions and help you in any way we can.