Reduction mammaplasty is the technical name for breast reduction, surgery that reduces the size of your breasts by removing excess fat, glandular tissue and skin.
As with other forms of cosmetic plastic surgery, you need to have a clear and realistic idea of why you want the surgery and what you hope to look like after it. You should discuss your expectations with your surgeon. Although many women have breast reductions to cure physical discomfort, the surgery will change your appearance.
It's also important to note that breast reduction surgery removes many of the milk ducts in the breast, and is not recommended for women who want to breast feed.
During your first consultation, your doctor will ask you about:
- Your general health
- Any specific conditions that might interfere with surgery
- Your goals for surgery
The doctor will also:
- Perform an exam
- Explain the details of breast reduction surgery
- Discuss what factors might affect the procedure
- Explain the type of surgical technique to be used
- Discuss the type of anesthesia to be used and the length of the hospital stay
You may be asked to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery.
IMPORTANT: You must stop smoking for several weeks before and after the surgery because smoking can interfere with healing.
What to Expect
Breast reduction surgery can be an outpatient procedure or it may require a short hospital stay. The procedure normally takes about two to four hours, though more complicated cases can take longer. You will probably be given general anesthesia, so you'll be asleep during the surgery.
How the Procedure is Performed
The most common breast reduction procedure begins with the surgeon making a three-part, anchor-shaped incision. The first part circles the areola; the second moves vertically down from the areola to the crease beneath the breast; the third moves horizontally beneath the breast, following the natural curve of the crease.
After the incisions are made, the surgeon removes the unwanted fat, glandular tissue and skin and usually moves the nipple and areola up to a higher position. If the nipple and areola can be moved without detaching them from their original nerves and blood vessels, they may keep their ability to feel sensation.
At the end of the operation, the surgeon may temporarily put a small, thin drainage tube under the skin of each breast to drain blood and fluids that collect there. Finally, the surgeon closes the incisions with small stitches and puts a bandage on the area to protect it from infection.
Other Breast Reduction Procedures
There are several breast reduction techniques besides the one listed above. The technique used will depend on the specific details of your case, including how much reduction you want. For example, sometimes the horizontal incision below the breast isn't needed. In other cases, liposuction can be used to remove excess fat.
All surgery involves some risk and uncertainty. Serious complications or side effects of this surgery are rare, but they include:
- Bad reactions to the anesthesia
- Temporary soreness around the nipple
Even more rare are the possibilities of:
- Slightly mismatched breasts
- Unevenly positioned nipples
- Loss of feeling in the nipples or breast
- Surgery to rebuild the nipple and areola
For more information on breast augmentation, please call (585) 275-1000, or request a consultation appointment online.