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Breast reduction
















breast reduction


Large and heavy breasts can cause symptoms such as back pain and grooving of the shoulders from bra straps. People may also feel self-conscious and can attract unwanted attention. Large breasts can also cause a problem for people trying to perform activities such as running, jumping and other sports. Having a breast reduction, whilst being a major operation, can be a very positive life changing event.



How is breast reduction performed?

There are a number of different ways to perform a breast reduction, and the technique used may vary according to your breast size and shape, and to the technique your surgeon feels gives the best result in their hands.

Generally, the excess breast tissue will be removed to leave a size suitable for your frame. Any excess skin is also removed to give a tight, pert breast. The nipple is moved during this procedure, sometimes by quite some distance, in order to have it sat at a suitable height for your new smaller breast.

The scars will run around the areola (darker part around the nipple), and nearly always run towards the skin groove under the breast. With larger reductions, it may also be necessary to run the scar along the skin groove, giving an 'inverted T' or 'anchor' shaped breast scar.


Can I choose the size I want to be?

You can discuss with your surgeon what size you would like to be, but this will be used as a guide only. The surgeon will generally not be able to guarantee any specific size as the final outcome varies according to the size of your frame, original breast size and technique used. It will help the surgeon, though, to tell them if you want to be very small after the breast reduction or only moderately reduced.


What risks are involved with breast reduction?

  • Sensory changes - due to the cuts needed to access the breast and the tissue being stretched, the breast skin or nipples can have reduced sensation or rarely heightened sensation to the point of being uncomfortable.

  • Asymmetry - whilst the surgeon will try to make both breasts look the same size and shape, no-one starts off with identical breasts. Reduction can sometimes make such differences less obvious, although differences can still remain. Nipple positions may also be slightly different at the end of the operation.

  • Nipple loss - whilst this is quite rare after breast reduction, it is a major complication if it happens. If only a small part of the nipple dies, then this should heal well, albeit with scarring. If the entire nipple dies, then you may need further operations to reconstruct a new nipple.

  • Wound breakdown - the skin will be closed under quite high tension during breast reduction, so could potentially have healing problems. This may mean that the wound just takes a little longer to heal, or could lead to the scar splitting, leading to slower healing and worse scarring.

  • Loss of breast feeding ability - whilst breast feeding ability may be preserved, it should be borne in mind that you may not be able to breast feed after breast reduction.

  • Blood clots - this is a rare complication, but can be serious if it happens. Blood clots in the calf (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can cause leg swelling and pain. If the clots move to the lungs, then they can cause chest pain and even death.



Other SurgeryWise articles

You may also be interested to read our articles on breast lifts , augmentation, or other Cosmetic surgery articles



Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.

The information provided is for guidance only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer






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