Breast Reduction: When Bigger Is Not Better
Breast reduction is a type of plastic surgery that makes a woman’s breasts smaller. Women with very large breasts – called hypertrophy – often want this surgery. Hypertrophy occurs when a girl enters puberty. Her breasts grow to the point that she feels uncomfortable. Back pain may become a real issue. It is unknown why this condition occurs, but with breast-reduction surgery, it can be treated. As a result, the woman can have a more normal shape and the extra weight her back was having to support will be removed.
The goal of this surgery is to create breasts that are more proportional to a woman’s body. In addition, if a woman has different-size breasts, this procedure can make one of them smaller, thus creating a symmetrical shape. While the breast size is being reduced, the surgeon can also change the shape and firmness of the breast. In some cases, nipple surgery may be necessary to reduce the size of the areola.
Before surgery, the woman’s breasts are measured, and photos are taken by the surgeon’s staff to provide a basis for before-and-after photographs. A mammogram is usually done before surgery to rule out any underlying conditions.
The operation is done under general anesthesia. Marks are made on the breasts to give the surgeon a guideline of what needs to be done. Incisions are made to create skin flaps on both sides of a woman’s breasts. Excess skin, tissue and fat are then removed. Because the breasts are now much smaller, the nipples are often moved to give the breasts a more natural look. In most cases, when the nipples are moved, they are still attached to the nerves and surrounding blood vessels. If the breast must be dramatically reduced and an extensive amount of tissue and fat removed, the nipples may have to be completely removed and then repositioned.
The cons of this type of plastic surgery include swollen, sore and bruised breasts. Usually medication can help relieve the pain. Bandages must be worn for several days. No lifting or exercise is allowed for several weeks. In many cases, the doctor will recommend that the patient wears a surgical or athletic bra. Stitches are removed about three weeks after surgery. If a woman’s nipples were completely removed and repositioned, she will no longer have sensitivity in this area. As with any surgery, infection or a reaction to the anesthesia is always a remote possibility.
The pros to this type of cosmetic surgery include diminished back pain. Now that excess fat has been removed from her breasts, the patient usually finds that her back soon stops aching. Any self-consciousness over breast size and difficulty in finding clothes that fit properly will also soon become things of the past.