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Common Questions about Breast Reductions

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 6 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Cosmetic Surgery Breast Surgeon Breast

Women who are considering undergoing cosmetic surgery to reduce the size of their breasts often have many questions about the procedure and their life after the surgery. Below are some basic answers to common questions about breast reductions.

What Happens During Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery, also called reduction mammoplasty, actually has relatively few steps involved. This surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthesia, though the technique used may vary depending upon the patient, her breast composition, how much reduction is requested and the surgeon's general advice. Generally the first step of the surgery begins with the surgeon making an incision (which may be a circle around the areola, a key hole pattern around the areola and extending vertically downwards, or an inverted T pattern). The surgeon will then remove fat, glandular tissue and skin either through the incision or via liposuction. The surgeon will then reposition the nipple and even resize the areola if it is required. The surgeon then closes the incision with sutures (stitches). These sutures may dissolve or they may need to be removed at a later time. When the woman wakes up, further instructions will be issued for the recovery period.

Does Breast Reduction Surgery Leave Scars?

Most breast reduction surgeries do leave scars because of the incisions that must be made near or around the nipple. These scars may be wide, but they usually fade and/or smooth out after several months. Before attempting to alleviate these scars, women should consult their doctor or surgeon about what might best bring the desired result.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Reduction Mammoplasty?

As with any surgery, there are a few risks involved with reduction mammoplasty. Excessive bleeding during or after surgery, infection, problems with wound healing, scar tissue discolouring or becoming lumpy, differences in skin and nipple sensation, nipple numbness, changes in nipple colour, nerve damage, fluid build up in the breast, and even different sized breasts may all result from breast reduction surgery.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Breast Reduction?

Like most cosmetic surgeries, breast reductions will have a different recovery time depending upon the woman involved. However, women generally have bandages removed just a few days after surgery and can be back to a fairly normal lifestyle within a week. The breasts may feel tender, sore or ache for a few weeks, so women should avoid vigorous activity during this time. Further instructions on recovery will be given by the surgeon.

Can Women Who Have Had Breast Reduction Surgery Still Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding may or may not be possible following breast reduction surgery. There is no way to guarantee whether a woman will or will not be able to breastfeed before the breast reduction surgery is completed, however women who want to breastfeed should discuss this with their surgeon so that (s)he is aware of this desire and can potentially adapt his or her technique accordingly.

Where Can I Find Out More About Reduction Mammoplasty?

Surgeons experienced with cosmetic surgery related to the breasts should be able to tell you more about reduction mammoplasty, however not every cosmetic surgeon is experienced in this specific procedure. Contacting the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk) will offer more information on surgeons experienced with reduction mammoplasty in the UK.

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