Breast reduction

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure which involves the reduction in the size of breasts; it may also involve lifting of the breasts. As with breast augmentation, this procedure is almost universally performed exclusively on women. It is formally known as reduction mammaplasty.

This procedure is designed for women who have large, pendulous breasts. They may experience neck, back and breathing problems or may feel uncomfortable with the size of their breasts in proportion to the rest of their body. They may also experience discomfort from bra straps leaving indentations in their skin. Reduction mammoplasty gives the recipient smaller, lighter and firmer breasts. The size of the areola and nipples may also be reduced.

Except in extreme cases, this procedure is only performed on individuals with fully developed breasts. It is not recommended for women who intend to breast feed. It is almost always performed under general anesthesia. During pre-operative visits, the doctor and patient may decide on new (usually higher) positions of the areolas and nipples.

The most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision which circles the areola. The incision extends downward, following the natural curve of the breast. Excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin is removed. Next, the nipple and areola are moved into their new position. Finally, remaining skin from both sides of the breast are brought down around the areola and reattached.

In some extreme cases, the areola and nipple may need to be completely removed for relocation. In these cases, sensation from the areola area will be lost.

Patients may take a few weeks for initial recovery, however it may take from six months to a year for the body to completely adjust to the new breast size. Some women may experience discomfort during their initial menstruation following the surgery due to the breasts swelling.

Scarring from this procedure is extensive and permanent. Initially the scars are lumpy and red, but gradually subside into their final smaller sizes as thin white lines. Though permanent, the surgeon can generally make the scars inconspicuous to the point that even low-cut tops may be worn without visible scars.

Breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes of all plastic surgical procedures. The recipient will be rid of the physical discomfort of large breasts, their body will look better proportioned and their clothes will fit them better.

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