Having larger breasts can seem desirable. However, due to back pain, sore shoulders and a lack of availability of supportive underwear, having large breasts also comes with significant challenges.
When the size of your breasts becomes an issue and is damaging your health, you may think there’s nothing you can do. However, breast reduction surgery (mammoplasty) can provide a possible solution.
In our latest blog post, we’re going to explain how breast reduction surgery works, what benefits it can bring and what recovery can look like. Discover the journey of breast reduction surgery with The McIndoe Centre.
How does breast reduction surgery work?
Breast reduction surgery is not the removal of your entire breast (mastectomy). Instead, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue to reduce the overall size.
As well as removing tissue, a mammoplasty will involve reshaping your breasts to give them a natural, yet lifted appearance. Your nipples may also need to be repositioned so they sit higher up on your breasts to match their new, smaller size.
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthetic so you will be asleep throughout the procedure.
Before you undergo breast reduction surgery, you will have a full consultation with your surgeon to discuss your desired results and what’s possible for them to achieve.
Is breast reduction surgery safe?
All surgeries carry potential risks. However, the precautions and safety measures taken by the hospital and medical team conducting your surgery make all the difference. As such, with an experienced surgical team, you can greatly reduce the risk of complications.
The complications associated with breast reduction surgery can include:
- Loss of nipple sensation after repositioning
- Scarring from the incisions
- Blood clots
- Excess skin growth around your scars which needs to be surgically removed
In very rare cases, patients may have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic used.
Generally, breast reduction surgery is very safe and the overall risk of complications is low. If you have any questions about the potential complications of a breast reduction, be sure to speak with your surgeon who will be able to provide you with answers and put your mind at ease.
Breast reduction surgery benefits
Having breast reduction surgery can provide you with many benefits related to more than just the new size of your breasts.
Benefits of breast reduction surgery include:
- Reduction in discomfort and pain – many women with large breasts experience back, chest and shoulder pain daily due to the extra weight and tension it puts on their bodies. By reducing excess tissue and lifting the breasts, the pressure can be released and the weight of your chest decreased.
- Improvements in your posture – large breasts are heavy and pull your posture forward, making it harder for you to stand up straight. Over time, this poor posture causes pain. Once your breasts have been reduced in size, you will find it much easier to maintain proper posture and notice a reduction in general aches and pains.
- Changed appearance – when your breasts are reduced in size, they are also reshaped and lifted. This change can give you the confidence to wear the clothes you want without feeling self-conscious and help prevent sagging as you age.
- Enhanced overall physical and mental wellbeing – with the many problems that having large breasts causes, a reduction surgery can make a big impact on both your physical and mental health. Without daily pain and discomfort, your mental health can receive a much-deserved boost too.
Breast reduction surgery can provide the key to pain relief and increased self-confidence and make a real impact on your daily life.
Am I a good candidate?
Breast reduction surgery is essentially suitable for anyone who desires smaller breasts and is physically well enough for the operation. However, there are some things you need to take into account.
These factors can include:
- The current size of your breasts and your desired size – you need to be realistic with your goals. For example, wanting to go from extremely large breasts to a very small A-cup in size might not be achievable. You will need a full consultation with your surgeon to determine the right size for you.
- Your overall physical health – underlying health conditions and certain medications can potentially cause complications during surgery so you must discuss your health with your surgeon beforehand.
- Your personal motivations for wanting smaller breasts – this should be a decision made by you for your body. You can discuss your decision with your surgeon and loved ones, but ultimately the decision is yours.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, book a consultation with The McIndoe Centre.
Preparing for breast reduction surgery
Before you undergo breast reduction surgery, you must have a full consultation with a qualified surgeon. Your surgeon will be able to assess your current health as well as take photos of and measure your breasts to provide you with realistic expectations of what can be achieved with the surgery.
You may also need to have pre-surgical testing carried out, such as a mammogram, to ensure your breasts are healthy and there are no signs of cancer.
You will be advised to refrain from smoking for at least six weeks before and after your surgery. Medications may be stopped or lessened if they can potentially cause you to bleed more during surgery. Generally, excessive bleeding in surgery is caused by blood thinners (anticoagulants) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
On the day of your surgery, you will be asked to fast for a certain number of hours and you will need to arrange transport to drive you to and from the hospital.
How long does breast reduction surgery take?
The duration of the surgery is dependent on many different factors, such as:
- The complexity of the procedure — more drastic reductions can take longer
- If you are combining other procedures with the mammoplasty at the same time, for example, breast asymmetry surgery
- If any complications arise during the procedure
On average, a breast reduction surgery can take between two and four hours.
Breast reduction surgery recovery
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room and provided with pain relief medication to ensure you are comfortable. You may have a drain fitted into each breast to reduce the risk of infection and promote healing by removing excess fluid.
Recovering from breast reduction surgery can take between two and six weeks and you may need at least two weeks off from your regular activities and duties.
You will not be able to drive for several weeks either, so you may need to arrange transport during your recovery. You will need to wear a supportive bra, or a compression bra, during your recovery to take the strain off your stitches and reduce swelling. You will also need to limit activities where you lift your elbows higher than your shoulders.
You must attend follow-up appointments during your recovery period to ensure everything is healing as it should and for your progress to be assessed.
The speed of your recovery will depend on your overall health and how well you follow the aftercare advice of your surgeon. If you have any questions during your recovery, do not hesitate to get back in touch with your surgeon.
Recovery is gradual and will take some time before you can completely return to normal. A good recovery process is vital and shouldn’t be rushed.
Things to consider when deciding to undergo a breast reduction
While breast reduction surgery can provide you with both physical and mental benefits, it’s important to be realistic about the procedure. Recovery isn’t quick or easy, so you need to be prepared. You also need to understand the limitations of the procedure and what realistic results look like.
It’s important to have emotional support before and after your breast reduction surgery. It’s normal to feel nervous beforehand, so having someone there can keep you feel calm. After your surgery, you won’t be able to do a lot for yourself, especially during the first two weeks. Having a supportive loved one on hand to support you during these initial stages can ensure you don’t do anything to set your recovery back.
Book a consultation at The McIndoe Centre
Breast reduction surgery can be a transformative procedure for women who are struggling with the discomfort of large breasts and looking to rebuild their self-confidence. With the help of an experienced breast surgeon, you can achieve natural-looking, realistic results that boost your self-esteem and alleviate pain.
If you’re considering a breast reduction, book a consultation with The McIndoe Centre. Our highly experienced breast surgeons will ensure you receive dedicated care and support as well as your desired results.
News and articles
We offer a range of news and blog articles to enable people to make more informed decisions when it comes to the treatments we have at The McIndoe Centre.