Breast reduction surgery removes extra breast tissue, fat, and skin and can significantly improve your quality of life by relieving pain and creating a more ideally proportioned figure. In addition to reducing the size of your breasts, Dr. Gallus will reshape and reposition your breasts so that any sagging (ptosis) that is a result of large heavy breasts is corrected. The goal of breast reduction surgery is to create natural-looking, youthful, and proportionate breasts that allow you to dramatically improve your quality of life. Many women who undergo breast reduction surgery can’t believe that they didn’t do it years earlier! It is one of the many breast enhancement procedures offered at Restore SD Plastic Surgery.
The Best Candidates
- Have large breasts that are not proportionate to your frame
- Struggle to find clothes that fit properly and are flattering
- Have persistent bra strap grooving and have trouble finding a bra that fits and supports you
- Wear two sports bras to exercise or feel limited in your ability to play sports
- Experience rashes or skin irritation under your breasts
- Are self-conscious about the large size of your breasts
- Are not taking blood thinner medications or using nicotine products
- Are healthy and a stable weight
Breast reduction surgery has the highest satisfaction rate of all plastic surgery procedures. For most women, the relief of symptoms is immediate and they never look back!
If you are actively breastfeeding, recently stopped breastfeeding, or a young woman whose breasts who are not fully developed, this is not the best time for surgery. We recommend waiting nine months after breastfeeding is finished before undergoing breast surgery to allow the lactational changes to stabilize and minimize the risk of complications. Those who are actively trying to lose weight should also postpone surgery until weight loss is completed since weight changes after surgery will impact your results. Because many people get caught in a vicious cycle of exercise/can’t exercise due to breast related symptoms, please let us know if you need a weight loss consultation or a referral to a trusted nutritionist or personal trainer.
Breast reduction surgery is often considered therapeutic and may be covered by insurance. Each insurance plan has its own specific criteria and your Restore SD surgeon will work with you to determine your coverage status. A pre-determination or pre-certification may be required for insurance coverage, so please allow enough time in your planning to deal with the necessary insurance requirements.
Breast reduction surgery can be safely performed as an outpatient procedure in several ways. The most common techniques offer a consistent and reliable method of reduction that alleviate your symptoms and are tailored to your body and goals.
Anchor Incision Breast Lift
The most frequent technique employed by Restore SD surgeons is the “anchor-type” incision pattern utilizing a superior-medial pedicle. The anchor pattern includes an incision around the areola (pigmented area around the nipple) that extends vertically down and connects to a horizontal incision that is hidden in the lower breast crease. Using the anchor pattern to remove excess skin and breast tissue allows for maximal tissue to be removed and for powerful reshaping of the breast. The superior-medial pedicle provides a consistently healthy tissue base for the nipple and areola. Although there are other pedicle options, we feel this preserves the upper fullness of the breast and cleavage thus creating an aesthetically pleasing natural appearance. This technique is best for women who require more than 500- 800 grams of tissue removal or have a great deal of excess skin.
Vertical Breast Lift
Another common technique is the vertical breast reduction. This is also referred to as a short-scar or limited-scar breast reduction. This surgery limits the incisions to a “lollipop” type incision. The incision extends around the areola and vertically down. It does not include the horizontal lower breast crease incision. It also preserves the nipple and areola on a superior medial pedicle, preserving the desired upper pole of the breast. This technique is best for women who may need smaller reductions in size and have minimal skin excess. Your Restore SD surgeon will take measurements and have a detailed discussion with you about the best technique for your body and breast type.
Liposuction is the third technique available for reducing the size of a large breast. It is performed through very small incisions and is effective in women who have minimal skin excess and good skin elasticity as well as breast tissue that is soft and not fibrous. Most often liposuction is used as an adjunct to one of the above techniques. It is a great option for addressing those annoying side boobs! Liposuction as an adjunct to breast reduction may not be covered by insurance and your Restore SD surgeon will discuss treatment options with you as part of an individualized plan.
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia to offer maximum comfort and safety. We perform all surgeries at an accredited outpatient surgery center or hospital. The surgery usually takes 2 – 3 hours depending on your starting breast size and individual surgical plan. Your Restore SD surgeon will carefully mark planned incisions to properly reposition your nipple and areola and determine the amount of tissue to remove prior to surgery and review the final plan with you to ensure there are no last-minute questions and confirm your goal size. After anesthesia is administered, your surgeon will make incisions and remove the excess breast tissue while carefully preserving the blood supply to the nipple and areola. Once the tissue is removed the incisions will be closed using absorbable suture. There will be no external sutures to remove later. Drains are not typically used unless liposuction was a significant part of the procedure. Surgical dressings are applied and you will be placed in a post-surgical compression bra. At Restore SD Plastic Surgery, your postoperative pain control and comfort are very important to us. We typically use Exparel, a long-acting pain medication, that is injected near the end of surgery and is designed to decrease pain as well as the amount of strong narcotic pain medication needed during recovery.
After surgery is completed you will be able to go home with a responsible adult. Ideally, this loved-one or friend will be able to stay with you during the first few days of recovery. Your breast-related back pain is typically relieved right after surgery but some surgical pain is expected and will be treated with pain medications. Initially, the area around the nipple and most of the breast skin is numb but sensation returns over the next few months. Most women can return to work after 2 weeks. Normal daily activities like showering, eating and light activity such as walking can be resumed within 24 hours after surgery. Some post-operative swelling is normal and generally resolves within the first 4-6 weeks after surgery. You should refrain from intense physical activity for 4 weeks. During the recovery period, you will have follow-up with your Restore SD surgeon and will be guided back to your usual activities. Most complications occur from getting too active too early, so select a surgical date that allows an appropriate amount of time to heal and gradually return to your more vigorous activities.
The Combined Procedures
As mentioned in techniques, traditional breast reduction surgery is commonly combined with liposuction as a means to further sculpt and define your chest. This cosmetic procedure can improve results in the patient with breast tissue and localized fat that extends on the lateral chest wall (side boobs).
Breast reduction surgery can also be safely combined with other body contouring procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction of other body areas, upper arm lift in massive weight loss patients, and fat grafting.