Breast Reduction

What is a breast reduction procedure and why is it performed?

A breast reduction procedure can help women of all ages to overcome the discomfort caused by large and heavy breasts. The procedure involves the surgical removal of breast fat, glandular tissue and skin, under general anaesthetic and usually involves a 1-2 night stay in hospital to recover. The objectives of breast reduction surgery is to produce a smaller, lighter, improved breast shape, complementary and proportionate to the rest of an individual's figure.

What kind of women requests this procedure?

  • Women of all ages who are unhappy with the general size and shape of their breasts
  • Women who suffer from uneven (asymmetrical) breasts
  • Women who have suffered with back, neck or shoulder pain as a result of their breast size
  • Women who do not like the way overly large breasts can interfere with their normal daily activities and ability to exercise in comfort
  • Women who suffer with skin irritation due to their heavy breasts, particularly in hot weather
  • Women who feel limited by the clothes they can wear due to their large breasts
  • Women who feel that their self-esteem, confidence or relationships are affected by concerns and feelings about their breast size

What are the results like?

This procedure can provide a better quality of life, freeing women from the considerable physical and practical difficulties caused by overly large breasts.  Women who have had successful breast reduction surgery frequently report that their self confidence and feeling of well being is boosted beyond all expectations following surgery.

This advanced corrective procedure needs to be performed by a Consultant Plastic Surgeon who is fully qualified and well experienced. However, it is important to note that no matter how high the surgical standards, this procedure cannot be performed without the introduction of visible surgical scars on the operated area.

How is a breast reduction procedure performed and what is the recovery period like?

A basic breast reduction procedure involves the surgical reduction of breast tissue and the restoration of contour through a series of carefully planned and measured excisions. Patients are fully anaesthetised throughout the procedure, which can take an average of 2 hours to perform.

Techniques for breast reduction vary slightly between surgeons and according to the individual needs of each patient. The most common incision methods leave a scar that extends around the darker tissue surrounding the nipple (areola) and extends down the midline of the lower segment of the breast and then follows the natural crease line beneath the breast.

Patients often express that they experience a surprising lack of post-operative pain, however, analgesic tablets (pain killers) are provided for any discomfort experienced.

The return of nipple sensitivity following surgery is entirely variable from one patient to patient. Nipple sensation may be reduced whilst surgical wounds heal, although occasionally patients will permanently lose some or all of the feeling in one or both nipples. Breast feeding capability after reduction surgery may be decreased.

It is usual for patients to take around a fortnight away from work following this type of surgery and to refrain from any strenuous upper body exercise for at least 8 weeks.

Are there any risks involved in breast reduction surgery?

All surgery involves an element of risk from developing complications. However, cosmetic surgery is usually undertaken voluntarily and only when a patient is in good health. Therefore, the probability of experiencing complications following this kind of surgery is substantially lower than for those who undergo surgery due to ill health.

Smoking may adversely affect wound healing and heavy smokers may be precluded from having this type of surgery as a result.

Risks such as bleeding, infection, asymmetry, alteration in sensitivity and scarring will all be discussed openly at consultation, as well as our scrupulous efforts to manage and minimise these risks.

The appearance of surgical scars (which generally fade progressively after surgery) is a highly individual matter. Usually, scars mature, soften and fade to a cosmetically acceptable level at around 12 months following surgery. Occasionally, patients can develop red, unsightly, firm scars, known as hypertrophic scarring or keloids, which may require further corrective treatment. The process of healing and risk of scarring will be explained to you by your surgeon at your consultation.

What next?

The importance of a thorough pre-operative consultation with the Consultant Plastic Surgeon who will actually perform your operation cannot be overstressed. At One Healthcare, each consultation is tailored to an individual's needs. The process will always involve a thorough evaluation of your present and past medical history and a physical examination of the area of concern.

Your surgeon will take time to listen to your concerns regarding your present breast size, and will take care to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of what can be done to help, the procedure itself, the recovery stages and a clear explanation of the risks involved. You will need time to consider all these factors before making a decision regarding breast reduction.

You are positively encouraged to ask any questions that you may have and to look at photographs of others who have had the same type of surgery that you are considering. If you would find it helpful, our advisory team may be able to arrange for you to speak with a previous One Healthcare patient who is willing to discuss their experience with you over the telephone.

How to arrange a consultation with a fully qualified Consultant Surgeon with GMC specialist registration Please feel free to call our Customer Service Advisory Team at your local One Healthcare Hospital who will be pleased to answer any queries, or make an appointment for you to meet with a Consultant Surgeon who has specialist skills and experience in breast reduction surgery.

Our Customer Advisory Service is personally manned between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. We will also be happy to discreetly return your call if you leave a short message, forwarding name and telephone number on our confidential answer phone after office hours.

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