Neck and back pain, irritation under the skin of the breasts, discomfort when walking, self-esteem problems, and respiratory distress, are some of the symptoms of the thousands of women who suffer from excess volume in their breasts.
To correct it, one of the most common surgeries is breast reduction or reduction mammoplasty. Thanks to technological advances, today it is a much safer intervention with a minimum of complications.
What is breast reduction?
Breast reduction or reduction mammoplasty is a surgical intervention that aims to reduce the size of the breasts and areola, as the case may be, so that these are more symmetrical and proportional to the patient’s body.
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This procedure is performed through the removal of breast tissue, fat, and excess skin, giving the breasts smaller appearances, with better shape, and allowing the patient to have a feeling of greater firmness.
The breast reduction is within the group of surgeries chest with other related surgeries such as:
- Chest lift
- Breast reconstruction
- Breast augmentation
How do I know if I am a good candidate for a breast reduction procedure?
A good candidate for breast reduction intervention should present some of these conditions:
- Too voluminous and heavy breasts according to body proportion
- One breast is bigger than the other
- Heavy, drooping breasts with areolas and nipples pointing downward
- Present constant pain in the back, neck, and shoulder due to the weight of the breasts
- Have irritation and pain under the skin of the chest
- Low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with the appearance of the breasts
- Physical limitations when doing sports due to the volume of the breasts
According to the specialists, a breast reduction can be performed at any age, but in most cases, the surgeon recommends waiting until the bust is fully developed.
In addition, they recommend that if patients want to undergo breast reduction surgery before becoming mothers and breastfeeding in the future, they should discuss it with their plastic surgeon, since this intervention could affect breastfeeding.
A recently published in the reference portal Nature states that “Women with large breasts suffer symptoms such as neck and back pain that possibly lead to chronic headaches and impaired range of motion. In some cases, the breasts Large breasts can also cause mastopathy and even skin ulceration in the inframammary fold. In addition to the physiological burden, large breasts can cause severe psychological distress. ”
How do I choose my plastic surgeon?
The specialty of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is recognized by all the countries of the European Union and is in constant development and evolution. That is why when correctly choosing the doctor who is going to perform the surgery the patient must be informed about:
- The years of experience of the specialist as well as his certification and title of Specialist in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery in Spain.
- Check your website or blog for l her experiences and comments of other patients.
- It certifies that the facilities in which the surgery will be performed have all the basic standards, such as adequate facilities, and sanitary standards, among others, ensuring the patient’s proper treatment and recovery.
How is the first consultation with the doctor?
On the other hand, during this first visit, you will be asked about the breast size you want and any other modifications that you would like to see made in terms of the asymmetry of the breasts and the shape of the areolas.
In addition, the surgeon will explain the various techniques and combinations of existing procedures to perform the intervention, according to the needs of each patient. Likewise, the specialist will frankly explain the expectations of the surgery, as well as the possible complications and risks that it entails.
Remember to tell your doctor if you intend to have children in the future and breastfeed since this surgery can present complications during breastfeeding.
What should I take into account before surgery?
The specifies to take the following considerations before surgery :
- Avoid taking aspirin or other medications that contain salicylates, for two weeks before and after the intervention.
- Use soap a germicidal soap all over the body during the days before surgery, such as Lactacyd.
- Bring a suitable surgical bra (which the surgeon will order) to wear after the operation
It is important to note that most specialists recommend not smoking or consuming alcohol during the days before and after the intervention, to facilitate the healing and oxygenation process of the patient.
How is breast reduction surgery performed?
The specialists, explain that the breast reduction operation is usually performed under general anesthesia. The intervention usually lasts between 2 and 4 hours depending on the case of each patient.
To successfully meet patient expectations, various techniques can be used and combined. Depending on the volume of the breasts and the degree of flaccidity of the skin, remodeling techniques are performed using different types of scars. The reduction can be carried out with a periareolar and vertical scar, which goes from the areola to the submammary groove, or in cases of large volume or very flaccid breasts, it is necessary to make an incision in the shape of an anchor or inverted T.
Thanks to these incisions, the surgeon can remove excess fat, breast tissue, and skin. If the patient has a very excessive volume, liposuction may be used.
When the surgeon has already managed to remove excess breast tissue, skin, and fat, he relocates the areola and the nipple in a higher position.
After the operation, the surgeon leaves small drainage tubes in the sinuses to help prevent fluid build-up. In addition to putting gauze dressings that will cover your breasts, along with a surgical bra.
What is the main post-operative care?
The main post-operative care that patients who undergo breast reduction surgery must take into account, as explained by specialists from them are the following:
- You are discharged between 24 and 48 hours after surgery.
- Before discharge, the drains are removed.
- The adhesive bandage is removed and a surgical bra is put on that the patient must wear for 2 or 3 weeks, day and night to relieve the sensation of pressure.
- You should not do any type of physical activity during the first 4-5 weeks after surgery.
- The surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to avoid any type of infection and pain relievers to alleviate postoperative discomfort.
- Be very careful not to get the wounds and dressings wet until the stitches have been removed. After that, you can bathe regularly, but worry that the area of the operation is completely dry.
- The patient will not be able to sunbathe for a week after the operation.
- Driving for two weeks is not recommended.
- Avoid touching wounds to avoid infection.
- After week 5 the patient will be able to resume her normal routine.
- The use of cosmetic creams is recommended to improve the appearance of post-operative scars after the stitches have been removed and when the doctor indicates.
What are the main benefits and results of breast reduction surgery?
It th clear that many benefits that the patient will undergo surgery after breast reduction, among which are:
- Improvement in the firmness and appearance of the breasts.
- The patient experiences a great improvement in the symptoms of back, shoulder, and neck pain.
- The patient significantly improves her quality of life.
- Regain your self-esteem and confidence.
- Improves your physical and respiratory functional capacity.
- Improvement in anxiety and depression levels.
Must take into account the following considerations or secondary effects s :
- You can present several postoperative discomforts such as bruises or edema that will gradually decrease.
- Discomfort or pain in the breasts.
- A small increase in body temperature, which is considered normal.
- You may have back discomfort, or tingling in the arms or hands. This is considered a normal side effect.
- The stitches are removed progressively and according to the evolution of each patient.
- Specialists recommend postoperative lymphatic drainage to avoid edema or inflammation.
Results of breast reduction
It is important to note that after a reduction mammoplasty intervention, permanent scars remain, but they will gradually disappear or become less noticeable as time progresses. The explains that “part of a technical correct suture and aftercare suitable with silicone sheets, it is helpful to make laser scars in the operating room to seek a better scar from the first moment. The Urgotouch laser, for example, is a diode laser that, with a single application in the operating room, we achieve a significant reduction in the volume of scars, which is especially important in breast reduction ”.
Even so, the results are quite satisfactory for the patient, who will immediately see a huge improvement in the appearance, shape, and size of her breasts.
On the other hand, the patient will feel quite relieved of all the discomforts that she had in the past due to the excessive volume of her breasts, such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain; as well as respiratory difficulties.
The final results are seen a few months after the operation. It is essential to bear in mind that the result is definitive and will last throughout the life of the patient, but the breasts can change due to hormonal stimuli such as pregnancy or weight gain – loss.
According to a scientific article published on the Nature medical portal, “reduction mammoplasty can reduce the burden on patients and significantly improve their quality of life.”
What are the main complications of breast reduction surgery?
As in any surgery or intervention, breast reduction can lead to certain complications or risks. These increase considerably if the person has health problems, is obese, or has a habit of smoking, since the skin is not oxygenated properly and the healing process is delayed.
Along these lines, explains that the main complications or risks of breast reduction surgery are:
- Possible infections, leading to fever or general malaise.
- Opening of the points.
- Generation of a seroma, which corresponds to the accumulation of fluids under the skin.
- If the person is a frequent smoker, they may present the risk of loss of a segment of the skin related to the areola, which is called necrosis in medical slang.
- Loss of sensation in the nipples.
- Difficulty breastfeeding in the future.
The presence of any of these symptoms should be checked immediately by your surgeon to determine the treatment to follow.
- Can I breastfeed after a reduction mammoplasty? The explains that a patient undergoing this surgery, should be aware that there is a possibility that can not breastfeed his baby, but if the areola and nipple have not been displaced and are connected with the milk ducts, the patient would be able to breastfeed.
- Will I keep my breasts and nipples sensitive? Probably yes. Although with this intervention there is a risk for women who have large breasts, they may suffer alterations and loss of sensitivity in the area of the areola or nipple and the skin of the breast. In addition, it is important to note that the recovery of sensitivity is slow, it takes at least between 6 months and a year, explains
- What is the recommended age for breast reduction? Dr. Martínez Gutiérrez recommends that this intervention be performed once the development of the breasts has been completed so that they do not suffer alterations again. In addition, always make sure that the patient is in perfect health to avoid any type of complication or risk.
- Can smoking alter the results of my reduction mammoplasty? Definitely yes. Not only for this particular surgery but also any surgical procedure, since the oxygenation of the tissues is reduced, preventing good healing,
- Is the shape of the nipple altered in breast reduction surgery? Should not. Everything will depend on what is decided jointly with the treating surgeon according to each particular case, emphasize the experts
- When can I wax my armpits after surgery? says you should leave at least one-week post-surgery to shave the underarm area.