What is Breast Reduction?
Reduction mammoplasty, commonly known as breast reduction, is a procedure which reduces the size of the breasts by removing excess breast tissue and skin. The areola (the pigmented skin around the nipple) may be reduced and repositioned as well. Breast reduction is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures.
Who is a good candidate for Breast Reduction?
Candidates must be in good health, have no active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions, and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. Many patients choose breast reduction in order to achieve a greater sense of freedom in their physical activities, clothing styles, and to improve self-confidence. Additionally, some patients choose breast reduction to alleviate chronic pain, including neck, back, and shoulder pain. Reduction mamoplasty may also reduce headaches, shoulder-grooving from bra-straps, and may help alleviate upper extremity nerve problems due to posture problems.
NOTE: You may not be a candidate for surgery if you smoke, have recently quit smoking, or if you are exposed to second-hand smoke. Primary and secondary smoking decreases blood flow to the body's tissues. This can result in prolonged wound healing, skin loss, infection, increased scarring, and a number of other complications depending on the kind of procedure performed. Click here for more information related to smoking.
How is the procedure performed?
The technique chosen for your breast reduction will be determined by your anatomy, your surgeon's preferences and your desired results.
The most common procedure involves a three-part incision. First, an incision is made around the areola. Another is made vertically, from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third incision is made horizontally beneath the breast, following the natural curve of the breast crease. The excess breast tissue, fat and skin are removed, and the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola is usually reduced in size. Skin from above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
Options to Enhance the Procedure
Your surgeon may recommend combining liposuction with the procedure to improve body contour, especially on the sides of the breasts.
List of Physicians Who Perform Breast Reduction
For details about education, experience, and specialty in this clinical area, please visit these physician profile pages:
Planning for Your Surgery
First, schedule a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon. Communication is vital in reaching your goals. You will have the opportunity to discuss your goals and the results you'd like to achieve. Your surgeon will work with you to reach an understanding about what you can expect from this procedure and what long-term benefits you will experience. Every patient is different, and your surgeon will choose the surgical technique and treatment plan that is right for you. During your initial consultation:
- Provide a complete medical history. Include information about any previous surgical procedures; past and present medical conditions; and all medications or herbal supplements you are taking.
- Expect your surgeon to conduct a physical examination of the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of skin and placement of the nipples
- Measurements and photographs will be taken for your medical record.
- Be prepared to discuss possible risks and complications of the procedure.
Preparing for Your Surgery
You will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for your surgery. A pre-operative information packet will be provided that explains everything you should do and know before your surgery date. Your surgeon will instruct you on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and which vitamins and medications should be taken or avoided. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis. You may also want to make arrangements for someone to help you out for a day or two after you leave the hospital.
Where Your Surgery Will be Performed
Your procedure will take place in the University of Michigan Hospitals' state-of-the-art surgical suites and recovery areas. The majority of these procedures are completed on an out-patient basis.
Types of Anesthesia
General anesthetic is used so that you will sleep and remain comfortable throughout the procedure. Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is also an option for some patients.
After Your Surgery
Click here for information about how to care for yourself after the surgery and what to expect during your recovery. It is very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions. This will promote healing and improve progress towards your new physical appearance. Also, it is important that you attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and answer any questions or concerns you may have.