Women with very large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight. Back and neck pain, skin irritation and skeletal deformities are common physical ailments. Unusually large breasts can also make a woman or a teenager feel extremely self-conscious. Breast reduction, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is designed for such women.
A breast reduction involves the removal of fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
In your initial consultation with Atlanta Breast Surgeon Dr. Colgrove, he will examine and take measurements of your breasts. He will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure, such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts and the condition of your skin. He will also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure. It is important to discuss your expectations openly. Every patient and every physician has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts.
The breast reduction surgery will be performed at Vinings Surgery Center in Atlanta. It will last between 2-4 hours and under general anesthesia. Techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast. Dr. Colgrove will remove excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and move the nipple and areola into their new position. He then will bring the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the new contour of the breast. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area.
Risks and Recovery
Breast reduction is not a simple operation, but it’s normally safe when performed by a qualified, skilled plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection or reaction to the anesthesia. Some patients develop small sores around their nipples after surgery; these can be treated with antibiotic creams. You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Colgrove’s advice both before and after surgery.
The procedure does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they’ll be covered by your bra or bathing suit. (Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.) Some patients may experience a permanent loss of feeling in their nipples or breasts.
After surgery you may feel some pain for the first couple of days and a small tube may be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for three or four weeks. Much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first week, but it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape.