Breast reduction also known as reduction mammoplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of breasts and reshape them by removing excess breast tissue and skin.
The procedure aims to reduce the breasts to a size and shape proportionate to your body’s shape and size and therefore relieve the discomfort of having heavy breasts and at the same time improve the cosmesis of the breasts.
Pre-operatively the surgeon will draw on your breasts, marking the incision lines and making other relevant measurements decided on at the preoperative consultation. Once you are lying down the landmarks change as the breast assumes a different shape to that we observe when you are standing.
Breast Reduction surgery is performed with the patient under general anaesthesia or under sedation combined with local anaesthetic and analgesia. The surgeon will determine the new position of the nipple and estimate the volume of breast to be removed. Excess breast tissue is usually removed from inner and outer areas of the breast. Skin edges will be approximated after the excess breast tissue is removed and the breast will be reshaped.
The nipple is elevated into the new position. It is not detached from the underlying breast tissue. At the end of the operation a secure dressing is placed on the breasts. Drainage tubes may be inserted to remove any blood that may accumulate. If a drain is inserted it is usually removed the following day before discharge from hospital.
As with any surgery, breast reduction involves risks and potential complications such as haematoma (bleeding inside the breast tissue), infection, poor wound healing resulting in unfavourable scarring, a small degree of breast asymmetry, loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts (which may be temporary or permanent) and potential inability to breastfeed. Complete loss (necrosis) of the nipples is very rare and is the result of inadequate blood supply to the nipple from damage to the blood vessels during the operation.
Time off work usually varies depending on the type of job you do but most patients would feel that it takes them two to three weeks to return back to normal.