Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)
- Elective non-cosmetic procedure
- Possible rebates from medicare and private health insurance
- Possible hospital fees covered by private health insurance
- 1 overnight stay in a private hospital encouraged
Breast Reduction is an operation with one of the highest patient satisfaction ratings performed by plastic surgeons. It is performed to reduce the size of the breasts and at the same time improve the shape and position of the breasts and areolar’s on the chest wall. Overly large breasts can cause symptoms such as neck and back pain. A breast reduction can improve or alleviate these symptoms. Often women can have self-esteem and lifestyle issues because of large breasts. There are a number of techniques for breast reduction. All involve the removal of some skin and breast tissue, reshaping the remaining breast tissue, and moving the areola to suit the new breast.
What happens at the first consultation?
At your first consultation Dr Norris will focus on what you hope to achieve and what you would like your breasts to look like. It is important to understand that any discussion about your breasts should take into consideration not only a reduction in size, but also the shape, proportion, and position of the breasts on the chest wall. Dr Norris will evaluate your breasts by taking measurements and photographs for your medical records, and assessing your skin tone, the condition of breast and fatty tissue, and position of your nipples. Dr Norris will discuss in detail with you how the breast reduction operation is performed, where the scars are placed, and what types of reduction are available to best give you the result you desire. You will be provided with a detailed quotation which will outline surgical costs that might be covered by Medicare and your Health Fund.
If you decide to proceed with surgery, Dr Norris will see you again at a second consultation. This allows you to ask any new questions you may have, discuss anything you are not sure about, make a final decision on the most appropriate type of reduction for you, and give you a date for your procedure.
Dr Norris insists that all patients stop smoking 2 months before embarking on any type of cosmetic surgery.
How is the operation performed?
Dr Norris performs breast reduction in a fully accredited hospital. The anaesthetist that Dr Norris works with will give you a general anaesthetic. You can expect the operation to take between 3-4 hours.
There are a number of techniques for breast reduction, which determines where the incisions are made and the subsequent scars.
This will most commonly involve restricting your scar to one that encircles the areola (periareolar scar) and one that passes downwards from the areola to the fold beneath the breast (vertical scar).
Anchor Scar – Dr Norris tends to use this technique in severe cases of breast ptosis or very large breasts.
Lollypop Scar – This is Dr Norris’s preferred technique. The majority of breast reductions procedures end up with this scar (short scar technique).
Peri Areolar – Dr Norris occasionally use this technique
Not all women have breasts that are suitable for the short-scar technique and will require the more traditional technique such as the anchor incision. The procedure usually involves moving the nipples to a higher position on the chest wall during the breast reduction. In the vast majority of cases they remain attached to their blood and nerve supplies when they are moved. In very large breast reductions this may not be possible, in which case the nipple-areola complex is completely removed and grafted back onto the breast after it has been reduced. Liposuction might be used in addition to surgical reduction to further enhance the result of your procedure.
At the end of the operation a drain is placed beneath each breast which will usually be removed 1-2 days later. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures to save you the inconvenience of having them removed. A dressing is applied over the incisions and you will leave the hospital wearing your supportive surgical bra.
What happens after the surgery?
- Procedure usually takes 3hrs.
- Most patients will be instructed to stay overnight in hospital and go home the next day.
- You may or may not have your drains removed in hospital. These will then be removed in Dr Norris’s rooms at your next appointment.
- You will require a friend, family member or partner to drive you home from hospital.
- You will leave with written postoperative instructions and a prescription for pain-relief.
- You will not be able to drive for up to 1 week possibly 2.
- Daily short showers permitted, ensuring your waterproof dressings are dried adequately.
- Sleep on your back, elevated by a few pillows for the first 6 weeks. This will help reduce your swelling.
- You will experience the most discomfort in the first 3 or 4 days after the surgery.
- Your breasts and nipples will be bruised, swollen, tender, and sensitive to touch.
- You can return to normal duties after 2 weeks.
- Swelling may take up to 6 weeks to settle.
- You can start light exercise at two weeks after the procedure.
- Return to regular exercising after 6 weeks or as instructed by your Dr Norris.
- You can return to work two weeks after the operation unless work involves heavy use of the upper body or lifting, in which case 4 weeks off work should be allowed.
- You will have an appointment 1 week after the procedure to check and change the dressings.
- Keloid Scarring Where your scars begin to look raised and lumpy and even darker in colour. If this begins to happen please inform Dr Norris and he can look at treating it with steroid injections. Wearing your advised silicon gel strips after surgery 24/7 will aid in preventing this from happening.
- Haematoma A collection of blood in the breast pocket, which is either naturally absorbed into the body or sometimes requires further surgical drainage. Symptoms include swelling, pain, bruising, hot to touch, or itchy breast.
- Infection Infections are unpredictable and normally occur in the first 3 weeks after surgery and treated immediately with antibiotics.
- Numb/sensitive Nipples This is common and normally resolves itself after a short period of time. Sometimes it can take up to 6-12 months to regain full feeling in your nipples.
- Asymmetry Though Dr Norris makes every attempt to create perfect symmetry, sometimes this is not always possible and you must expect that some minor asymmetry might be visible after 12 months. Perfectly similar breasts is not possible naturally, therefore a realistic expectation is needed.