What is a Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction and breast lift are technically very similar procedures with a breast reduction indicating a more significant removal of breast volume. Patients whose breasts have become larger than desired and perhaps deflated (known as breast ptosis) are generally candidates for this procedure. It involves repositioning the nipple-areola complex to a more desired, elevated location on the breast and reshaping the breast tissue that remains after removal of excess to a perkier, more elevated configuration.
Where will my incisions be?
Incisions are around the areola, from the border of the areola at 6 o’clock and in the fold of the breast. Incisions are closed with layers of sutures and dissolving sutures under the skin. Most breast reduction patients have a drain on each side which is removed once the drainage slows down, generally about a week or so. Incision care is simply cleaning with peroxide and applying Bacitracin until the incision are more healed. At about 2 or 3 weeks postop, depending on how the incisions look, silicone scar gel is started to help the healing incisions soften and mature.
How long will surgery be?
A breast reduction generally takes about 2 and a half to 3 hours.
What kind of Anesthesia will I have?
General anesthesia is used for breast reduction because it is safe and very well controlled. West Magnolia Surgery Center, on site at West Magnolia Plastic Surgery, is fully accredited by the AAAHC. Local anesthesia in injected into the incisions once the patient is under anesthesia for enhanced postoperative comfort.
Breast Reduction Recovery Process:
Patients leave the surgery center with a surgical bra in place to secure their dressings. The patient’ s caretaker will have been educated on how to manage and record the drainage and instructions for incision care reviewed. Most patients have very little soreness after surgery and if any it is along the incisions. All patients are given prescriptions for pain medication and instructions on how to use it preoperatively. Once the drains are removed, patients can take a ‘real’ shower. By that time incisions are generally healed sufficiently to proceed to silicone scar therapy.
What are the risks?
The risks of breast reduction include bleeding, infection, asymmetry, loss of nipple blood supply and loss of nipple sensation. The most common complication I see is a small separation of the incision where multiple points come together: along the areola and the vertical scar and the vertical scar and the scar in the inframammary fold. Sometimes a buried suture becomes exposed necessitating removal in the office. Once a patient is healed, if there are concerns for symmetry or the appearance of a scar, office surgery can be performed to address this.
How do I prepare for surgery?
A preoperative appointment is scheduled approximately 2 weeks prior to surgery. At this time, all consents and recommendations, instructions for before and after surgery are reviewed. A long list of medications to avoid is reviewed and prescriptions are given for postoperative management. The day before surgery, all patients are called to review final questions, confirm nothing has occurred since the patient was seen at preop that might require rescheduling of the procedure and to finalize arrival time at the facility. All patients are given ample information at the preoperative appointment regarding a time line of what to expect in the recovery process and when.