Breast reduction – Recovery and possible Risks
Why choose breast reduction?
- Women choose this procedure because of a number of different reasons. They;
- suffer with uneven (asymmetrical) breasts
- have suffered with back, neck or shoulder pain as a result of their heavy breasts
- do not like their large breasts as they can interfere with their normal daily activities and ability to exercise in comfort
- suffer from skin irritation due to their heavy breasts, particularly in hot weather
- feel limited by the fashion restrictions large breasts cause
- feel that their self esteem, confidence or relationships are affected by concerns and feelings about their breast size
The Procedure In detail
Techniques for breast reduction vary slightly between surgeons and according to the individual needs of each case. The incision methods are shaped in an ‘anchor-like’ or ‘midline’ appearance, leaving a scar which extends around the darker tissue surrounding the nipple (areola) and extending down the midline of the lower segment of the breast and then following the natural crease line beneath the breast. Another technique involves an S-shaped incision, leaving a scar which extends around the areola and across the lower outside aspect of the breast, which finishes in the natural crease line beneath the breast (single scar).
The breast reduction operation is a relatively major procedure so the operated area is usually quite numb following surgery. Patients often express that they experience a surprising lack of post-operative pain, however, analgesic tablets (pain killers) are provided for any discomfort experienced.
The return of nipple sensitivity following surgery is entirely variable from patient to patient. Nipple sensation may be reduced whilst surgical wounds heal, although occasionally patients will permanently lose some or all of the feeling in one or both nipples.
Breast feeding capability after reduction surgery may be decreased.
In the early days following discharge, patients are strongly advised to stay at home and to avoid any level of activity that would put undue strain on the new wounds. Patients are also advised to wear a soft, supportive bra, which does not have an underwire and to keep their post-operative dressings clean and dry until they return to hospital. Suture glue is applied to all wounds.
Patients will be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they perform, but it is usual to take around two to three weeks off from work and to refrain from any strenuous upper body exercise for at least six weeks following surgery.
It can take up to 14 days for initial swelling and bruising to settle to an acceptable appearance, but residual swelling will settle down gradually over several months. Typically the fine incisions and subsequent scars that are made by performing this procedure are well hidden in the natural breast crease, or arm pit, or in the pigmented margin (areola) surrounding the nipple area. Every surgeon's breast augmentation procedure technique can differ slightly and wounds can be sutured (stitched) with either dissolvable or removable fine line sutures, or by surgical glue. Sutures are typically removed 10-14 days following surgery.
All surgery involves an element of risk from developing complications. However, cosmetic surgery is usually undertaken voluntarily and only when the presenting patient is in good health. Therefore the probability of experiencing complications following this type of surgery are substantially lower than those undergoing surgery for ill health.
Smoking may adversely affect wound healing and heavy smokers may be precluded from having this type of surgery as a result.
Risks such as wound healing, nipple necrosis (lack of blood supply to the nipple), infection, asymmetry, alteration in sensitivity and scarring will all be discussed openly at consultation, as well as our scrupulous efforts to manage and minimise these risks to their lowest possible potential.
The appearance of surgical scars, which generally fade progressively after surgery, are a highly individual matter. Usually, scars mature, soften and fade to a cosmetically acceptable level at around 12 months following surgery. Occasionally, patients can develop red, unsightly, firm scars, known as hypertrophic scarring or keloids, which may require further corrective treatment.
The process of healing and risk of scarring will be explained to you by your surgeon at consultation as results from scarring can never be guaranteed.
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