The Best Candidates for Breast Reduction

Dr. Curran Smith

by Dr. Curran Smith | August 16, 2010 @ 10:00AM

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                                                                                   Breast reduction is performed for both physical relief and cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by large, usually sagging, breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort.

Most patients on whom we perform this procedure are mature women who have lived with their problem for a number of years (too many years according to most of my patients). Occasionally, we will perform breast reduction on young girls who are having severe problems, who are psychologically mature enough to understand the procedure and anticipated results, and who have strong family support. The inability to breastfeed and loss of nipple sensation are risks of the procedure. However, the majority of our patients do maintain nipple sensation and some have gone on to breastfeed. The technique that Dr. Smith uses the vast majority of the time leaves breast tissue directly beneath the nipple and consequently most patients do not lose sensation. On rare occasions, for patients with massive breasts, it becomes necessary to temporarily remove the nipple and then replace it as a graft back on the breast, and, of course, these patients will not have nipple sensation nor have any possibility to breastfeed. It is important that the patient be fully aware of the scars that result from breast reduction and that they are a "trade off" for the benefits of the procedure. In spite of the scars (which in most cases do fade in time), we have to date, in over 20 years of performing this procedure, never had a patient who has expressed any regrets for having had the operation.

Planning Your Breast Reduction

In your initial no-fee consultation*, it's important to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith will examine and measure your breasts, and help determine if the procedure will be covered by your insurance company, or if it is cosmetic in nature. Dr. Smith will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure, anticipated results, and risks involved.

The Procedure

Techniques for breast surgery 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. Smith removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, and moves the nipple and areola into their newly elevated position. Skin from both sides of the breast is then brought down and wrapped around the remaining breast tissue, producing the new contour of the breast. Liposuction may also be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area next to the breast.

After Your Surgery

After the surgery, you'll be wrapped in an elastic bandage or placed in a surgical bra over gauze dressings.

You may feel some pain for the first couple of days -- especially when you move around or cough--and some discomfort for a week or more. Dr. Smith will prescribe medication to lessen the pain.

The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, though you'll continue wearing the surgical bra around the clock for several weeks and your stitches will be removed in one to three weeks.

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