Dr. Robert Graper and Dr. Garrett Harper – Breast Reduction Surgery Specialists
Many of our breast reduction patients complain of neck pain, back pain, bra strap grooves, rashes under their breasts, and occasionally arm tingling and shortness of breath. All of these symptoms may be improved by breast reduction surgery. The most frequently asked question with breast reduction surgery is, “Will my insurance company pay for it?” The answer depends on several things. The most important of these is how much breast tissue can safely be removed to get you to your goals. If that measurement isn’t enough to warrant your insurance company to pay for things, then you fall into the category of cosmetic breast reduction. These patients pay out of pocket for their breast reduction, just as any cosmetic patient would.
Timing the Procedure
Timing of the breast reduction procedure is important with respect to pregnancy. Ideally, the patient should wait until after they are through having children to have any breast reduction procedure. Scheduling a breast reduction procedure in this fashion permits the good postoperative breast size and shape from being damaged by pregnancy changes. Obviously, it is not reasonable to ask an 18-year-old single woman, with painful symptoms of large breasts, to wait 10 to 15 years until she is sure she has completed her childbearing career. But it is important to discuss timing with a 28-year-old married woman who is considering having children soon, so she can achieve the best possible long term results and not have pregnancy affect her new, post-surgical breasts.
All breast reductions remove extra skin and breast tissue, but there are many techniques that can be used. The majority of the techniques we use are centered around breast pedicles based on blood supply that comes from the upper portions of the breasts. This allows a fuller look with more cleavage and a better overall shape than some of the more traditional techniques that base their breast pedicles on blood supply from the bottom of the breast. The more traditional techniques lead to a boxier and squarer shape as time goes by. Our technique creates and maintains a much prettier, rounded breast shape.
The breast reduction procedure is done at an outpatient surgery facility, under general anesthesia, and requires approximately two to three hours to complete. Breast reduction patients experience soreness, but significant pain is unusual. There are usually no sutures to be removed and breast reduction patients can shower after 2-3 days postoperatively. The usual return-to-work date is 2-3 weeks after breast reduction surgery, and patients may resume moderate exercise after three weeks. All of our breast reduction patients are encouraged to do our scar management with paper tape and scar gel after their surgery. This helps ensure the prettiest and least conspicuous scars possible.
Breast Reduction Risks and Complications
Like any other plastic surgery, postoperative bleeding and infection are possible complications, but are rare after breast reduction. As noted above, there is normal nipple sensation in 80% of patients, but 20% have decreased or no sensation in their nipples after breast reduction surgery. There is no procedure to improve this condition if it occurs. Healing of the tissues can be delayed if the reduction is on a very large breast or if the patient is over 50 years old, a diabetic or a smoker. If wound healing is impaired, we keep the area clean and moist and allow tissues to heal on their own. This involves the nipple itself in less than 1% of the cases. Small asymmetries, where the breasts are not exactly the same shape or size, are not uncommon, but large differences in the breast are unusual and would, of course, be corrected.
Breast reduction patients are some of the happiest patients because not only do they feel so much better, but they also look better as well. Even though the breasts have incisions after surgery, they look much more attractive than the misshaped, large, droopy preoperative breasts without incisions. Our breast reduction patients’ clothes fit and they can actually enjoy normal lives at the beach, pool or gym. This is a great plastic surgery procedure with high patient satisfaction for the right candidate.