Large and heavy breasts are one of the most common complaints that bring women to our plastic surgeon, Ram Kalus, MD, FACS, here at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas. Oversized breasts force women to carry excess weight that may cause neck, shoulder, and back pain, soreness from bra straps cutting into their shoulders, skin irritation or fungal infections beneath their breasts, and other general discomfort. Women with large breasts may feel insecure and awkward, and often find it hard to be physically active—not to mention occasional wardrobe restrictions. By offering breast reduction surgery, Dr. Kalus has helped countless women improve both the symptoms and appearance of overly large breasts for attractive and proportionate results. Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, can be characterized as both a reconstructive and cosmetic surgery procedure; therefore, insurance will often cover breast reduction surgery. The procedure almost always includes a breast lift component, which can elevate the nipples to a more ideal, youthful, and attractive location. One valuable added benefit is that women who undergo breast reduction surgery often report that friends and family always seem to remark how they appear to have lost weight. This is not only factually correct, but a smaller and more proportionate breast size will visually suggest that a woman is more slender overall .
Why Breast Reduction Surgery?
If you experience pain, musculoskeletal strain and discomfort, skin irritation, or restriction from physical activities due to excessive breast size, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery. You may also be a good candidate if your breasts are asymmetrical, disproportionate to your body size, or are heavy and pendulous with nipples and areolas (the dark-pigmented skin encircling the nipple) that are either well below the inframammary fold (where the breast meets the upper tummy) or point downward.
For these concerns, breast reduction aims to make large breasts more manageable and proportionate to an individual’s body contour. The physical symptoms caused by large breasts can typically be reduced or largely eliminated by removing excess breast tissue, and/or skin for a beautiful result that is functional and aesthetic. During your consultation, Dr. Kalus will carefully evaluate you and determine if you are a good candidate for surgery. He will then thoroughly explain all aspects of your surgery and recovery.
Benefits of a Breast Reduction
Breast reduction surgery generally allows women to:
- Obtain a breast size more proportional to their body
- Find relief from the common physical burdens of overly large breasts, such as neck, back, and shoulder pain, and even occasional trouble breathing during exercise
- Achieve a rounder and more youthful, symmetrical breast shape
- Elevate the position of the nipples and areolas
- Reduce the size of the areolas, if necessary
Additional benefits of breast reduction typically include improved posture and the ability to engage in physical activities with less difficulty. This surgery can also allow women to find more form-fitting clothing as a result of improved body proportions.
The Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction surgery begins with an incision that encircles the areola and continues below to the lower crease of the breast. After removing the tissue, skin, and unnecessary fat (sometimes with the addition of liposuction), Dr. Kalus will tighten the remaining skin around the newly reduced and contoured breast. Breast reduction surgery, which is usually performed on an outpatient basis, generally takes approximately three hours. A light general anesthesia is utilized from which you recover quickly and easily.
Breast Reduction Recovery
After the procedure, patients will need to wear a surgical bra or similar non-underwire sports bra for four weeks after surgery to support the breasts, minimize swelling, and encourage proper healing. Post-operative bruising and swelling is common, but generally dissipate as recovery progresses. Most patients can easily manage their discomfort with oral pain medication, oftentimes just Tylenol within a few days after surgery. While light daily activities and household chores can usually be resumed within a few days, at least one week of downtime is typically required to allow the body to heal. Aerobic activity and exercise should be avoided until such activity is cleared by Dr. Kalus, generally about four weeks. By following Dr. Kalus’ personalized post-operative instructions and getting plenty of rest, the recovery process can often be accelerated. Most patients can return to light duties within a week or two, and a regular schedule without restrictions within four weeks.
Following surgery, patients typically experience immense satisfaction from the benefits afforded by breast reduction. To discover what breast reduction can do for you, please feel free to peruse our before-and-after gallery of cosmetic results from previous patients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will there be any visible scarring with breast reduction surgery?
With all surgeries involving incision placement, there is a possibility of visible scarring. However, the extent of scarring often depends on the type of incision used, the proficiency of your plastic surgeon, and your own genetics and type of scar your body is destined to produce. Dr. Kalus utilizes a technique that typically allows any residual scarring to be easily concealed underneath a bra or bikini. Generally, these marks fade with time and often become barely noticeable.
Can I breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?
Most likely, the answer is “yes.” About 50% of new mothers who choose to breastfeed are unsuccessful in doing so, even if they have never had prior breast surgery of any kind. The type of breast reduction technique that Dr.Kalus performs preserves the normal breast anatomy, such that the likelihood of interfering with breastfeeding is minimal. If you have recently nursed, it is generally recommended to delay breast reduction surgery until three months after you are finished with nursing. In terms of the breasts’ aesthetic appearance, breastfeeding can also cause additional skin laxity, a loss in volume, and breast sag. For these reasons, it is generally a good idea to undergo breast reduction after breastfeeding is complete. However, many of Dr. Kalus’ patients are adolescents and young adults, so the indication for breast reduction surgery is independent of age.
Should I get a breast lift or breast reduction?
Because the benefits of both surgeries overlap in certain ways, many women inquire whether a breast lift or breast reduction would be ideal for their respective needs. While a breast reduction does include all of the benefits of a breast lift—such as elevated nipple and areola-complexes—women who are happy with their breast size and are primarily concerned with sagginess may be more ideal candidates for breast lift surgery. In contrast, individuals dissatisfied with their large and heavy breasts—who may also experience the associated physical stressors—should consider breast reduction, as this surgery usually involves components of a breast lift to some extent. After a consultation and physical examination, Dr. Kalus can help you determine which procedure (or combination of procedures) will provide you with the most optimal results, according to your surgical goals.
Patients considering breast reduction surgery should contact us today for more information. Dr. Kalus and the staff at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas will be happy to address all questions about the breast reduction procedure, as well as financial/insurance matters, during a consultation.