Your breasts are reduced by removing breast tissue from below and around your nipple. The nipple is raised to a higher position and the breast skin is then stitched leaving you with a scar around the areola (the coloured skin around the nipple), vertically down from the areola to the crease under the breast and often a horizontal scar underneath the breast along the breast crease (i.e. the scar is shaped like an inverted letter “T” or an anchor).
What does it involve?
A breast reduction is performed under a general anaesthetic (with you asleep). You will wake up with surgical tapes along the wounds and a surgical drain (tube) coming out of each breast. You will need to go into a supportive post-surgical or sports bra following surgery.
What are the benefits?
Breast reduction techniques not only remove the weight and the volume (size) of the breasts, but also provide a breast lift.
How long does the surgery take?
The surgery takes about 2-3 hour, depending on whether additional liposuction is needed to the sides of the chest wall.
What is the recovery period?
You will stay in hospital overnight after the surgery, or occasionally for 2-nights. This is to ensure that there is only minimal fluid coming into your drains, which may then be removed. You should wear a supportive post-surgical or sports bra day-and-night for at least 6-weeks after surgery, and sometimes for 3-months.
How long before daily activities may be resumed?
Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 2-weeks. You may be able to drive after this period, but remember that you need to be comfortable in performing an emergency stop or similar manoeuvre. If you drive too early and you need to do an emergency stop, the wounds may come apart from pressure of the seatbelt.
What are the success rates?
Of all the plastic surgery procedures we perform, breast reduction is consistently shown to have the highest patient satisfaction rate.
Patient of Mr Pacifico 4-months following a breast reduction. The scars are now starting to fade and will soon turn pale
What are the possible complications?
- Wound infection & wound breakdown (most likely at the “T” junction)
- Bleeding or haematoma (a collection of blood in the wound that would mean that you would need to go back to the operating theatre for the bleeding to be stopped)
- Lumpy scarring (hypertrophic or keloid scarring) which can be difficult to treat
- Change in nipple sensation (usually less sensitive, but occasionally more)
- Complete or partial loss of your nipple (a rare but important complication)
- Fat necrosis (dying of some areas of fat within the breast) – this either shows as an oily discharge from the wound or as the formation of lumps within the breast. It may mean that you would need to go back to the operating theatre, but can usually be treated as an outpatient with dressings (if the wound has opened) or with massage of any lumps that form within the breast
- Breast asymmetry – no breasts in any woman are identical, and although Mr Pacifico strives to make both sides as equal as possible, there will be differences between them
- Bottoming out – this is the term given to a large part of your breast dropping below the level of the nipple – the effect is to make your nipples appear above your bra. This is an unusual complication.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE) – these are blood clots that may occur in the leg (DVT) and travel to the lung (PE) which may be very serious – fortunately they are uncommon in breast reduction surgery.
- Further surgery may be needed to make adjustments to correct for imperfections or differences between the breasts (rates may be up to 15%)
Patient of Mr Pacifico who underwent a breast reduction, shown nearly 1-year after surgery