Breast reduction surgery is a treatment option for women who experience physical and psychological problems due to large size of their breasts. This article discusses the procedure of this surgery, and its possible complications.
A woman’s genetic factors, body weight, hormonal functions, and body frame are some of the most important factors which decide the size of her bosoms. Most women desire breasts that are considered to be of a normal size with respect to the frame of the body, and most of them do have so. However, there are some women whose breasts are particularly larger, and cause discomfort, and problems like chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, poor posture, chronic rash under breasts, and development of deep grooves from the pressure of bra strap. Not only do physical problems such as these arise, having large breasts may even be a cause of psychological distress such as low self-esteem. It is common for such women to express their concern for not being able to enjoy wearing glamorous outfits, or take part in various sports or other activities. So to deal with the problem, a surgery to reduce the breast size, known as reduction mammaplasty is recommended. Most women who undergo this surgery are able to develop a better self-image, and build a self-confident personality. However, before opting for the surgery, it is imperative not only to understand the benefits that it may provide, but the possible risks and complications that it may entail.
The surgery can be undertaken at any age, and even teens can opt for the same. However, doctors usually advice to wait until 18, as that is when the organs fully develop. The subject would have to undergo certain health tests in order to determine whether she is fit for the surgery. One of the important recommendations that a doctor might give to a patient, days before the surgery is to quit smoking. This is because, smoking weakens the immune system of the body, and this increases the chances of infections post the surgery. And it may also delay the recovery. Also, being overweight might be a problem thus, the subject may be asked to lose weight. In addition, post surgery breast-feeding may become difficult. So doctors usually advice patients to wait until they have started a family or completed one. Usage of medication such as oral contraceptive pills, may also have to be ceased before the surgery, as they might cause complications.
# The surgery aims at getting rid of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts, thereby reducing the organs’ weight and volume. After removal of these parts, the breasts are reshaped in the most natural way, and the nipples are repositioned. General anesthesia is required to perform the surgery, and fasting is also required 6 hours prior to the surgery.
# The parts of the breasts where the incisions would be made, are marked. And photographs may also be taken before and post the surgery, for the patient to notice the difference. This remains at the discretion of the patient.
# The surgery begins by repositioning the nipples, while they are still attached to their blood supply. But for extremely large breasts, the surgeon also has the option to remove the nipples and reposition them elsewhere on the breasts, in the form of skin graft. The blood supply will develop on its own.
# Thereafter, the excess fat and tissues are gotten rid of, and the breasts are reshaped, and given a more elevated look.
The surgery can be performed in various ways, depending upon the size of the breasts and the desired outcome. In one method, which is known as inverted T breast reduction surgery, the incisions are made vertically up to and around the nipple, and horizontally under the breasts in the crease. This method is known to be the most commonly opted method for the surgery. And, because it allows operation on vertical and horizontal sections, it is especially beneficial for women with extremely large breasts.
Another method, which is known as the vertical pattern breast reduction, results in less scarring when compared to the one mentioned above. Here, incisions are made around the areola (small circular area around the nipple), and vertically downwards to the breast crease. This procedure is less invasive, and does not have much of an effect on the glandular tissue of the breasts, as compared to the above method. However, when it comes to large-sized breasts, this procedure does not seem to provide reliable results. Also, it may take longer to heal.
The main risks associated with this kind of surgery include infection, reaction to anesthesia, and bleeding. These risks are common with any major surgery. Besides these, other risks or complications that may surface include, reduction or loss of sensation in the region of the nipples and areolae, scarring, and difficulty or inability to breast-feed. In some women, the breasts may still be asymmetrical in their appearance (slightly lopsided, lumpy) thus, may cause the need of a second surgery for improvement. Other risks include wound healing problems, haematoma (blood may pool under the breasts), and loss of nipples.
As far as the cost of the surgery is concerned, it depends on the case that is being handled, the region, the surgeon, and the treatment center. Also, factors such as anesthesia fees, and cost of medications, are also included. Speaking of anesthesia fee, on an average it ranges from $1000 to $1500. The fee may change from one surgeon to another, mainly because of the experience that he/she holds. On an average, it is $5500. The cost may also include post surgery requirements. Generally, the cost of the surgery may range from $5000 to $10000.
Although, a breast reduction surgery is primarily centered around women, men may also be require this treatment. In some men and boys, there might occur swelling of breasts, and this is known as gynecomastia. And if medications do not help, then breasts may be reduced with the help of liposuction or a procedure known as mastectomy.