Breast reduction is a procedure that is performed to reduce the weight of the breast as well as uplift the breast on the chest wall. It is associated with breast scarring. It can dramatically eliminate the symptoms associated with heavy breasts to include neck pain, back pain, headaches, shoulder pain, shoulder grooves, and rashes beneath the breasts. The procedure takes approximately an hour and a half. The patients recover in approximately two weeks. There will be a compression bandage in place for one week. There is usually breast tissue removed with this procedure unlike a mastopexy where the skin is removed only and the breast is elevated.
Reduction mammoplasty is surgery to reduce the size of your breasts. If you have large, heavy breasts that cause you discomfort, you can find relief. Typically patients will ask, “Why didn’t I do this operation sooner?”
Who Is A Candidate?
The best candidate for a breast reduction is someone who has large uncomfortable breasts that contribute to back and shoulder pain, breast skin rashes, or shoulder grooving. Patients range in age between 16 and 70. Although breast reduction can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, you should be realistic about your expectations.
Preparation For Surgery
It is very important that Dr. Van Laeken is aware of the state of your general health prior to surgery. Please let her know of any allergies you have, medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins you are taking as well as the reasons for taking them. It is also important that you inform Dr. Van Laeken if you have a tendency for keloid scarring (thick, wide, or raised scars).
If you are a smoker we encourage you to quit prior to proceeding with a breast reduction. Smoking can interfere with the blood flow to the skin, and will inhibit the healing of the incisions.
Depending on your age as well as your general health pre-operative testing may be done, such as a blood test, an ECG, or a mammogram.
It is important that you avoid taking vitamin E, anti-inflammatory, and aspirin products for 2 weeks prior to surgery. These products are anti coagulants, and could lead to hematoma formation and bleeding during the surgery.
The procedure is performed under a general anesthesia. Dr. Van Laeken can perform the procedure in a public hospital or a private surgical facility such as the Cambie Surgery Centre or Flase Creek Surgery Centre.
The incisions are made around the areola, down the front of the breast, to the bottom, and along the fold of the breast. The Incisions will be closed with sutures that should be removed 12-15 days post surgery as well as some dissolvable sutures. After surgery you will be wrapped in supportive bandages that should be removed at your first post operative appointment 1 week after surgery. You will be asked to bring a sports bra with you to that appointment, it will need to be worn day and night for one month.
There will be swelling and bruising following surgery. The bruising will diminish in 1-3 weeks. The swelling could take up to 8 weeks to disappear.
When you arrive home after surgery Dr. Van Laeken recommends that you rest in bed. It’s also a good idea to have ice packs ready for when you arrive home. They will help to reduce bruising, swelling, and will help to keep you comfortable. It is also recommended that you sleep on your back for the first couple of weeks. You will be able to shower after you have had your bandages removed (approximately one week post op.).
Most patients who have sedentary jobs plan to take 2 weeks off work. If your job involves a great deal of physical activity Dr. Van Laeken can advise you as to how much time you should take off.
You will need to see Dr. Van Laeken 5-7 days post operatively to have the bandages removed. Please bring your new sports bra to that appointment. Your next appointment should be approximately two weeks after surgery to have your sutures removed.
Dr. Van Laeken advises patients not to lift their hands above their head for the first few days after surgery. She also does not want the patients to do any heavy lifting, pulling or pushing for 4 weeks after surgery.
The final results of the surgery will be evident at approximately 6 months post operatively.
There are risks associated with any type of surgery. Although the incidence of complications is rare Dr. Van Laeken feels that all patients should be informed of the potential complications prior to proceeding with surgery.
This procedure is subject to the same complications as all other surgical procedures such as infection, bleeding, and failure to heal, which could require appropriate treatment including possible further surgery.
- Changes in nipple sensation
- Skin Loss (necrosis)
- Keloid Scars
- Breast Feeding
Read definitions for potential complications
View before and after photos
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