For many women, very large breasts can cause a variety of physical and emotional problems which can lead them to seek breast reduction, also referred to as mammaplasty. In fact, thousands of women each year undergo a breast reduction to make their large breasts smaller, lighter, firmer and more proportionate to the rest of their body.
Symptoms which breast reduction can improve include back pain caused by oversized or heavy breasts, shoulder indentations caused by bra straps, improper posture and skeletal deformities, rashes, breathing problems, and low self-esteem or self-consciousness. The surgery removes excess glandular tissue and fat and tightens the skin to provide relief from these symptoms and to create breasts that are smaller and lighter.
Candidates for surgery are in generally good health, do not smoke, and are looking to improve large or pendulous breasts. Patients who are planning to breastfeed in the future may be advised to postpone surgery because many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed during surgery.
Dr. Steinbrech performs breast reduction on an outpatient basis at their JCAHO accredited office-based surgery facility at Gotham Plastic Surgery of New York City. General anesthesia is commonly used and surgical times average two to five hours. In the case of unevenly sized breasts, the surgery is typically performed on both breasts to ensure that the breasts are as even as possible.
Breast reduction may be performed using a variety of techniques. However, the most common technique is performed through an incision that is shaped like an anchor whereby the incision circles the nipple, extends vertically downward and then runs horizontally along the crease below the breast. Through this incision, excess skin, fatty tissue and glandular tissue are removed. If necessary, the nipple may be moved to a higher position as well. There are other techniques involving less extensive incisions which may be appropriate for certain individuals.
A bandage or surgical bra may be applied to the breasts after surgery, and the surgical bra is typically worn for one month. A drainage tube may be inserted at the incision site to collect excess fluid and this is commonly removed within a day or two. The patient may experience mild to moderate pain which can be relieved with medication. Swelling and bruising are common after surgery and will resolve within six months. Stitches are removed within a week. Work and most normal activities can typically be resumed within one to two weeks.
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