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Breast Reduction Surgery

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 20 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Breast Reduction; Surgery;

There are many women who are concerned about the size and shape of their breasts and surgical procedures are available for those who believe their breasts can be improved.Breast reduction surgery is one method of trying to improve quality of life or the general appearance of breasts.

Reasons For Having a Breast Reduction

It may be a simply that the breasts are too big for the woman’s frame. Breast tissue can grow very quickly and often when this occurs they can become heavy and the skin loses its elasticity causing the breasts to hang low and feel very heavy.

For many women the weight of their breasts may cause pain and discomfort in the neck, back and shoulders and can sometimes cause bad posture or long term back problems.

It is not uncommon for some women to have one breast slightly larger then the other; in most people this is a very small difference and not noticeable. For some women however the asymmetry can be quite marked and cause them embarrassment and affect their confidence and lifestyle.

Types Of Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is known medically as a breast mammoplasty.The surgery usually involves removing the excess fatty tissue, glands and remaining skin, though if asymmetry is the problem it may be that only the larger breast is reduced though this can cause the reduced breast to be more pert than the other so it may be worthwhile asking if the other breast can be lifted to match.

The surgery requires a general anaesthetic and will usually require at least one over-night stay.

The surgeon will visit you prior to the procedure and assess the weight, shape and the method of surgery used. Often this will require the surgeon to use some measuring equipment and a marker pen allowing him or her to draw the lines of incision on your skin. This is necessary as during surgery you are unable to sit up, lift your arms or change position which the surgeon will need in order to ensure the right amount of tissue is removed and that the natural curve and shape of the breast is not lost.

During the operation the nipple is dissected away from the breast tissue and protected aiming to keep sensation and milk supply if needed in later life.The excess tissue is removed and the remaining tissue joined together to form the new shape.Often the incision sweeps under the breast from outer to inner aspect and there will be a circular incision around the nipple. Sometimes a liposuction technique is used especially if tissue from under the arms is to be removed also.

Most of the time the surgeon will use absorbable sutures sometimes with the use of skin glue to minimise scarring.It is not uncommon to have wound drains inserted, which will need removing after around 24 hours.

After the surgery you may experience pain and discomfort but pain relief will be offered for this.Recovery will normally take 3 – 6 weeks if there are no complications. During this time the wounds will be dressed until the skin edges has knitted together and a sports bra should be worn to give support and protection.

Is It Permanent?

In most cases the results are permanent but it is possible for women to develop larger breasts during or after the menopause (if they are using HRT), as breast tissue is developed as a result of hormonal changes.

Is It Available On The NHS?

This is a very good question. Some NHS Trusts do offer this surgery if the patient has been assessed and her breasts are causing her a lot of pain or anguish. Sometimes this must be assessed by a psychologist or mental health professional.Many trusts however still consider this to be a cosmetic procedure and advise that it is performed privately.

Breast Reduction Surgery For Men

Sometimes a man can develop a condition called gynaecomastia, which means they have developed more breast tissue than normal. This is not due to carrying extra weight as obese men will be advised to lose weight and to strengthen and define the chest muscles before they are considered for surgery.

The excess breast tissue can be removed using breast reduction surgery. In this instance almost all the breast tissue is removed to leave a flat chest area.

Breast reduction surgery is a lot more complicated than breast augmentation and often the scarring can be quite extensive though this will fade over time. Always discuss your options fully with your GP and/or surgeon as the decision to have the surgery should not be taken lightly.

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