If you find that your breasts are very large and heavy, and that they create discomfort to your shoulders, back and neck, you may be a candidate for a breast reduction. While a breast reduction can be performed in the teenage years, it is recommended that the procedure be undertaken only when breast development is completed, and when sufficient maturity has been attained to understand all of the issues involved. Childbirth and breast-feeding can also have a significant effect on the size and shape of your breasts.
Though some women decide to have breast reduction before having children, you should discuss plans to breast- feed with your plastic surgeon, as this may not be possible after breast reduction. In assessing you as a candidate for breast reduction, your doctor will carefully check the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin, and the placement of the nipples and areolas. If you are overweight, your plastic surgeon may suggest that you lose weight before having surgery.
Methods of breast reduction
There are variations to the incisions used for breast reduction. The traditional method of lifting the breast uses 3 incisions: one around the areola, the second vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease under the breast, and the third along the curve of the breast crease. Your surgeon will inform you which incisions are best for you. After excess skin and breast is removed, the nipple and areola are moved to a higher position. Skin that was located above the nipple pre-surgery is pulled down.
Together these two maneuvers give a new shape to the breast. Liposuction may also be employed to improve the contour under the arm. Because the nipples and areolas remain attached to the breast tissue, sensation in this area is preserved most of the time, but numbness can occur after breast reduction. Some of the possible complications of this surgery include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. The breasts may not be exactly the same or nipple height may vary after surgery.
Several days after surgery you will be able to move about comfortably. You may be asked to wear a support bra for a few weeks, until swelling and discoloration diminish. Incisions will be red at first and normally stay this way for several months following surgery. After breast reduction surgery, it is usually possible to return to work within a month of surgery.
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