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Breast Reduction

Reducing the size and weight of the breasts whilst simultaneously correcting droop

Breast reduction is a popular operation which has the primary aim of reducing the weight of the breasts. Some women have excessively heavy breasts that cause neck and back pain, discomfort from bra straps digging into the shoulders and reduced clothing choices. Some women may feel embarrassed about their breasts such that they avoid activities like swimming or feel inhibited with partners. A breast reduction reduces the weight of the breasts thus improving the physical, and often psychological, symptoms. The secondary aims of breast reduction are to improve breast shape by reversing any sagging and also to improve symmetry.


Breast reduction surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually patients stay for one night after surgery. I use dissolving stitches under the skin to close the wounds. I also use slowly dissolving stitches inside the breast to help shape the breast. I aim to create fullness in the upper part of the breast and to elevate the drooping breast tissue by repositioning it under the nipple to create a mound. Correctly positioning the nipples is very important and I do this together with the patient before surgery. I always ask my patient what cup size she would like to be after surgery. This gives me an idea of what to aim for although I cannot guarantee a specific cup size. It is very rare for a patient to be unhappy with their breast size after reduction surgery.

Breast reduction entails scars around the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple), a vertical scar beneath this and then a long horizontal scar in the crease of the breast. It’s important to remember that the surgery does not prevent the aging process and does not make your breast tissue firmer. If firm, “perky” breasts are your aim, you may want to consider an “augmented breast reduction” in which breast tissue is removed and replaced with firm breast  implants that retain their shape over time.

The risks of breast reduction are delayed healing; loss of blood supply to the skin, fat or nipple; changes in nipple sensation; asymmetry in size and shape, and the breasts will change in shape over time including a further drooping. Occasionally the scars can widen or thicken and become unsightly and occasionally little lumps at the end of scars persist, ``dog-ears´´, that may need to be removed. The upper part of the breast above the nipple inevitably flattens with time and the part of the breast below the nipple can stretch (bottoming out) and sometimes the nipples can appear to move upwards. Occasionally the aesthetic result is unsatisfactory and a revision procedure is required.

If you are planning to have children, it is preferable to delay breast reduction. This is because your breasts will change in size and shape after pregnancy and also because you may have difficulty breastfeeding after surgery.

I recommend six weeks off exercise with the exception of gentle walking, and two weeks off driving. You need to wear a support bra for six weeks. These are purchasable online at Macom - use ``Baker´´ for the discount code (15%). 

 
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Breast reduction for heavy drooping breasts

This patient had a total of 800g of breast tissue removed from both breasts. She had a "Wise pattern" breast reduction so as much skin as possible could be removed. Results at 2 months.

 
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Breast reduction for very heavy breasts causing neck pain.

This patient had 1.6kg removed from her breasts. Results at 6 weeks.