Breast reduction surgery (reduction mammaplasty) is a common surgical procedure which involves the reduction in the size of breasts by excising fat, skin, breast implants and glandular tissue; it may also involve a procedure to counteract drooping of the breasts. As with breast augmentation, this procedure is typically performed on women, but may also be performed on men afflicted by gynecomastia.

Candidates

Breast reduction surgery is oriented toward women with large, pendulous breasts, especially gigantomastia, since the weight of their breasts may cause chronic pain of the head, neck, back, and shoulders, plus circulation and breathing problems. The weight may also cause discomfort as a result of brassiere straps abrading or irritating the skin.[1] Even if physical discomfort is not a problem, some women feel awkward with the enormity of their breasts in proportion to the rest of their smaller bodies. Except in unusual cases, this procedure is performed on individuals with fully-developed breasts, and it is not typically recommended for women who desire to breastfeed.

Males with common condition of gynecomastia may feel embarrassed and upset with their condition, usually developed during adolescence. They may get the surgery for restored confidence. The surgical methods employed may vary depending on whether the breasts in the male patient are caused by adipose (fatty) or glandular tissue, and the degree to which any glandular tissue extends laterally along the sides of the torso.

Procedure

Doctors almost always perform breast reductions while the patient is under general anesthesia. During pre-operative visits, the doctor and patient may decide on new, usually higher, positions for the areolas and nipples.

For males, excess tissue may simply be removed through a tiny incision in each breast. This leaves minimal scarring.

Recovery

Patient will usually be required to stay in hospital overnight following your breast reduction surgery. On returning home, painkillers can be taken and a supportive bra must be worn for between 1-3 months. Patients may take a few weeks for initial recovery, however it may take from six months to a year for the body to completely adjust to the new breast size. Some women may experience discomfort during their initial menstruation following the surgery due to the breasts swelling.

Risks

Possible issues include difficulty breast feeding, scarring, asymmetry, delayed wound healing, altered nipple sensation, fluid retention in the breast, altered erogenous function, and late changes in shape and recurrent ptosis (drooping).

It may impair the likelihood of breastfeeding success due to the surgical disruption to the lactiferous duct system. However, a number of studies have demonstrated a similar ability to breast feed when breast reduction patients are compared to control groups.

Scarring from this procedure may be extensive and permanent. Initially, the scars are lumpy and red, but they gradually subside into their final smaller sizes as thin lines, slightly discolored. Though permanent, the surgeon can make the scars inconspicuous to the point that even low-cut tops may be worn without visible scars.