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Breast Reduction Austin

Why Consider Breast Reduction Surgery to Treat Large Breasts?

Too much of a good things isn’t always good. When it comes to macromastia (large breasts), the burden of carrying the weight of dense, low breasts can take its toll on the body and the mind. Women with large breasts are much more prone to musculoskeletal complaints (back and neck pain). Heavy breasts are uncomfortable, not particularly flattering and can have a major negative impact on physical activity and a normal lifestyle. There is always a constant awareness of your breasts that makes you self-conscious. Women with large breasts seek out breast reduction surgery because they want to look normal, do all the activities that other women can do, and feel confident and proportional. Any woman with large breasts who suffers from the issues described above is an ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery.

breast reduction before and after results austin plastic surgery

What if I Want Better Results Than Those Obtained With a Breast Reduction Alone?

Breast reductions surgeries have been considered a functional procedure since the 1920’s because of the associated disability with larger breasts. Although the procedure reduced the burden of heavy breasts, patients and surgeons became aware of some of the shortcomings such as flattening of the breast, boxiness in shape and high riding nipples. Other problems included “bottoming out” of the breast and insufficient volume reduction so the patients complained that their breast reductions were not made small enough.

Today, expectations are higher and include aesthetic / cosmetic considerations to enhance the results of this popular breast surgery. Patients want relief of their heavy breast symptoms as well as a better breast appearance after treatment. Surgeons have been working since then to provide a better shape and longer lasting results. One such alternative is the use of a breast reduction and breast implant to optimize breast shape. The breast implant adds volume that is missing from the upper breast and the breast reduction removes the saggy, loose tissue at the bottom of the breast. The combination of the procedures work synergistically to reshape the new breast by reducing the lower pole and augmenting the upper pole.

A more advanced procedure than breast reduction surgery is my BAR Procedure (Breast Augmentation and Reduction). This cutting edge alternative adds the benefits of a breast implant to the reduction of breast tissue. The result is very impressive compared to a breast reduction alone. There is a lot more superior breast fullness and the breasts sit higher on the chest wall. The shape is better and there is no sagging of the breast tissue. The ability to customize the shape and size of the breast is unparalleled.

How Are Breast Reductions Performed?

breast lift - vertical lift

A breast reduction refers to any plastic surgical procedure that reduces the size of the breast. The two most popular techniques involve only a difference in the incision pattern. The first is a vertical scar breast reduction with the final scar being shaped like a lollipop and the second is a “keyhole” pattern whose final scar is shaped like an anchor. It involves removing breast tissue and excess breast skin as well as elevating the nipples and reducing the diameter of the areolas. Both of these procedures have been reliable and proven over many years and millions of patients.

breast lift - anchor lift

Less commonly performed is the liposuction alternative where there are no breast reduction scars and liposuction alone is used to remove the fat of the breast to make them smaller. The goal of appropriate breast reduction is to create smaller breasts with an improved shape. This will liberate the patient in many ways. I call breast reduction surgery “happy surgery” as the results are nothing short of transformative and life changing.

What Are the Complications Related to Breast Reduction Surgery?

Any time you have surgery there is a risk of a complication. Thankfully, most are not severe and usually just a minor nuisance to an otherwise normal recovery. A hematoma is a collection of blood under the breast that may require going back for a procedure to remove the old blood. A seroma is a collection of fluid that may require removal with a small needle aspiration. Fat necrosis occurs when some of the fatty tissue of the breast doesn’t get enough blood supply and it could become firm and form some oil discharge. This often resolves by itself. Poor breast reduction scarring is always a possibility if patients inherently heal poorly or if the procedure wasn’t performed properly.

Loss of the nipple and areola is very rare but obviously not a good thing. Wound healing problems are not uncommon and often small and limited to the area where the vertical scar meets the inframammary fold. Local treatment is all that is needed. Probably the most common complaint I hear from patients who have had previous breast reductions performed elsewhere is that their breasts have not been made small enough and the same issues exist as before breast reduction surgery. As always, some surgeons simply get better results from their reductions because of experience and training. Results can be imperfect in terms of symmetry and nipple-areola complex location because of poor quality surgery. Choose your plastic surgeon carefully.

The sensitivity of the nipples may be reduced after a breast reduction but total numbness is uncommon. It is usually possible to breastfeed after a breast reduction procedure but this is not guaranteed.

What is Breast Reduction Surgery Recovery Like?

Interestingly enough, breast reduction surgery is less painful that a breast augmentation! This is so because with breast augmentation surgery, a breast implant is placed below the muscle and the discomfort comes from the immediate stretching of the chest muscle. A breast reduction is associated with moderate discomfort typically managed with oral pain medication for 2 days and then patients use non-narcotics like Motrin or Aleve. Several days of recovery is needed before your return back to work. Exercise can start in about 10 days to two weeks. A soft supportive bra is used for several weeks followed by the bra of your choice. Breast shaping after a reduction is important to achieve that “implanted” look. This means using a bra that forms your breast into a perky shape and keeping it that way for 4 months after the procedure. As the breast heals internally with scar formation, your breast will stay the shape of the bra. After 30 years doing this type of work, I like to focus on the wonderful results that are possible with the appropriate techniques during and after the actual procedure.

Does Health Insurance Cover the Breast Reduction Costs?

It depends. If your breasts are large enough based on your height and weight (BMI), your health insurance may cover the cost of breast reduction surgery. The best way to determine this is to reach out to your insurance company and ask them. Remember that your particular insurance plan may have a select group of plastic surgeons who are able to accept your insurance. Make sure they are good at what they do. At Westlake Plastic Surgery, I perform about 50 breast reductions per year but we don’t accept any insurance and these patients are “self-pay”.