A Breast reduction operation is performed to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts and to enhance their shape so that they are more in proportion with her body. Breast size and shape can affect a woman’s well being, self image, psyche and lifestyle. Although usually done for younger women, the operation may be done for women of any age. The operation is one of the most commonly performed and the results are therefore predictable. Despite the permanent scars that are left by the operation, these patients feel liberated after the procedure and are amongst the happiest in any plastic surgeon’s practice. Medical aids frequently help to pay a portion of the fee.
A Breast lift operation is desired when breasts sag after multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss. For many women, the size, shape, or contour of their breasts do not fit their self image. This remarkable procedure is designed to elevate and reshape the breast providing a youthful appearance. A breast lift is sometimes performed in conjunction with breast augmentation.
How are these procedures performed
The procedure is performed in an operating theatre, almost always under general anaesthetic. You may require in hospital stay, although for some patients, day case surgery is possible. The operation takes between two and four hours depending on what needs to be done. Prior to the operation, the incision lines and the new nipple and areolar position will be marked on your skin. Once asleep, the nipples and areolae will be moved to their new location, the excess breast tissue excised and the breasts shaped. The wounds are closed using dissolving stitches and a dressing applied. A small rubber drain may be used to remove any blood or fluid which may accumulate.
What are the possible complications?
Temporary side effects that may occur with both reductions and lifts include bruising, swelling, tightness or tenderness of the breasts, some degree of numbness and itching as the wounds heal. Complications which can occur might be bleeding, infection, skin loss or poor healing, Some degree of asymmetry is almost invariably present afterwards, but in the vast majority of cases this is mild and perfectly acceptable. Most complications, if they occur, are usually minor and do not necessitate a return to the operating theatre.
There will be a inverted T shape scar which gradually becomes less noticable over six to twelve months after surgery.
Loss of sensation due to nerve damage, difficulty with milk production later on maybe encountered in one out of four patients undergoing breast reduction but are unusual with breast lifts.
The recovery period is about two to three weeks at which stage you can return to work. The breasts may be tender or numb for a few months after surgery. The effect of breast reduction and lifts are permanent and dramatic, but the breasts will continue to be subjected to the laws of gravity over many years to come.