During your initial consultation with Dr. Harrison he will take measurements of your breasts and discuss with you based on his exam and the elasticity of your breast tissues which technique of breast reduction may be best for you.
During the procedure a surgical technique is used to move your nipple areola complex higher on your chest wall while excess gland, skin and fat is removed and the remaining soft tissues are brought together to create and reshape the breasts. Liposuction is often used to remove excess fat in the area near your armpit. Some patients with large breast, but without sagging may be candidates for “scar less” reduction mammoplasty. This can be done with very limited incisions underneath the breasts and using liposuction techniques to remove the excess fat from the breast itself. This determination will be made during your initial consultation with Dr. Harrison.
The goal of a Breast Reduction (reduction mammoplasty) is to relieve the symptoms of upper back, shoulder and neck pain due to the heavy, relaxed breasts. This operation will both reduce the volume of the breast tissue and decrease the droopy appearance.
What you see- If you not only has pain in your upper back but also dread the ordeal of buying clothes because it centers around the pendulous “twins” on your chest, then a breast reduction can change all of that. Enlarged breasts can limit your activities, cause painful shoulder grooves from bra straps and can be a source of negative self image. Genetics, weight gain and child bearing can all have negative effects on breast size & shape.
The Best Candidate- The best candidates for Breast Reduction surgery are women who have realistic expectations, are physically & psychologically healthy, are non-smokers and those who can afford some “down time” for recovery. Dr. Harrison recommends achieving an ideal body weight before surgery is considered. Many insurance carriers consider breast reduction as a covered procedure but have various parameters and requirements that must be met. Predetermination letters are routinely sent after the consultation to establish coverage. Otherwise, a reduction can be done on a cosmetic procedure basis.
Risks and Complications- All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk but when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. The common effects of any surgical procedure can be expected and will include: swelling, pain, scarring, bruising, the need for surgical support garment and fatigue from anesthesia.
Complications can include: infection, seroma, hematoma, over/under correction, asymmetry, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and pulmonary embolism, partial or complete loss of the nipple areola complex, altered nipple sensitivity, problems with wound healing requiring local wound care and the inability to breast-feed.
Before Surgery- Prior to your first appointment you will be asked by the staff to register on My Touch MD, watch relevant videos and read information about the procedure you desire. The surgical consultation with Dr. Harrison will take about an hour. A surgical plan and a discussion of your goals will be agreed upon at this time. Photos will be taken, a detailed medical history and physical will be discussed and we always leave time for you to ask questions. Relevant consent forms will be emailed for review. After your surgery is scheduled you will have a pre-operative appointment to sign consent forms, review the surgical plan, receive prescriptions, discuss pre/post operative written instructions, have blood work done and make any final payments. On patients over the age of 35, Dr. Harrison requires a recent mammogram.
The Surgery- This procedure is performed at the hospital as an outpatient and usually takes 2-3 hours. Dr. Harrison uses a variety of operative techniques depending upon your goals and the shape of your breasts. Liposuction of breast tissue and sub-axillary fullness is an essential part of breast definition. Our usual reduction patient will wake up in the recovery room in a surgical support bra with ice packs. Most patients state relief from their heavy breasts can be felt immediately after surgery. All the sutures are placed under the skin and will not need to be removed.
After Surgery- You will need to have made arrangements for transportation home from the hospital and someone to assist with your care. During the first 24 hours post-op monitoring every 6 hours of the nipple/areola complex must be done to check for discoloration (turning blue). Continue intermittent use of ice packs to reduce swelling and pain for 3-4 days. After two days, remove the topifoam, gauze and telfa dressings from beneath the surgical support bra before showering. DO NOT remove the tape that is directly on your incisions. Your post-operative appointment will be in 5 days to check the incision sites and then again at 2 weeks post-op. The surgical bra is worn continuously (except for showering) for 4 weeks post-op.
Getting Back to Normal- Swelling, soreness, tenderness and numbness should be anticipated for several weeks. Most patients feel like returning to work after only a few weeks recovery. You may resume light activity and non-jarring exercise (no running) after 3 weeks. No heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks. Full activity can resume 6 weeks post op. Most of the soreness will be felt in the sub-axillary area (under your armpits). Our general rule with activity is if it hurts…stop doing it. Post-operatively resume monthly self-breast exam and annual mammograms.
Your Results- The great thing about breast reduction surgery is the immediate results…the heavy tissue is gone. Your clothes will fit better and the upper back, shoulder and neck pain will begin to subside. Final results of your breast shape are not realized for several weeks, so resist the urge to go shopping for a smaller bra before 6 weeks post-op. Scars usually fade within months. Nipple sensitivity may take 8-9 months to recover. After this operation you will begin to see yourself differently, your self-image will improve and you will appear thinner.
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