A breast reduction is a procedure that reduces the size and weight of large, heavy breasts to alleviate back and shoulder pain and to create a bust that is smaller, perkier, and more in proportion with the rest of the body.
Having more beautiful breasts does not always mean having bigger breasts. In fact, many women are bothered by having overly large and heavy breasts. Large breasts frequently cause back and shoulder pain from their weight, as well as interfere with the ability to exercise and to find clothes that fit. A breast reduction can help reduce the breasts to a size more in proportion with the rest of the body, alleviating physical discomfort and giving a firmer, perkier shape and appearance.
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Mother nature is sometimes too generous. Having large and heavy breasts can cause back pain and interfere with the ability to exercise and find clothes that fit. A breast reduction can help alleviate your physical discomfort and help you reduce the breasts to a size that is in proportion to the rest of your body.
Overly large breasts can cause health and emotional problems, including self-consciousness, physical discomfort, and interference with the ability to exercise.
Breast reduction can be a good option for you if you:
It’s also important to be good in overall health, to be a non-smoker, and to have realistic expectations.
A consultation and examination are performed before your procedure to determine if you are a good candidate. It is important for you to tell Dr. Fan the symptoms you are having and the size you would like to be after surgery. Dr. Fan will help you select the appropriate breast reduction option that is best for you based on your symptoms, goals, and anatomy.
How A Breast Reduction is Performed
A breast reduction is an ideal plastic surgery operation because it relieves discomfort, improves lifestyle, and enhances appearance.
Breast reduction is typically an outpatient procedure performed under general or twilight sleep anesthesia.
Standard Breast Reduction
The gold standard breast reduction both reduces and lifts the breasts.
During this procedure, excess breast tissue is removed, the skin envelope is tightened, and the nipple is lifted. This will alleviate physical discomfort and create firmer, more shapely, and more proportionate breasts.
The main tradeoff for this procedure is the creation of scars. All patients (and surgeons) want the shortest and faintest possible scars, as well as the best shape and lift possible. Sometimes these goals can be achieved with a single method, but often there are trade-offs between scar length, scar quality, and shape.
Despite the scars created, patients who undergo breast reduction are amongst the most satisfied of all plastic surgery patients.
There are 4 main options for standard breast reduction procedures:
Anchor, Inverted-T, or Wise Pattern Breast Reduction
The “anchor,” “inverted-T,” or “Wise pattern” breast reduction has long been considered the gold standard for breast reduction. With this method, an incision is made around the areola, straight down the center of the lower half of the breast, and then horizontally along the crease of the breast. Although this method produces the longest scars, it still remains the most common method for breast reduction because it allows the greatest control of breast shape and proportion because skin can be removed in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions and excess breast tissue can be removed from any part of the breast.
Vertical or “Lollipop” Breast Reduction
The “vertical” or “lollipop” breast reduction eliminates all or most of the scar along the crease of the breast and is an excellent method for some breasts. In addition to having the advantage of producing shorter scars, vertical breast reduction can also improve long term breast shape and projection. Vertical breast reduction requires some “bunching” of skin along the lower half of the breast, which usually flattens over time but may require the addition of a short horizontal scar along the bottom or scar revision. This technique is best suited for women with mild to moderately enlarged breasts and less well suited for women with extremely large breasts.
Compared to vertical breast reduction, anchor breast reduction uses an additional horizontal scar along the breast crease. This incision, which is usually hidden and barely noticed by patients, gives additional control over the shape of the breast by allowing skin to be removed in an additional axis. As such, the anchor breast reduction is the most versatile breast reduction technique available.
“Donut” or “Benelli” Breast Reduction
The “donut” or “Benelli” breast reduction has a scar that is only around the perimeter of the areola. This is effective only for breasts that are small and light to begin with. If this method is attempted for larger breasts, the areola ends up stretched and flattened with widened scars and an unattractive, flat shape. Most American women who desire a breast reduction rarely qualify for this technique.
“No Vertical Scar” Breast Reduction
The No Vertical Scar breast reduction has one round scar around the edge of the areola and a second horizontal scar along the crease of the breast. The main advantage of this procedure is that the vertical scar along the lower half of the breast that is used during anchor and vertical breast reduction is eliminated. The main disadvantages of this technique are that skin cannot be removed in the horizontal axis, which limits the ability to reshape the breasts and produces a breast shape that tends to be overly wide, and that only women with severe drooping are good candidates. For women who have severe drooping and are willing to accept a less optimal breast shape, the No Vertical Scar breast reduction can be a worthy option.
Common Breast Reduction Patterns
Virtually Scarless Breast Reduction
For women with less droopiness and who need a more limited amount of weight removed, liposuction only (or “virtually scar free”) breast reduction can be excellent option to make the breasts smaller and lighter with only one or two tiny scars hidden in the crease under the breasts. Recovery is also quicker compared to standard breast reduction.
Liposuction only breast reduction has two main shortcomings. First, it can only remove fat in the breast and cannot remove firm glandular tissue. Every woman has some fat in her breasts, but surgeons cannot determine before surgery how much of the breast size is due to fat or to glandular tissue. So there is a possibility that the breast reduction will not remove as much tissue as would be ideal or desired. However, most patients undergoing liposuction only breast reduction who are proper candidates are able to obtain relief from physical symptoms and breasts that are more proportionate with the body
Second, liposuction only breast reduction does not lift breasts. With less weight, the breast skin typically retracts upwards but the extent to which this occurs is not predictable. Liposuction only breast reduction is best suited for women who do not need or do not desire a breast lift.
What To Expect After A Breast Reduction*
You will be able to go home shortly after surgery to continue your recovery. Your breasts will be bandaged or placed in a surgical bra.
Most patients experience some soreness, swelling, and bruising after breast reduction surgery. Dr Fan will prescribe pain medication to help keep you comfortable, and many patients find they can switch to over the counter pain relievers after the first few days. Bruising typically resolves over 1-3 weeks, while mild residual swelling may last longer.
While you’ll be able to get up and walk around the house the same day of surgery, you should expect to take it easy for the first few days. Also, expect to sleep on your back at an incline for the first several weeks after surgery.
Many patients return to work within the first week after breast reduction surgery, depending on the nature of their jobs, and resume most daily activities after a week or so. You will need to limit exercise other than walking for the first 2-6 weeks after a breast reduction; Dr.Fan will provide you with detailed instructions about when it is safe to resume any activity.
Residual soreness, swelling, and altered sensations should gradually subside over the first 3-6 months after a breast lift. Your new breasts and gathering of tissue will “settle down” over 3-6 months. Scars will initially be pink and slightly raised, but they will fade and flatten out in the months that follow surgery, up to two years.
A highly experienced surgeon is important for obtaining natural, noticeable results. It is important to choose your surgeon based on their education, training, and experience with your specific procedure as well as your comfort level with them.
Dr. Fan’s Expertise
Dr. Fan has performed hundreds of breast reduction procedures. He is very experienced and skilled with all techniques including “anchor,” “inverted-T,” “Wise pattern,” “vertical,” “lollipop,” “donut,” “Benelli,” and “No Vertical Scar” breast reductions.
The cost of breast reduction depends on the type of reduction needed to achieve your desired result. We will help you create a customized plan, in person, that is tailored to your specific needs. The cost for breast reduction ranges from $8,000-$25,000.
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Breast reduction is considered a long-lasting procedure. Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your breasts will remain a consistent size. However, the effects of gravity and aging will eventually cause your breasts to droop over time.
Health insurance companies will often cover breast reduction but they have specific criteria you must meet. However, health insurance companies often do not sufficiently reimburse the doctor, so fewer experienced plastic surgeons are accepting insurance.
Breast size can be reduced to a limited degree with exercise but unfortunately, breast shape and position will usually suffer as a result. If the nipple is at or below the breast crease, it will stay there or even go a little lower as you lose weight.
Breast reduction typically requires 1 to 5 hours to perform.
General anesthesia or local with intravenous sedation.
Breast reduction is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. In select circumstances, an overnight hospital stay may be recommended or even required.
Temporary bruising, swelling, discomfort, numbness, dry breast skin, and “bunched” or “pleated” tissues are common. Some scars are to be expected
Breast reduction is an extremely popular and generally very satisfying procedure. Breast reduction is typically considered safe, however, all surgical procedures carry inherent risks. The risks of breast reduction including bleeding, infection, scarring, adverse reaction to anesthesia, delayed healing, tissue loss, asymmetry, contour deformity, difficulty breastfeeding, and permanent loss of feeling in the nipples or breasts.
Back to work: 1 week or more. Strenuous activities: 1 month. Fading of scars: several months to a year.
Most patients can return to work and light activities in 3-7 days.
You should be able to resume light activities 2-5 days after surgery. Many patients return to work within the first week after surgery, depending on the nature of their job. You will be able to resume low impact exercises after about 4 weeks.
Breast augmentation is a procedure that enhances the shape, size, and proportions of a woman’s breasts using implants.
Learn More About Breast Augmentation
A breast reduction reduces the size and weight of large, heavy breasts that are out of proportion to the rest of the figure or causing issues such as back pain.
A breast lift restores a firmer, perkier, and more aesthetically pleasing shape to droopy breasts.
Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that removes excess deposits of fat to sculpt and shape the body.
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and repairs weakened muscles to create a flatter abdominal contour.
“He is a great doctor with very good bedside manners:) I could not be happier with my decision in choosing Dr. Fan. He is always available when I need him, returns my calls promptly, and cares about follow-up appointments. He wants the improvement for me as much as I want it, and is willing to work with me until the end. Compared to past experiences, he is refreshing and a great surgeon, very talented:)”*
Dr. Fan is known for his elegant sense of artistry and refined surgical skills. He will perform your surgery with expert, world-class execution and has the results to prove.
Dr. Fan and his team are committed to providing you with exceptional care, counseling, and support before, during, and after surgery. We take pride and joy in caring for you and have received numerous awards for our compassionate care.
Come relax in our beautiful office and enjoy the comfort, safety, and privacy of our fully accredited onsite private surgery center.
In this feature length book, you will learn:
This book was written by top plastic surgeon, Dr. Larry Fan.
Schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Fan here.During your consultation, Dr. Fan will take the time to address your specific goals and to discuss your treatment options. He will determine if you are a good candidate for a breast reduction and review the results that can be realistically achieved. He will also help you determine which procedures may benefit you the most. Schedule Complimentary Consultation