Overly large breasts can cause both emotional and physical discomfort. Attention directed to your breasts may make you feel self-conscious, and the weight of your breasts may lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Large breasts can cause bra strap grooves and skin irritations. They may keep you from taking part in sports or other activities, and they can make it hard to find clothing that fits well.
Breast reduction surgery can be life changing for someone who has suffered from these problems. To create a more proportionate silhouette, excess breast tissue is removed through incisions around the areola (the pigmented area around the nipple) and on the lower breast. The remaining tissue is reshaped, and extra skin is then removed from the lower breast. The nipple and areola are shifted upward and made smaller. They remain attached to the original tissue to maintain blood flow, but are rotated upwards and re-positioned.
Breast reduction surgery—also called reduction mammoplasty—is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The surgery typically takes 3 to 4 hours.
Breast Reduction Recovery and Results
Since breast reduction surgery doesn’t involve the muscles, breast reduction recovery is usually quick. Most patients can return to work after about a week. Oral medication will be prescribed to deal with the initial discomfort. A compression bra is worn for the first few weeks to reduce swelling, hold the breasts in their new shape, and keep scars from stretching. You’ll need to sleep on your back or side at first, and vigorous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for a few weeks.
It will take a couple of months for the swelling to disappear and your breasts to settle into their permanent shape, but the results of reduction mammoplasty are long lasting. Over time, your breasts can still change due to aging, gravity, and weight fluctuations. A healthy lifestyle and a stable weight will help you make the most of your reduction surgery.
Breast Reduction Scars
Like any surgery, breast reduction does leave scars. Most commonly these are around the areola, vertically from below the nipple to the breast fold, and horizontally along the breast fold (Weiss pattern or anchor incision). Scars can vary somewhat according to the size of the breasts and how much reduction is wanted. In any case, the breast reduction scars are easy to cover with clothing, and eventually they will become flatter and less red.
Breast Reduction and Lift
Extra-large breasts are prone to sagging. Breast reduction and lift surgery gives you the benefits of a breast lift along with reducing the size of your breasts. After extra breast tissue and fat are removed, the breasts are reshaped and lifted to create a contour that’s both more proportionate and more youthful-looking.
Insurance coverage vs. Self-Pay
In some cases, breast reduction can be covered by insurance. Insurance may cover this procedure only after the patient has met certain insurance requirements. They must have been seen by their primary care provider and must have demonstrated a persistent and long-term problem with large breasts. An attempt to manage symptoms by non-surgical means would have been exhausted. Additionally, the breasts must be of sufficient size to allow removal of the needed weight to satisfy insurance requirements. Because breast reductions can be deemed cosmetic by insurance companies, it can take a significant amount of time to obtain a pre-authorization. Surgery can be scheduled only after a pre-authorization has been obtained. Allow up to 6-12 months for this process to be complete.
Breast reductions can be performed outside of insurance without any pre-determinations or pre-qualifications. Surgery may be scheduled at your initial appointment. Since insurance is not involved, there is no requirement of a specific volume of resection. Full attention is given to the final resulting size and amount of breast tissue remaining rather than focusing on how much tissue is removed. This allows for much more flexibility with regards to desired final size and shape. Additionally, liposuction of the sub-axillary area can be performed, which is not generally allowed under insurance coverage. Discuss with Dr. Jensen and his team which method of payment would be right for you.