Very often, women with unusually large, sagging or uneven breasts are dissatisfied with their physical appearance.
Many women experience pain or discomfort from the sheer weight of their breasts and the pressure of brassiere straps on their shoulders. Premenstrual congestion often adds to the discomfort. Large breasts can hamper physical activities and make it difficult to find properly fitting clothes, particularly brassieres. Today, because of advances in surgical techniques, thousands of women with these problems are being helped through a surgical procedure called reduction mammaplasty or breast reduction. This surgery is designed to improve the body contour, reduce pain, and make the individual more comfortable when engaging in physical activities.
Prior to surgery, a complete medical history is taken in order to evaluate your general health. The breasts themselves are then examined thoroughly to determine the most effective surgical approach. Dr. Gilmer will describe the type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, and what results might realistically be expected as well as possible risks and complications.
BEFORE BREAST REDUCTION
Preoperative instructions often include the elimination of certain drugs containing aspirin for several weeks before surgery in order to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Birth control and other estrogen containing hormones may also be discontinued temporarily. Antibiotics may be prescribed for a few days prior to surgery to prevent infection.
A breast reduction is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Dr. Gilmer may choose from a variety of surgical procedures, depending upon what changes are desired. Prior to surgery the breasts are carefully marked to indicate where incisions are to be made.
One of the techniques most frequently used is called a brassiere pattern skin reduction. This technique involves both vertical and horizontal incisions made around the nipple area, after which excess fat, tissue and skin are removed from the sides of the breast. Following the removal, the nipple, areola and tissue below are relocated but not detached. Small sutures are used to close the incisions.
Following surgery, you will wear either bandages or a special garment. These are usually replaced in a few days with a surgical bra which is worn for several weeks.
Pain connected with the procedure is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. Instructions for the day of surgery include bed rest with limited activities. Dr. Gilmer will advise you as to when normal activities can be resumed; however, strenuous exercise and overhead lifting must be avoided for several weeks.
Numbness around the treated area may occur, but this condition is usually temporary. Swelling and discoloration disappear in a few days, and scars from incisions, although permanent, fade significantly with time.
Complications of infection and slow healing are rare; however, there are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which should be thoroughly discussed with Dr. Gilmer and his staff. You can minimize complications by carefully following directions. Some patients who experience poor healing may require additional treatment.
WILL INSURANCE PAY FOR THIS SURGERY?
Some insurance companies will pay for part of or all of the costs of this surgery if it is performed as a result of back or neurological problems related to large breasts. Each insurance carrier is different, and it is recommended that you check with your health plan to determine if there is coverage.
If you are interested in learning more about breast reduction surgery, please contact our office and we will be happy to answer your questions.