Breast Reduction

Carrying the weight of several pounds of breast tissue on ones' chest can frequently lead to problems and symptoms. A very heavy full breast will pull on the internal breast ligaments causing stretching and sagging (ptosis) of the breast. Often times women begin to complain of neck pain, shoulder pain and shoulder notching from the pulling on the bra strap prior to a breast reduction. One can eventually develop back pain and strain, headaches, and yeast rashes below the breasts. Large breasts frequently interfere with participation in sports activities, and can occasionally be the source of social embarrassment. A properly fitting wardrobe can also be challenging.

There are several surgical techniques described for performing breast reduction surgery. The most commonly used procedures today involve either the inferior pedicle (or Wise pattern or 'keyhole') technique, or a vertical reduction technique, which leaves a scar around the areola, and one in the vertical midline. All of these techniques leave the nipple and areola attached to the breast tissue so as to preserve its' sensitivity and erectile ability. Only in cases of extremely large and ptotic breasts is the nipple and areola removed and reattached. On occasion, a breast implant is inserted, at the time of reduction, to maintain a full youthful appearance to the superior portion of the breast.

This procedure can be performed as an outpatient, or occasionally with an overnight stay. It is strongly recommended that the removed breast tissue be examined by a pathologist. The recovery period for this procedure is between two and three weeks, and the frequent complaint after surgery is a loss of energy in the early postoperative period. The women who undergo breast reduction surgery are among the happiest patients seen by a plastic surgeon, and often remark, "Why did I wait so long to have this done?"