What is a breast reduction?
A breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure intended to reduce the size of your breasts to better match the proportions of your body. The breast is reshaped by removing tissue and skin.
Am I a good candidate for a breast reduction?
If your breasts are very large in proportion to your body frame, or they are different in size, you may be a good candidate for a breast reduction. This procedure also benefits those who are experiencing shoulder and back pain due to the large size and weight of their breasts. It can also help those who have skin irritation underneath large breasts. Excessively large and disproportionate breasts can cause self-consciousness and discomfort, and these are situations when a breast reduction is a good idea. This is a procedure that can be performed at any age. However, most plastic surgeons prefer that you wait until your breasts have fully developed. If you plan on having children and breastfeeding, you should discuss this with your doctor, as those activities can impact the size and shape of your breasts. Your doctor will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a breast reduction by examining and speaking with you about the size and shape of your breasts and what you wish for them to look like. This way, your doctor can properly evaluate your expectations and make sure that they are reasonable for the procedure.
Different Types of Breast Reductions
Due to a large difference in sizes and shapes of breasts among patients, the breast reduction technique can vary, depending on the surgeon and the needs of the patient. In most instances, incisions will be present around the areola, from the areola vertically down to the breast crease, and along the breast crease. Whenever possible lesser incisions will be used. Rarely in very larger breast reductions detaching the nipple and areola and placing it higher on the breast mound may be necessary.
What is involved in a breast reduction?
Fat, tissue, and skin are removed to reduce the size and alter the shape of each breast. The size of the incision is directly related to how much needs to be removed. When you have your breast reduction, you will likely be put to sleep using general anesthesia for the duration of the operation. When you wake up, you will be in a recovery room and may have drainage tubes in your breasts to keep fluids from building up. You will also be bandaged up or wearing a surgical bra. You will be prescribed medication to manage your pain and discomfort in the next few days. Your breasts will feel swollen and bruised. Your doctor can then inform you on how long you will need to stay bandaged, and when your stitches will be removed. Normal activities will likely be impacted for several weeks. Depending on the nature of your job, you may be able to return to work within a few days, or you may need to wait a couple weeks while your breasts heal. You will be encouraged to avoid lifting heavy objects for several days, as this can encourage swelling and further bruising, and you may want to sleep on your back during the initial recovery period. Sexual activity will need to be avoided for several days, and possibly longer, depending on your recovery. Even when you are able to resume sexual activity, care will need to be taken to avoid putting excess stress on your breasts, as they will still be healing. The breast reduction results should last years. The effects of age and gravity will impact a woman’s breasts after a certain length of time, however. But with a breast reduction, you may find that you enjoy physical activities more and you find relief from the pain of carrying excessively large breasts.
What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?
While the risks associated with a breast reduction are minimal, there are always risks associated with any surgical procedure. Bleeding and infection are two of the most common side effects, along with adverse reactions to the anesthesia. You may experience decrease or loss of sensation in your nipples. You also may lose the ability to breastfeed, so this is something to consider when thinking about having a breast reduction performed. Most of these side effects can be avoided – or their risk may be reduced – by following the clear instructions given to you by your doctor before and after surgery.
Does medical insurance cover breast reduction surgery?
If you are considering breast reduction and want to see about your insurance covering the breast reduction, there are certain steps that you must take to help you to obtain their approval. Tips for getting Insurance coverage for breast reduction: 1. Make sure that your insurance policy covers breast reduction. Some policies are being written that exclude breast reduction. Make sure that your doctor takes your insurance for Breast Reduction Surgery. 2. Documentation is the key—we must have letters or notes from other physicians that you see that indicate persistent ongoing problems that you have related to the size of your breasts. Ex: rashes consistently not just during the summer, pain in the shoulders, neck back. 3. Documentation of x-rays that rule out any spinal problems that could relate to the neck, back, shoulder pain you are experiencing. 4. Documentation of weight loss. The insurance companies want to know that you have tried weight loss to see if it decreases the size of the breasts. They have a scale that goes by your height, and weight to tell them how much breast tissue must be removed for approval. 5. Physical therapy notes- Some insurance companies will ask you to have 6 months of conservative care prior to approval. 6. Get properly fitted for a bra and get it documented. Many women wear the wrong size bra. When you come for your first visit have all this information with you. Then the letter, photos, information all goes in at one time which leads to a faster response. Remember that the insurance company will have a preset amount that they will want removed from each breast. This requirement may make you a smaller cup size than you wanted to be. If you have any further questions on breast reductions and your options, contact Piedmont Plastic Surgery and Dermatology today. Their professionals have served the Charlotte, Hickory, and Gastonia, NC, areas for years, and can help you evaluate all of your options to achieve the look you want.