Having overly large natural breasts can be a burden for a woman, physically and mentally. The weight can lead to back and neck pain and nerve damage. Posture is difficult. Clothing is impossible to find. And the undue attention your breasts attract can make you avoid social situations.
Breast reduction surgery with Dr. Rick Silverman will bring your breasts into proportion with the rest of your figure, and can be incredibly freeing emotionally. This procedure can make a huge change in your body image and self-confidence. To learn more, call (617) 965-9500 to schedule a consultation.
What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction is clinically known as reduction mammoplasty. There are two incision options to access and remove excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin to reduce the overall size of the breasts. The breasts are brought up to a higher position on the chest, not unlike a breast lift, and the nipple/areola complex is repositioned. In most cases, Dr. Silverman also reduces the size of the areolae.
Why Would a Woman Consider a Breast Reduction?
Very large breasts can truly be a burden, both literally and figuratively. They can cause a number of physical and psychological problems for a woman. Here are some specific examples that could point toward the need for breast reduction:
- Neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Spinal problems
- Tingling in the hands
Having overly large breasts (the clinical term is hypermastia) can keep a woman from participating in sports and certain types of exercise. Plus, self-consciousness can impact many aspects of her professional and social life. If these issues sound like what you are experiencing, a breast reduction could be the answer. Call (617) 965-9500 to schedule a consultation with Boston Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Rick Silverman.
How Does Dr. Silverman Perform a Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction surgery is performed with the patient under general anesthesia and takes from two to four hours. There are two typical incision types. The option used by Dr. Silverman will depend on the extent of sagging skin that needs to be addressed.
- Traditional incision breast reduction — In this method, Dr. Silverman creates an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, runs down to the breast crease, and follows the breast crease a few inches in each direction. This incision is normally used for women with extremely large breasts.
- Vertical incision breast reduction — The incision here is more like a lollipop, circling the areola and running straight down to the breast crease. This is used for women with moderately large breasts and creates a smaller scar than the traditional method.
In both cases, fat, excess glandular tissue, and skin are removed. The nipples and areolae are usually relocated to a higher position, as well. The areolae will likely be made smaller.
What Is Recovery like After Breast Reduction Surgery?
You will have soreness, swelling, and bruising because breast reduction involves a fair amount of tissue trauma. After two days, your bandages will be removed and replaced by a surgical bra. Dr. Silverman stresses the importance of wearing this surgical bra (and then transitioning to a support bra) for 24 hours a day. This removes any weight and pressure on your incisions. You’ll have to take it easy for the first one to two weeks, and avoid strenuous activity for probably six weeks. You’ll need to take at least one, and more likely two weeks off of work. Dr. Silverman is often able to maintain nipple sensation and breastfeeding function after breast reduction, but this is not always possible.
What Will My Scarring Be like After Reduction Surgery?
This procedure involves a sizable incision and thus will create scarring. Your incision scars will be pink for a few weeks, and then they will begin to lighten. They will always be there, but their appearance will continue to improve with time.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Make My Scars Less Visible?
The best advice for managing or attempting to minimize the appearance of your scars is to leave the steri-strips in place until Dr. Silverman removes them at your follow-up. Also, wearing your surgical bra and then your support bra at all times during the first 4-6 weeks is critical. This eliminates any pressure on the incisions, which keeps the scars as narrow as possible. It also helps eliminate some of the redness.
Keep your scars out of the sun. Healing skin is extra sensitive, plus sun exposure makes scars darken. A product called bioCorneum+ SPF 30 is a good topical silicone treatment that doubles as a sunscreen. It creates an invisible protective layer over the scar. This keeps it clean, supported, and shielded from UV rays.
Dr. Silverman can recommend topical scar-minimizing treatments that keep the area moisturized and help to minimize the appearance of the scars. SkinMedica makes one such product called Scar Recovery Gel with Centelline.
Lightly massaging your scars can help them heal more smoothly. But you cannot do this too early and put stress on your incisions. Ask Dr. Silverman when massage could be appropriate, along with the proper technique.
Tips for Recovery
Due to the size of the incisions involved with breast reduction and the amount of tissue trauma, recovery isn’t a walk in the park. Here are a few tips to make it go more smoothly.
- Get help — For the first two to three days after your surgery, you’ll need someone with you to help you get around, cook meals, handle household chores, help with the kids, and keep you from having to lift anything.
- Follow your post-op instructions — Our team will give you detailed recovery instructions, and you need to follow them completely. These are areas such as removing bandages, bathing, exercise, driving, and the like.
- Eat well — Your healing body needs good nutrition to help with the healing process. High protein foods are good.
- Wear your surgical bra — Supporting your downsized breasts is critical to improve circulation (and healing), to reduce scar formation, to minimize movement (and pain), to prevent the development of sagging skin, and to minimize swelling.
- Take it easy — You may be so thrilled to not have your large breasts getting in the way that you want to get out and do stuff. For the first two weeks, it’s a far better idea to lay low and let your body get down to the business of healing. Have friends or your spouse do things like grocery shopping and vacuuming.
- Patience is not only a virtue, but a necessity — This isn’t an instant recovery. Full recovery after breast reduction will likely take at least six months and could need up to a year. There will be residual swelling and sensitivity. Your breasts can slightly change shape as the tissues adjust and heal. Your scars will be quite visible in the beginning. But if you think long-term and how happy you’ll be to have breasts that are proportional to your figure and not such a burden to everyday life, then your recovery will be manageable.
Schedule a Breast Reduction Consultation
Ready to take the next step in learning more about reducing the size of your breasts? Call (617) 965-9500 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Silverman.