Reduction mammaplasty, or simply breast reduction, is one of the most common procedures we perform at Frost Plastic Surgery. Contrary to popular culture, large breasts are often not a blessing but rather a burden. Women note that they are tired of men talking to their chest rather than their face.
Women who seek reduction tell us that they have pain in the upper back, shoulders and neck. They sometimes complain of headaches, arm pain and rashes beneath the breasts. They find it difficult to exercise due to the weight of the breasts pulling on the chest; they often wear two or even three bras to try to exercise. They often find themselves lifting their breasts with their hands or setting them on a table to get relief. It is just not fair.
It is very gratifying to bring relief to these women. Frequently heard comments are: “Why did I wait so long,” “I should have done this years ago,” “I love my new breasts” or “What a relief.” It is common to hear women say “My back and shoulders felt better in the recovery room!”
Many insurance companies cover breast reduction. It is becoming more difficult to help you determine the coverage of your specific company since some cover reduction in one contract but not in another. We recommend that you contact your company to find our the specifics or your individual contract. And if they say “we cover it if your doctor says it is medically indicated” ask for that in writing.
Breast reduction removes excess breast glands, fat, and skin to achieve breast size in better proportion with your body. This helps to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.
An anchor shape pattern incision is made around the areola and vertically down to and within the breast crease. The nipple remains attached to its original nerve and blood supply and is repositioned to a higher location.
Removing excess skin reduces the size of the areola. Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Occasionally, for extremely long breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and grafted in a higher position on the breast.
The incisions are then brought together to reshape the smaller breast – kind of like making a new smaller bra out of your skin. Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures beneath the skin and surgical tape will be used to close the incisions. The scars will be permanent but cases will fade over time.
You will have a supportive bra and possible drains placed after the surgery. You must wear the bra day and night until instructed by Dr. Frost. If you don’t have drains – and most women don’t – you will be able to shower the next day.
Expected Side Effects:
- Numbness of skin and/or nipple – may be permanent
We do everything we can to decrease the risks of surgery. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with any surgery. Some of the risks specific to breast reduction are:
- Asymmetry, breast contour and shape irregularities
- Partial or total loss of the nipple and areola – rare
- Possible inability to breast feed
- Poor healing resulting in conspicuous scarring or skin loss
- Bleeding or fluid collection under the skin, which could require more surgery
- Bleeding – requiring additional surgery
- Blood clots in the legs leading to clots in the lungs
- Death related to anesthesia
Learn More About the Procedure
Click below to learn what to do before and after the procedure.
At this visit, we will: Take your payment and answer any questions you may have regarding the procedure. At this time, Dr. Frost may not be available, but if you would like to speak with him again, please let us know and we will schedule this visit when he is available. Provide you with any prescriptions that you may need for after surgery. We encourage you to have these prescriptions filled prior to your surgery to avoid having to stop at the pharmacy after your procedure. Please let us know if you have any specific pain medication requests, and we will try to prescribe the medication that works best for you. Make arrangements for any necessary pre-operative evaluations that need to be performed, such as blood tests, pregnancy testing, EKG, etc.
Diet and Medications:
Please, DO NOT eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight prior to your surgery. This is VERY important. Your surgery will be CANCELLED if you eat or drink anything after midnight. The only exception is a sip of water with any medications that you must take. Generally, you should take high blood pressure and heart medications. Do NOT take arthritis medications and do NOT take diabetic medications (including insulin), unless specifically instructed to do so.
Bathing and Clothing Prior to Surgery:
Please take a shower and use antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing such as a front button shirt and loose pants since these items are easier to put on and take off after surgery.
Take it slow and easy with your diet. Start with clear liquids and simply advance as tolerated. It is normal to have some nausea from the anesthetic and pain medication, but by taking it easy, this should quickly resolve.
Take it easy, Walking is good, bouncing is bad. A good rule of thumb is: “If it hurts, don’t do it.” You may feel like you cannot stand up straight. Feel free to walk bent-over for the first week or so. You will be able to stand straight (and proud) soon. As you start to feel stronger, you may gradually increase your activity. Do not plan to drive for 2 to 3 weeks since restricted movement may limit your response time in an emergency. Do not do any abdominal exercise for at least a month to six weeks. Actually, if we tighten the muscles enough, you may never do another sit-up again!
There is discomfort after any surgery. The goal of pain medication is to prevent pain, so do not wait until you are really hurting to take your medication. Follow the directions on your prescription to stay ahead of the pain and experience the highest level of pain relief possible. Narcotics can cause constipation, so drink plenty of water, eat fruit and use an over-the-counter laxative, if needed.
Post-Operative Dressings and Bathing:
Leave your bra on day and night. If you don’t have drains, you will be able to shower the day after surgery. There will be tape across the incisions that will stay on while showering; simply shower over the tapes that cover the incision and pat them dry. There will be changes over the months following your surgery, so do not judge the results too early.
Our goal is for you to be informed. If you have a question, please call our office at 850.474.8333.