Female Breast Reduction

Some women have overly large breasts that can cause discomfort or even pain. These women are the perfect candidates for breast reduction surgery. A female breast reduction involves removal of extra fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts to reduce breast weight and size. In many women, the procedure improves or eliminates chronic back, neck, shoulder pain and improves mobility and functionality. Moreover, there are also cosmetic benefits from a breast reduction.

A breast reduction is usually performed in cases where a woman with large breasts has experienced one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
  • Chronic nerve problems resulting in numbness or tingling in arms or hands.
  • Cosmetic problems, such as persistent bra-strap grooves, scar-like lines in the skin, difficulty finding clothes that fit, and low self-confidence.
  • Chronic rashes under breasts

Before undergoing the procedure, the patient is asked to follow some instructions. Smokers are asked to stop smoking for at least six weeks as smoking decreases the blood supply to the healing tissues and therefore slows wound healing.  Smokers also have an increased rate of infection and fat necrosis. Inform Dr. Davidson about what medications or supplements you take, even those without a prescription.  You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that affect bleeding.  Prior to surgery, women older than 35 years-old will need a mammogram.

Female breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Davidson removes some of the breast tissue and skin and moves your nipples higher to center them. Commonly, Dr. Davidson makes 3 incisions

  • Around the areola
  • From the areola down to the crease under the breast
  • Across the lower crease of breast

After removing extra fat, skin and breast tissue, the nipple and areola are moved to a higher position. Dr. Davidson closes the incisions with stitches to reshape the breast. Liposuction may be combined with a breast reduction to improve the shape of the breast and armpit areas. The entire procedure commonly takes 2 - 3 hours.

After surgery, a bandage is wrapped around breasts and chest, and drainage tubes attached to breasts. These tubes are generally removed within 1 - 3 days. Within the first week, your dressing is replaced with a soft bra, which you must wear 24/7 for several weeks. The swelling and bruising around incisions may take few weeks to disappear. There may be a temporary loss of sensation in breast skin and nipples. There are normally no stitches to be removed.

The outcome of a female breast reduction is usually very good. One typically feels better about their appearance and is more comfortable with various activities. Pain or skin symptoms may disappear. Wearing a special supporting bra for a few months may help to reshape your breasts. The permanent scars are more visible for the first year after which they fade significantly.