Many women suffer from a condition called "macromastia," or excessively large breasts. Macromastia can be extremely uncomfortable and even debilitating, causing physical problems such as back and shoulder pain as well as issues such as drawing unwanted attention from bystanders and not being able to find clothes that fit right. For women suffering from this condition, breast reduction surgery can be life-changing.
Here at Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center in Henderson, NV, our goal is to help women look and feel their best. Dr. Brown is a renowned surgeon with extensive experience performing breast reduction surgery. Call us at 702-664-6684 to learn more and book your consultation!
What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery, also called "reduction mammaplasty," is a surgical procedure where excess tissue is removed from the breasts, the skin is tightened, and the nipple and areola are repositioned. Breast reduction often results in a full breast lift effect, as well. Excess tissue weighs the breasts down, so when it is removed and the skin is tightened, the breasts naturally become lighter and perkier.
There are two main types of breast reduction surgery, as follows:
- Vertical Breast Reduction: This type of procedure is done when the patient has moderate macromastia and good overlying skin tone. During a vertical breast reduction, tissue is removed from the lower central aspect of the breast, skin is tightened around the areola, and the nipple and areola are raised and made smaller.
- Full Breast Reduction: A full breast reduction is performed when the patient has severe macromastia and associated sagging. During this procedure, tissue will be removed from all around the breast, and skin tightening as well as full breast reshaping will be performed.
How Much Do Breast Reductions Cost?
Costs and financing: Breast reduction costs between $11,000 and $14,000 at Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center. Health insurance sometimes covers a portion of the cost. It depends on the policy and whether the insurance company considers the procedure "medically necessary." In general terms, women seeking breast reduction because their breasts cause chafing, back problems or other health-related issues, may be able to obtain insurance coverage. If the insurance company believes the motivations are aesthetic in nature, they may deny coverage.
To learn more about these insurance issues, and to get a customized cost estimate, please arrange a consultation with Dr. Hayley Brown. We cannot guarantee any insurance coverage, but we can help to verify what is in your policy. We also offer financing options through CareCredit and Prosper, both of which we can tell you more about at your consultation.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
If you suffer from large breasts that cause problems in your daily life, you are probably a good candidate for a reduction mammaplasty. Everyday problems that overly large breasts can cause include:
- Back, shoulder, and neck pain
- Difficulty exercising
- Ill fitting clothes
- Unwanted attention when out in public
- Difficulty finding a bra that fits
- Pain from bra straps digging into shoulders
You may be an ideal candidate for a breast reduction procedure if you:
- Have large, sagging, heavy breasts
- Desire a decrease in bra size and lift of nipple
- Are uncomfortable or self conscious about your breast size
- Have difficulty exercising
- Have pain in your back, shoulders, or neck due to the size of your breasts
- Are a non-smoker
- Are at a stable and healthy weight
What to Expect from Breast Reduction Surgery
Reduction mammaplasty is one of the most rewarding surgeries to perform, as it often results in a significant improvement in quality of life for patients. Back and neck pain improves, exercise becomes possible, clothes and bras start to fit better, and often the patient's entire self-image gets a boost.
It's important to remember that asymmetry is the natural state of breasts, and while improvements to symmetry can be made, the breasts generally will not be (and should not be) completely symmetrical after surgery.
In addition, as with any surgery, there will be resulting scars. Dr. Brown is highly skilled and can perform surgeries with the minimal amount of scarring possible, but you should expect some. Over time the scars will fade, and they'll be able to be hidden even under a skimpy bikini. Most of our patients find that a few easily hidden scars are a small price to pay for a vast improvement in their quality of life.
What Is a Breast Reduction Procedure Like?
A reduction mammaplasty generally only takes two to three hours to perform. During the procedure, you'll be under general anesthesia. There's generally no need to stay overnight following a breast reduction; you can go home as soon as the anesthesia has worn off and you feel ready.
At no point during your surgery is the nipple fully removed. It will remain attached to the underlying blood vessels, nerves, and ducts so as to retain function and sensation. However, if you are undergoing a very large reduction, it is possible that there will be some temporary changes to sensation. Please feel free to discuss this with Dr. Brown during your consultation.
Breast Reduction Post-Operative Care
Following the procedure, it's very important to follow all of Dr. Brown's postoperative care instructions. Each individual is different, but generally you can expect the following:
- The breasts are dressed in gauze and a sports bra
- You may need drainage tubes; these are used about 70% of the time
- Absorbable sutures, with small external knots trimmed between one and two weeks
- Mild bruising and swelling
- No strenuous exercise for four weeks
- Return to non-physical work within one to two weeks
- Sleep on your back for three to four weeks
- Bra support is required day and night for eight weeks
Swelling may last for up to six months, and your breasts may look unusual because of it. Don't worry if your breasts look odd for a few weeks. The swelling will gradually subside and you'll notice continuous improvement in the shape over the course of the six months.
Breast Reduction FAQs
How Do I Know if I Need Breast Reduction?
First of all, the only person who can be the judge of whether you “need” a procedure is you. Dr. Brown makes sure her patients are choosing a cosmetic procedure for themselves – to address a concern that bothers them for personal reasons – not for someone else or to try to fulfill other people’s expectations. As part of that goal, she makes sure you know what breast reduction can do for you based on the condition of your breasts and your concerns.
As for the signs that you may be a breast reduction candidate, they may be physical and/or emotional in nature. For instance, your back, neck and shoulders may ache because of heavy breasts. There may be grooves or chafed spots where your bra straps dig into your shoulders. Women with overly large breasts often find it difficult to perform high-intensity exercise and they may find their breasts interfere with sleep because of discomfort.
You may also want to consider breast reduction if your bust size is distressing – that is, if it is impacting your quality of life. Many women with large breasts get unwanted attention from people who stare or make insensitive comments. Some may have been bullied when they were young women. You may feel distressed if you cannot find tops and dresses that fit your bust in a flattering way. All of these things should be considered as part of determining your candidacy.
What Causes Extremely Large Breasts?
Many factors influence large breast size, including:
- Hormonal changes
Generally, genetics plays an outsize role. The genes from your mother’s family as well as your father’s family contribute to breast size and other physical characteristics. If you have always had large breasts, attempts at reducing your breasts through weight loss may have little to no effect. A surgical reduction performed by Dr. Brown will permanently resize and reshape your breasts.
How Painful is Breast Reduction?
The procedure itself is not painful because you will be anesthetized. Discomfort and soreness as you recover is expected, but we will make sure you know how to manage it, either with prescribed painkillers or over-the-counter medications. Soreness and stiffness around the breasts should get less and less intense over the next 1-2 weeks. These side effects will peak in the first 1-3 days, but we provide you with tips for mitigating pain. The vast majority of patients report that the recovery is manageable and well-worth the results.
How Many Cup Sizes Can You Go Down with Breast Reduction?
Many women go down 1-2 bra cup sizes after breast reduction. On the other hand, you may find that your bra size doesn’t change after this procedure, or changes in a way you didn’t expect.
In truth, bra sizing is not a reliable way to discuss breast size. Cups and bands vary by manufacturer and even by bra style. While Dr. Brown does want to hear about your desired size, please take note that there is no guarantee you’ll be a 36B just because that is what you described. Instead, Dr. Brown wants to make sure your new breast size flatters your body shape and proportions, and meets the expectations you describe to her. Telling her what cup size you are envisioning is a useful way to get on the same page, but shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor. She wants you to look and feel amazing. Helping you envision a new breast size that is neither too small nor too large is how she approaches your initial consultation.
Does the Procedure Also Lift the Breasts?
Yes, the excess tissue is removed and the nipples are lifted up higher on the new breast shape, so a reduction procedure also lifts your breasts and nipple-areola complex.
Who Do You Talk to About Breast Reduction?
You talk to an experienced, board-certified and compassionate plastic surgeon like Dr. Hayley Brown. Choosing any surgical procedure is a big decision. Your plastic surgeon should perform breast reduction routinely so that you can be sure they know what they are doing and that they provide great results consistently.
The founder of Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. Brown has been in private practice at our facility since the year 2000. She has performed numerous breast reductions as well as other breast procedures. As such, she can provide valuable guidance and advice as you make this important decision about your body.
Can I Combine Procedures?
Breast reduction surgery is often performed in conjunction with other body contouring procedures such as liposuction or tummy tuck for a full body makeover. As long as you are healthy and at a good BMI, it may be possible to have these procedures done simultaneously. Talk to Dr. Brown about your options.
Schedule Your Breast Reduction Consultation Today
If your breasts are so large they are a hindrance to your everyday life, breast reduction surgery may be the answer. Call Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center in Henderson, NV at 702-664-6684 today to learn more about how Dr. Brown can help you with your macromastia.