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Read e-book When Less Is More: The Complete Guide for Women Considering Breast Reduction Surgery

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You will, of course, still be responsible for any deductibles or contributions required by your insurer. Breast reduction surgery is performed through different incision techniques. While all surgical breast reduction techniques share the common aim of removing excess glandular, skin and tissue mass, the incision technique selected to do so varies, with different incisions resulting in slightly different outcomes.

It depends on scarring versus shape. In addition to removing excess breast weight, a breast reduction by nature will include a breast lift mastopexy so your breasts sit higher on your chest and appear cosmetically more attractive. Although most women undergo breast reduction to address physical difficulties or issues, there are aesthetic advantages to be gained from the procedure as well. It consists of three distinct incisions. This incision pattern allows for maximum tissue and skin removal. The areola and nipple are relocated to a higher position on the breast to match the new breast shape, but still remain attached to a mound of tissue containing ducts, nerves and blood supply so breast function and sensation is maintained.

Pedicle methods may also be used in conjunction with the vertical or anchor incision methods, as well as liposuction. There are two other pedicle methods, but they are less commonly used by surgeons: the medial pedicle method, where the nipple and areola remain attached to the inner portion of the areola, and the lateral pedicle method, where the nipple and areola remain attached to the outer portion of the areola.

The upper portion of the breast that gives the appearance of cleavage is preserved while the hanging lower portion of the breast is removed, creating a lifted, more attractive breast shape. The vertical incision technique is most commonly carried out on women who only require a moderate reduction in breast size. Two incisions are made during the procedure: one around the periphery of the areola, the other a vertical incision from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease, or inframammary fold.

This incision pattern allows for the removal of modest amounts of excess fat, tissue and skin. The breast is then reshaped internally into a smaller, more compact shape. Liposuction is often used to supplement this incision technique. In many cases, liposuction may be used as an supplementary method of removing breast fat in conjunction with the techniques described above.

Liposuction carried out in the vicinity of the breasts can enhance results by trimming excess tissue from underneath the armpit, the upper back, and above the rib area. Slimming around the upper body provides an advantageous setting to help the breasts appear full and natural. Combining liposuction with a breast reduction allows you to enhance your breasts and slim your frame at the same time. For women whose large breast size is largely due to fatty tissue, liposuction may solely be used for breast reduction. However, very few women meet the criteria necessary to undergo a liposuction-based breast reduction.

For women with extremely large breasts gigantomastia who undergo breast reduction, sometimes the nipple areola complex must be completely detached from its current location in order to be appropriately relocated in an elevated position when the breasts have been reduced.

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This method is known as a free nipple graft. Patient must be aware that the loss of nipple sensation and the ability to breastfeed is possible following this approach. Feelings of fear, anxiety or being overwhelmed about your upcoming surgery are entirely normal. Sometimes, an effective way to deal with these emotions is to be pro-active as you wait, taking measures to prepare yourself for surgery so that everything goes as well as it possibly can and your recovery is swift and complication-free.

As the time leading up to your surgery draws closer, it is highly likely that you will be asked to attend a pre-operative appointment. The doctor may also instruct you to get a mammogram, particularly if you are over 55 years old, to ensure there is no cancerous tissue in the breast prior to surgery.

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Having preoperative and postoperative mammograms can help create a baseline of your breast health before surgery and note any shifts or changes in your breast that occur as a result of surgery such as calcifications, scars, masses or lesions. The surgeon will also provide you with a list of instructions to follow in the weeks leading up to your scheduled surgical date. These instruction lists usually outline the following recommendations:.

Freeing up your schedule in the days before your breast reduction will give you time to prepare yourself for the surgery and recovery period that will follow. Your surgeon is likely to give you specific instructions about what you need to do in the hours leading up to your procedure. Nerves are totally normal on the day of surgery.

One of the best ways to alleviate any pre-surgery jitters is to arrive at the facility where your surgery is being performed with plenty of time to spare. This gives you a chance to go through the admittance procedures and settle in without being rushed. He or she will likely also make-pre-operative markings on your body to guide where the incisions will be made. Your surgeon will discuss the option that is most appropriate for you prior to surgery.

The excess tissue is removed through the incision sites, and in some procedures, excess skin will be removed as well. If you are undergoing the pedicle incision method, the nipple mound while still tethered to its original blood and nerve supply will be repositioned higher on the breast.

The breast tissue will be lifted and shaped. The incisions will be stitched, and the stitches will deeply permeate the breast skin to support and hold the new breasts in shape. Your breasts will be wrapped in a special gauze, and you may have drainage tubes in place to drain away any excess fluid from the incision site. Following surgery you will be wheeled into a recovery facility for a few hours to awaken from the anesthesia, closely supervised by staff to ensure there are no immediate complications.

Your nurse will follow your specific care instructions as provided by your surgeon, and your recovery will be closely monitored. When your anesthesiologist and surgeon are satisfied you are fully awake and in a stable state of recovery, you will be released to either go home or to an aftercare facility. The surgeon will then discuss your results and outline post-operative care instructions to adhere to, explaining how to change your bandages, empty your drains if you have drains , and care for the incision sites. Recovery from breast reduction surgery is an ongoing process that occurs in stages.

Knowing what to expect and how to properly care for your body as it moves through each stage of recovery will help you to feel prepared, heal and return to everyday life more quickly. The extent of bruising depends on the patient and the breast reduction technique. If you are bruised, rest assured that this normally subsides within a week.

Ask your surgeon for advice about treatments such as Bromelain or Vitamin A to help dispel bruising more efficiently.

Breast Reduction Surgery Most Frequently Asked Questions — Answered

Warm compresses applied to the bruised area several days after your surgery can also help dilate the superficial blood vessels, but always check with your surgeon first. Swelling is a natural inflammatory response to injury, with fluids rich in hemoglobin and and white blood cells gathering at the wound site to facilitate healing.


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If you experience severe swelling, however, it could be indicative of something more serious, so seek medical advice. These garments may feel a little uncomfortable but are important as they offer support to your new breasts and can drastically speed up the recovery process by reducing swelling. Your surgeon may place Steri-Strips on top of your incision sutures to protect them, or you may have an external tissue glue that binds the edges of your incisions.

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The surgeon will provide you with details about caring for the incisions to best facilitate healing. Most patients are provided with antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection. Make sure you take the antibiotics as prescribed. The incision sites will also be checked. Keeping an eye on your temperature and making sure your pain is under control is vital to ensuring your recovery is free of complications. Feelings of tenderness, stiffness and soreness for the first few days following surgery are normal and to be expected. You can mitigate these feelings by taking the pain relief prescribed by your surgeon.

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Keeping pain at bay is better for your overall experience and also quickens your recovery time. Some patients are offered the option of a pain pump, which delivers targeted pain relief directly to the surgical site with the added benefit of no grogginess, which is often a side effect of oral pain relief. However, not all surgeons offer the use of pain pumps, and those that do will add it as an extra expense to your final bill.

Breast Augmentation Using Fat Transfer

Checking your temperature regularly is also important as it provides feedback about your body as it heals. An elevated temperature could be a symptom of an infection. Noting any changes in temperature early allows you to respond more quickly and seek medical advice before the situation escalates into something potentially serious. Lying down for extended periods of time heightens the risk of blood clots occurring, and makes swelling take longer to dissipate. Strenuous or vigorous exercise at this stage of recovery is discouraged, however.


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Sleeping in an elevated position can be challenging, so your surgeon may prescribe medication to help you sleep more easily. Placing a cushion under your knees and alongside your body can also help you to maintain an upright position and feel more comfortable.


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You will need to take sponge baths for the first few days after surgery. Try to avoid washing your hair by keeping it neatly tied back or braided. If you must wash your hair, ask a friend or loved one to help you. Dry shampoo can be a savior, giving the appearance of clean hair without the need for water or rinsing. Some women find suture removal a little painful, but rest assured it is a quick process and any discomfort will be momentary.

The feeling of stitches being removed has been likened to a tugging sensation accompanied by some stinging.