Surgical Breast » Breast Reduction

Seattle Breast Reduction

A breast reduction is considered when overly large breasts cause discomfort, both physical and emotional. Most women that seek this operation have hopes of both improving the symptoms caused by the weight of the breast and improving their appearance. Talk to Dr. Peters about what you want to achieve and how you expect to improve your health by having breast reduction. She’ll help you make your decision based on your individual need for more comfortable and proportionate breasts.

Reasons for Considering Breast Reduction

Breast reduction surgery (reduction mammoplasty) decreases weight of heavy breasts, repositions the breast higher on the chest and improves breast shape. Overly large breasts can result in pain in the upper back, shoulders and neck. The weight of the breasts can cause indentations in shoulders from the pressure of bra straps. Skin rashes at the base of the breast are common in athletic women with large breasts which worsen in hot weather. Gravity pulls breasts downward, distorting their shape.

Breast Reduction Surgical Techniques

There are a variety of surgical techniques for breast reduction. The choice of technique is dependent upon body type as well as your personal preference. The anchor pattern or inverted “T” pattern are the traditional techniques.

  • An anchor pattern breast reduction has a scar that is placed at edge of the areola, between the darkly pigmented skin and normal breast skin. The scar extends down to the base of the breast and crosses transversely on the undersurface of the breast.
  • A vertical breast reduction (also called the short scar reduction or “lollipop” pattern) has no scar at the bottom. Vertical reductions work best in women with good skin elasticity whose breasts are not extremely large.

Both of these techniques leave the nipple attached to the ducts and gland below at all times. Although breastfeeding cannot be guaranteed after breast reduction, recent studies have shown that approximately 70 percent of women that try breastfeeding after this surgery are able to do so.

Breast reduction by liposuction can be an alternative for certain people. The women best suited for this have breasts that are more fatty than glandular in nature and have a high nipple position. Breasts tend to become fattier with aging and also have a drop in nipple position, so there are very few people for whom this is the best choice.

Insurance and Financing

Insurance companies will sometimes pay for breast reduction surgery if their criteria are met. Typically the company needs to know that you have physical symptoms related to the weight of your breasts and that these symptoms are likely to be improved by the operation. Some insurance companies ask that you have documentation of symptoms for a prolonged period of time and prefer that you have sought conservative therapy such as physical therapy or orthopedic care. Most insurance policies require that a certain amount of weight be removed from each breast at the time of surgery to be considered medically necessary. The amount is determined individually based on your height and weight.

Breast Reduction FAQs

Will I loss sensation in my nipples?

Complete loss of feeling to the nipple is rare. Eighty-five percent of patients report the return of near normal sensation. For those that report decreased feeling in their nipples, 90% will return to normal by one year.

How long should I wait to have a breast reduction after breastfeeding?

It is best to wait to have a breast reduction surgery after your breasts are no longer lactating.

Can I breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?

Studies show that 60 to 70 percent of women who try to breastfeed after reduction surgery are successful.

Can I have a mammogram after breast reduction surgery? If so, how long should I wait?

Mammograms can be performed after breast reduction surgery. You should wait until your breasts are comfortable which usually takes about three to six months.

How long will my breasts be swollen?

Normal swelling takes time to resolve. In the first two weeks, half of the swelling should go down. It can take an additional three to four months for the rest of the fluid retention to go away and for you to be at your final shape. Some patients may experience a small amount of residual swelling for up to a year.

How long will I have drainage tubes?

Drainage tubes are used only when needed and only about ten percent of breast reduction patients require them. The amount of time the drainage tubes are in depends on how much drainage you have in a 24-hour period but the drains are typically removed two to three days after surgery.

When will my stitches come out?

Your stitches are internal and dissolvable and can take three to four months to completely dissolve.

When can I shower? Can I shower with the tape on?

You may shower after your first follow-up appointment with Dr. Peters. Avoid allowing the stream of water to come directly down on the area of your surgery for the first week. You should shower with the tape on. The tape should only be changed every four to five days to avoid skin irritation.

How long do I have to wear the sports bra?

The sports bra provides good support and helps to keep down swelling after your surgery. Wear the bra day and night for four weeks following surgery. After three weeks, you may leave the bra off at night although you may feel more comfortable with it on. Do not wear an underwire bra for two months after surgery.

When can I wash the sports bra, and how long can I have it off per day?

You may begin washing your bra after your first follow-up appointment. Try to limit the amount of time out of your bra to one to two hours per day.

How long will the loss of sensation last around my incisions/ breasts?

Sensation loss around incision lines returns gradually and can take several months.


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