Breast reduction is a procedure designed to decrease the volume and size of the breast.

Smoking increases the risk of wound breakdown and delayed healing, and smokers should have stopped completely for a minimum of 6 ? 8 weeks before surgery.

The incisions for the procedure are marked out before the patient goes to sleep. This involves primarily a decision about where to site the nipple, the fold underneath the breast and the amount of resection on each side to achieve symmetry. Most patients will require repositioning of the nipple and areola (usually upwards) and your surgeon will design the new breast mound and breast shape around that position.

The incision extends around the areola, down the front of the lower breast and has a transverse section which is variable. In general the incision has the appearance of an inverted ?T? but the size of the incision depends on the shaping and excision required. Extra fat, breast tissue and skin is removed as required and the remaining skin placed under moderate tension to help maintain a natural curved outline for the breast. Drainage tubes are inserted to prevent accumulation of body fluids under the skin.

There may be some swelling and bruising which settles over a number of weeks. Most patients will have some change in sensation of the breast and of the nipple. While some patients report reduced sensation, others can have an increase in sensitivity. A support bra is useful for the recovery period. The skin incisions will have healed by 2 weeks after surgery. However, there will be a maturation phase, during which the scars will appear red, before settling and thinning out over 12 ? 18 months.

Most patients can return to work after 2 weeks, but vigorous physical activity should be deferred for 2 months.

Depending on the amount of breast tissue removed during surgery, it may be possible to breast feed after a breast reduction, although this is by no means certain. If you become pregnant again after a breast reduction, it is likely that there will be further alterations in shape and size.

  • The ability to breast feed may be permanently altered by breast reduction surgery.
  • Your post-operative shape may also be altered by weight changes or pregnancy.
  • Do wear a bra with good support after surgery to help minimize further stretching of the breast skin.
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