Breast reduction (also known as reduction mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure which involves the removal of excess breast tissue and fats with the aim of achieving the desired breast size symmetrical with the body frame. This procedure can also be used in correcting or getting rid of large breasts which sometimes can be a discomfort to some people. Excessively large breasts are known to cause pains in the back, neck and other parts of the body. Breast reduction is not only for women alone. Men with a condition known as gynecomastia can also undergo a breast reduction procedure to correct abnormally large breasts. This type of surgery is major and therefore very important for a patient to consider a number of things before proceeding to reduce breasts. Preparing for the procedure Before going under the knife for a breast reduction procedure, you’ll first have to find a board-certified plastic surgeon with the required experience, especially in the area of breast reduction. Meet your plastic surgeon to consult and to get informed about the whole procedure. During the consultation, your plastic surgeon will want to know your medical history such as whether you have a special medical condition that can interfere with the procedure, whether it’s your first time undergoing surgery, and any other relevant medical history. During the consultation, it’s very important to share relevant information that can be used to make the whole procedure successful. Be open and feel free to share stories with your plastic surgeon and tell him or her why you think you are a good candidate for breast reduction. It’s always recommended that you look for a surgeon you can trust or feel comfortable with. Some individuals undergo emotional and health problems due to large breasts. Some people feel uncomfortable with large breasts due to the discomfort they bring. Living an active life with large breasts can sometimes be difficult. Apart from physical pain, large breasts can also affect self-confidence. It can sometimes affect an individual’s behavior when socializing or being in public in general. Breast reduction is a good option for individuals who are: • Physically healthy • Non-smokers • Have realistic goals • Uncomfortable with their large breasts • Have difficulty with physical activities due to their breast size • Experience discomfort and irritation under their breast crease It’s always important to be sure about your health before going for a breast reduction procedure. You should also ensure that your body is in good condition. You must make good use of consultation time to ask your plastic surgeon about recovery period after breast reduction procedure. You should also ask your surgeon about what to expect while recovering. Some other questions you can ask your plastic surgeon are: • When are stitches or dressings removed? • When is the best time to resume daily activities? • What medications will be prescribed? • What should I do after surgery? After a successful breast reduction procedure, you’ll feel more relieved and free to participate in many activities. You’ll be able to get back your confidence and image. Breasts normally change in size due to aging, weight loss, and hormonal fluctuations. The procedure Depending on the patient’s personal situation, breast reduction can be done in an accredited medical facility or the patient may have to stay at least one night in the hospital to help them recover well. It’s a surgical procedure which can take between 2 and 5 hours, depending on different factors such as a patient’s desired results. This type of surgery is done using incisions whereby fats or excess breast tissue are removed surgically. There are many types of incision techniques available that can be used, but some surgeons can use liposuction in combination. Other factors which can affect the complexity of the procedure include: • A patient’s desired results • Breast tissue available before surgery • The level of breast reduction desired Plastic surgeon’s advice Stages of the procedure: 1. Use of anesthesia: Anesthesia is important for a patient’s comfort during surgery. Depending on the type chosen by your plastic surgeon, anesthesia is a requirement for a comfortable breast reduction procedure. There are two types of anesthesia: general sedation and intravenous sedation. 2. Incision: Your surgeon will then make a cut somewhere in your nipple going downwards. Another option is to cut a circular pattern around the nipple. Excess breast tissue and fats will then be removed before repositioning the nipple. 3. Repositioning: The nipple must be repositioned correctly, especially if the process involved massive removal of breast tissue and fats. There are cases where the nipple and areola are removed completely and transplanted to another position to achieve a patient’s desired results. 4. Closing incisions: The use of sutures in this procedure is very important to get the best results. Lines of incisions normally fade after full recovery. Breast reduction results are usually visible after the procedure. You may experience some minimal swelling but this will fade away within days as you recover. It’s recommended that you break away from work for about two weeks. You’ll get follow-up instructions from your plastic surgeon during consultation or after surgery. Breast reduction is a surgical procedure which can cause pain and swelling. An oral painkiller is usually given to help patients deal with the pain. Your plastic surgeon will also advise you on what to avoid, such as smoking and lifting heavy objects. Depending on the patient, there is also a chance of depression after breast reduction surgery. Possible side effects Breast reduction leads to scars that normally fade away after a short time. You should avoid lifting heavy objects as you recover because it can worsen scarring, prolong healing, and cause swelling and pain. Make sure to contact your surgeon if you begin to experience the following after surgery: • Infection with fever • Pus discharge and weird smell from incision Stitches coming undone Associated risks include: • Being unable to breastfeed, depending on the type or extent of reduction • Asymmetrical breasts • Damaging blood supply. If this occurs, the healing process may take long due to lack of blood supply to breast tissues. Not all women end up being unable to breastfeed, as this depends on how the surgery was done. Many people concentrate on risks and forget that breast reduction has benefits, which include: • Making your clothes fit comfortably • Helps firm up the breasts • Balances your silhouette more Helps you engage in physical and social activities more comfortably Conclusion If you are planning to undergo a breast reduction procedure, the most important first step is your selection of a plastic surgeon. You should choose a certified plastic surgeon and someone with the required experience in breast reduction. You should prioritize your safety first before going under the knife for breast reduction procedure.