Breast Reduction

Treatment information

It can be a significant physical, as well as a mental burden, to have very large and sagging breasts. Through a breast reduction, fat, gland tissue, and excess breast tissue, can be removed, making the breasts smaller, lighter and firmer.

Generally about the treatment

Women with very large and sagging breasts will often experience different kinds of health problems due to the huge strain from the weight of the breasts. Problems such as back, shoulder, and neck pains, skin irritation, skeletal deformities, and difficulties breathing are typical. The bra straps can also cause large indentions into the shoulders.

A woman or teenage girl with unusually large breasts will, in many cases, have bad self esteem and feel embarrassed about their appearance. In these cases, breast reduction surgery can be a suitable option.

Other benefits from a breast reduction are, that the breasts often become more proportioned and that the clothes will fit better for the patient's new body. Areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple) can also be reduced during surgery.

A breast reduction is often done to achieve physical relief, but can also be done purely for cosmetic reasons.

Suitability

Women whose breasts are so big, that it causes them physical or social problems are suited for breast reduction surgery.

If the operation is to be done purely for cosmetic reasons, the patient must be over the age of 18.

The procedure

There are several techniques for breast reduction surgery, but the most common consists of making a so-called anchor shaped cut, meaning a cut around areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple), a cut from the nipple down to the lower part of the breast, and then finally an arch shaped cut, which follows the natural contour of the breast.

Subsequently the excess gland tissue is removed, and lastly the nipple and areola is moved further up on the breast. After this, the surgeon will sew the skin together, thereby creating the new shape and contour of the breast.

A different and newer technique is the vertical method, also called the Le Jour - or the lollipop method, where a cut is made around the areola, and then a vertical cut is made from the nipple and down to the lower part of the breast. From there, the principle is the same as with the anchor method.

The benefit of the vertical method is, that the horizontal cut is avoided, and the patient will thereby be left with one less scar. For either method, the surgeon may make use of liposuction under the arms by the bosom in order to remove excess fat. As a general rule, the size of the scars will be determined by the size of the breasts.

The operation takes between 2-4 hours, all depending on the scale of the surgery.

Anaesthesia

The operation is usually carried out in full anaesthesia. It can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the individual case.

Side-effects

Temporary numbness, swelling, contusion (bruising), discomfort, nausea, as well as changes in the sensitivity of the nipples. Dry skin on the breasts. Permanent scars. Breast pain for approximately 2 weeks.

Risk of complications

  • Poor healing, leading to larger and less flattering scars.
  • Risk of developing small sores around the nipples after the surgery, although these can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Poor cosmetic result, meaning a bit of asymmetry in the breasts, or an uneven placement of the nipples.
  • Risk of not being able to breast feed after the surgery, seeing as many of the milk channels leading to the nipples are removed during the surgery.
  • There is also the risk of loosing the feeling in the breasts and/or nipples permanently.
  • Risk of tissue reaction and the tissue death.


There is a risk of side effects from the anaesthetic used, along with bleeding, poor wound healing, a poor cosmetic result, and blood accumulation.

No form of surgery is risk free, although severe complications are very rare.

Healing and recovery

Work can be resumed after 2 weeks. As a general rule, it is advised that the patient should sustain from heavy lifting as well as intensive exercise, sports, and sex for up to 3-4 weeks.

Physical contact with the breasts should be avoided as much as possible during 4-6 weeks.

The blood effusions and swelling will disappear after approximately 2 weeks. The scars will slowly fade with time, but note that they will never go away completely.

Duration of the result

The result can be considered as permanent. The surgery will not, however, stop the natural change of shape that will occur to the skin and breasts as you grow older.