Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery can be needed when patients have disabling macromastia (large breasts), that are prohibiting them from leading the life they wish.  Some of the reasons a patient may consider having breast reduction surgery include

  • back pain

  • neck pain 

  • shoulder pain 

  • having indentations in their shoulders

  • breasts that are too heavy

  • not being able to find a bra that fits 

  • or find clothes that fit 

  • be as active as they would like 

  • play with their children or grandchildren 

  • have skin irritation under their breasts 

  • feel out of proportion.

Sometimes they feel their entire experience of interacting in the world has been affected by their breasts.  Perhaps they avoided certain social interactions as young women, or have always dressed a certain way, to minimise the appearance of their breasts.   It can be complex and mixed with sadness.  

For other women, this has progressively become an issue throughout their life.   They may never have gone down in size after pregnancy and lactation, with multiple pregnancies making them bigger and bigger.  Add this to the loss of core stability after pregnancy, and it can take a real toll on a women’s strength and physicality.  

The latin word for large breasts is macromastia.  

Addressing large breasts involves three main components

1. The volume of breast tissue

2. The amount of skin covering the breasts

3. The height of the breasts and the nipples 

The volume that each woman will have removed is very individual – this is something that is important to discuss with your surgeon.   Conveying the goals of breast reduction is something that is quite nuanced.  Many patients, who have suffered a long time, will say “Make me an A-cup!”.  But that may not be the best outcome at the end of the day.   A lot of patients may want their breasts to be a similar shape to in their youth or more like a sister or friend.   Bringing in a photograph of themselves at a previous size or of someone else at a similar size, can help convey that information.  

Type of Breast Reduction Surgery

After assessing the volume change a patient is after and considering the position of the nipple areolar complex (the NAC), we can then advise what type of breast reduction we would recommend.  For example….

It may be a “Wise Pattern” skin incision, with an inferior pedicle….

Wise pattern incision

Or a Vertical Mammoplasty, with a superior-medial pedicle…..  

vertical mammoplasty

These are some of the options you’ll discuss with your surgeon and why individual consultation is required.

Post-operative care is very important.  The amount of movement and change a breast has undergone during a reduction is significant so the breast will swell as a result.  And therefore, it needs support – literal support from a post-surgical bra – while the skin heals, and the parenchyma (breast tissue) adjusts to its new blood supply and drainage pattern.   We will give you advice about post-operative care, post-surgical bras and provide ongoing advice for the months and years ahead. The breasts will continue to soften, until they reach their final size.  Each patient takes a different amount of time, each breast can take a different amount of time.  And with long wounds and long surgery, complications can arise, however you will be managed and continually cared for, as your body heals.

Breast reduction surgery requires good consultation and communication between you and your surgeon. 

Patient Resources 

Australian society of plastic surgeons – Breast Reduction   

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons – Breast Reduction    

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