Breast Reduction surgery (Mammoplasty) is performed to reduce the size of large, heavy breasts. Large breasts can be just as disturbing to a woman as very small breasts, not only because of the embarrassment about the size and unwanted attention, but also due to the physical problems. There can be pain in the breasts, particularly around menstruation, as well as back pain, shoulder ache, irritation of the skin between and beneath the breasts and disturbed sleeping. There are also lesser problems such as the need for special, supportive underwear that is often expensive, and difficulty in finding clothes that fit correctly, especially dresses. This operation can bring enormous relief to women through the physical, medical and emotional benefits.
Breast Reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and requires a 1 or 2 night stay in the Hospital. Incisions are made around the nipple, in a vertical line underneath it and sometimes horizontally along the crease of the breast. The excess skin and breast tissue are removed and smaller, younger profile breasts are created. The nipple is relocated much higher on the breast to match the new contours. The scarring around the nipple and the crease of the breast will gradually soften, fade and be concealed well, however, they will be permanent. The surgery takes 2-3 hours.
After surgery a dressing is applied and the patient will usually need to wear a surgical bra. There are often drains in the breast that are removed after 24 hours. The first few days may be a little painful or uncomfortable and movement will be restricted for up to 2 weeks. The sutures are removed at around 10 days. The patient can then take a shower or a bath. If there is a slight discharge from the wounds salt baths, taken regularly, are to be recommended.
For several months there may be numbness in the skin on the breast and the nipples. Women with large breasts tend to have little nipple sensitivity. After the operation the sensation is greatly reduced but it will return very gradually. Breastfeeding is not usually possible after a reduction because of the damage to milk ducts and glands. There may also be slight irregularities in the size and shape of the breasts and position of the nipples, however, these differences tend to be very minor and rarely need adjustment.
It is necessary to come in for a pre-operative assessment at the hospital about a week prior to surgery. This usually takes about 30 minutes and will be carried out by our Registered Medical Officer (RMO). It is also important to make time for all post-operative consultations.
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