Breast reduction is a procedure that can reduce the weight and size of breasts and is usually done for medical reasons rather than cosmetic purposes. Because breast reduction surgery is considered medically necessary, most insurance companies will cover the costs related to the procedure. More than 100,000 women undergo a breast reduction procedure every year in the United States.
Breast reduction may be a desirable procedure for women who have suffered physical and psychological problems related to the size and weight of their breasts. Women with oversized breasts can experience the following physical problems:
- Back and neck pain
- Skin irritation
- Skeletal deformities
- Breathing difficulty
- Shoulder indentations
Good candidates for breast reduction surgery are women who are in good physical and emotional health with a realistic understanding of the procedure. Breast reduction is best performed on women who have finished developing, though in some cases a may be appropriate for teenage patients. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or plan to do so, may not be good candidates for a breast reduction.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which allows the patient to sleep through the procedure. The plastic surgeon will make an anchor shaped incision along the breast fold and up around the nipple area. Through this incision, the surgeon will excise the extra skin and fat from the area. The nipple will also be repositioned appropriately during the procedure. If the patient has tighter skin and would benefit from fat removal via liposuction alone, the incision will be much less extensive and the nipple might not need to be repositioned.
As with all surgical procedures, a breast reduction is associated with some potential complications. Infection, bleeding, and anesthesia reactions are all rare but possible side effects of breast reduction surgery. Other potential side effects include: permanent scars, mismatched breasts, uneven nipples, loss of nipple sensation, and difficulty breast-feeding. An experienced breast reduction surgeon will take every measure to lessen the risk of these adverse effects. However, it is important to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon.
For some patients this procedure may be covered by insurance.