For years, breast reduction surgery has consistently ranked at the top of all plastic surgery procedures in the United States in terms of satisfaction with the results. Having performed this surgery in Arizona for 33 years now, I can tell you from experience that this is absolutely true. In fact, many of my patients have commented that if they had known what they know now, they would have had their surgery years ago.
This is how positive and profound the results of their breast reduction has had on their lives.
If your breast are very large, cause pain and discomfort, force you to limit the activities that you engage in, create difficulty finding desirable clothes that fit or just make you feel very self-conscious, then this procedure may just be something that you should seriously consider.
Let’s look at some of the common questions that women have about breast reduction surgery. To learn more about the procedure itself, go here.
1. Can a breast reduction really relieve my neck, back and shoulder pains?
The reduction in the size of your breasts means that there is less traction, compression and center of gravity issues impacting your neck, shoulders, upper and lower back. Your breasts should be much lighter so that the pressure your bra exerts on your shoulders will be far less after surgery. Your posture should also improve since you no longer have to counterbalance the weight of large breasts and this will definitely benefit your back, shoulders and even neck. There will also be less fatigue.
I can unequivocally state that my patients who have had symptomatically large breasts have all had either major or complete resolution of their symptoms. The improvement in the quality of their lives has been profound.
2. What incisions are used?
For breast reductions of significant size, the anchor shaped (inverted-T) is the one that provides the best results most of the time. Other incisions have been proposed and used but I find them to have limited applicability and results that are often wanting including in the final breast and nipple-areola complex shape, scar visibility and location.
In contrast, only a few very short, relatively inconspicuous linear scars are used with liposuction breast reduction. This procedure employs liposuction of fat to decrease the breast size. There is no removal of skin or glandular tissue. This is a niche procedure – there are rare indications to perform it and the results are usually limited.
3. Can I request a specific cup size?
Yes, you absolutely can request a specific cup size for your breast reduction but that doesn’t mean that you will end up with that size. There are a few reasons for this, though. Regardless, it is likely that you will be quite ecstatic with the results of your surgery.
Let me explain.
There is no specific volume, shape or size of a breast that can be categorized as a given cup size – like a “C” or “D”. In addition, there are proprietary factors involved so that a 36C bra sold by one company may fit exactly the same as another company’s 36D bra. So, it may be possible that your post reduction “C” cup breasts somehow fit into a “D” cup bra.
Now you know why.
Another factor to consider is that there appears to be some cup inflation going on over time. What was a “C” cup years ago somehow today may be a “D” cup for many manufacturers now.
Then there is the variable that your perception of what a particular cup size may be on you could be different from reality. This could translate into getting what you asked for but not what you truly wanted.
These are some of the reasons that I won’t promise my patients a specific bra size though they virtually always get the size and look that they were desiring. What I do want to know are your goals such as the proportionality of your breasts to your body, concerns with regard to activities, clothing issues, etc. Photos can be helpful but not always.
4. Will I be able to breastfeed?
If you undergo a breast reduction with a technique where the nipple-areola complex remains attached to underlying breast tissue and ducts, an approach that is done most of the time, then you will maintain the ability to possibly be able to breastfeed. However, milk production may be substantially decreased and this will be even more profound if you have requested a “B” or “A” cup size.
With the breast reduction technique where the nipple-areolar complex is completely removed and then replaced back as a graft during surgery, known as the “free nipple graft” approach, you will not be able to breastfeed.
Throughout the years, I have had several of my breast reduction patients inform me that they were able to successfully breastfeed.
5. Will I still have some sensation of my nipples?
A significant percentage of women with very large breasts or who have breastfed state that they have either markedly decreased sensation of their nipples or none at all. For them, if they did not have any sensation, it would not be an issue. As regards those women who do have nipple sensation and indicate that this is important to them, ultimately having their breasts substantially reduced in size supersedes sensation. In these situations, I would avoid the “free nipple graft” approach if at all possible.
It has been my personal experience that as long as the nipple-areola complex is not completely detached as in the free nipple graft technique, the overwhelming majority of women will retain much of what they had pre-operatively and it is extremely rare for them to lose total sensation of both breasts.
6. When can I return to work following my breast reduction?
Following a breast reduction, most patients experience mild discomfort though some have more. Many patients take little pain medication, others for a few days or longer. Therefore, how you are feeling, whether or not you are taking pain medication, what your job entails including physical activity requirements, will determine when you can go back to work.
If you can work from home, you may just need a few days before you can restart. For a sedentary job in an office, you may only need 4 – 5 days. Jobs that require a lot of heavy lifting, continuous physical activity or even repetitive arm movements should be avoided for two or more weeks and this will need to be determined individually.
7. Will my insurance cover my breast reduction?
For a comprehensive answer to this question, refer to Is a Breast Reduction Covered by Insurance? on the Breast Reduction page.
For more information on breast reduction surgery or to schedule your consultation, you can contact our office at (480) 451-3000 or by email.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona