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Breast reduction (also called reduction mammoplasty or reduction mammaplasty) is the plastic surgery procedure which reduces the size of overly large breasts to a more desirable smaller size. It involves the strategic removal of excess skin and breast tissue, resizing and repositioning of the nipple-areolar complexes (if needed), and lifting and reshaping of the breast tissue for a perkier, rejuvenated appearance.
When performed skillfully and safely by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon, breast reduction surgery is a very effective and successful procedure. Many of our happiest patients are those who have undergone breast reduction. In his more than thirty years of medical practice in the Scottsdale and the Phoenix metropolitan area, Dr. Steven H. Turkeltaub has not encountered an individual who expressed regret for her decision to have the procedure performed. In fact, many of his patients have commented that if they had known years ago what they know now, that is, the dramatic change and improvement in the quality of their lives that breast reduction surgery could provide, they would have sought treatment long ago in order to have avoided the physical and mental issues that they had suffered from because of their enlarged breasts.
There is an extremely high satisfaction rate in women who have had a breast reduction. These patients find that this procedure resolves virtually all of their symptoms. In fact, women who have undergone breast reduction surgery are the happiest, most satisfied and most appreciative of our patients.
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At many levels, overly large breasts (macromastia) can be both physically and psychologically debilitating. They are frequently associated with pain and/or discomfort in the neck, shoulders and back, skin rashes and irritation, infections, and tender, undesirable grooving in the shoulders caused by pressure from bra straps. Women often face real difficulties and limitations in the type and extent of physical activities that they can engage in as a result of the associated discomfort and embarrassment. Trying to obtain bras that not only fit properly and comfortably but also provide the right amount of support and alleviation of discomfort can be a challenging task. Being able to find attractive, complementary and well-fitting clothes because of one’s disproportions is another real problematic area.
There are many reasons why a woman would want to seek a breast reduction. Listed below are several situations that may make one a candidate for the procedure:
An ancillary benefit of breast reduction surgery is that excess skin is removed and the breasts are contoured and raised to a more ideal position, thus simultaneously providing a breast lift. An instance where this would not be the case is if the breast reduction was exclusively performed via liposuction—a technique that is very rarely indicated due to its ability to solely remove fat and not glandular tissue or skin.
Insurance companies do provide coverage for breast reduction surgery though it is an exclusion in some policies. To determine whether you are eligible for coverage, you will need to carefully review your specific insurance policy. In the event that your plan does offer benefits, several criteria must be met in order to be approved for surgery with insurance coverage. These requirements will vary significantly among insurance providers and their particular policies. A few of these issues include:
If you have insurance coverage and specific benefits for breast reduction surgery, Dr. Turkeltaub’s staff will try to obtain pre-authorization for coverage of the surgery. However, if you are denied coverage for any reason, we do offer significantly discounted package pricing that may allow you to pursue your dreams of having breast reduction surgery.
In some higher risk breast reductions, the nipple-areola complexes are physically detached from the breasts and then placed in anatomically correct locations as skin grafts. This approach, known as the free nipple graft technique, does have significant advantages in several situations. Some of the indications for its usage include breasts that are extremely large and/or elongated, women who are heavy smokers, patients who have high medical risks, individuals who are at risk for impaired blood flow within the breasts and patients who desire very small breasts. Disadvantages of this technique include loss of nipple sensation and sensuality, inability to breastfeed, depigmentation of the areola and lack of any nipple projection.
There are other less commonly used incision configurations that are intended to minimize the overall length of the scar. Unfortunately, these techniques often result in a less than ideal breast shape, irregular or uneven nipple positioning, or scars extending below the inframammary crease that may be visible when wearing many types of clothing.
Breast reduction surgery is generally performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. It can be done in combination with many other aesthetic procedures such as an abdominoplasty, liposuction and facial plastic surgery in order to obtain a more comprehensive and cost-effective improvement.
When your incisions are well healed and non-tender, you may be able to wear an underwire bra if you so desire. For more on this, read the blog: Wearing an Underwire Bra After a Breast Reduction.
Dr. Turkeltaub rarely uses drains in breast reduction surgery. However, when they are employed, they will typically be in place for around one week.
Initially, you will notice some moderate swelling and firmness of your breasts, causing them to appear larger than they will be long term. It may take six months to a year for this swelling to completely dissipate.
You can resume aerobic activities or sports at approximately three to four weeks though there are limitations of some activities for up to eight weeks. Most women can return to school or work within four to seven days.
The most common technique for performing breast reduction surgery involves an incision that extends from around the outer perimeter of the areola, then vertically down to the bottom of the breast and then horizontally along the inframammary crease—forming an inverted “T” or anchor shape. The final visibility of this scar will be greatly affected by one’s genetic makeup and natural healing response. More controllable elements that can also influence the ultimate appearance of breast reduction scarring include the plastic surgeon’s incision closure method, how closely postoperative instructions are followed and which scar care products or treatments are used.
In Dr. Turkeltaub’s experience, virtually all patients are very pleased with the physical and emotional impact of their breast reduction results and are quite satisfied with the resulting scarring. Additionally, most women find that any visible scarring can be concealed by the majority of blouses, bras and bikini tops they wish to wear.
The cost of breast reduction in the Phoenix area as listed on the RealSelf.com website ranges from $600–$15,000 and averages about $8,375.* The reason for such a broad price range is due to multiple components that impact the total expense of treatment. Some of the most notable elements that can affect what a patient pays for breast reduction include:
If you are considering having a breast reduction, Dr. Turkeltaub would be happy to meet with you for a consultation. After assessing your unique needs, he can formulate a personalized surgical approach and provide you with an itemized breakdown of all costs associated with your treatment plan.
A member of our team can also help you determine if your insurance plan will cover any portion of your procedure and/or introduce you to a variety of plastic surgery financing options if desired.
*This price range and average cost were taken from RealSelf—an online aesthetic care forum that gathers data based on reviews submitted by patients. It does not indicate the exact cost of breast reduction surgery at Dr. Turkeltaub’s practice. To obtain a personalized price quote, please contact us today to schedule a private consultation.
Assuming you are able to breastfeed prior to breast reduction surgery, there is a good possibility you will be able to do so after surgery though this would depend on a multitude of factors. With the free nipple graft technique where the nipple-areolar complex is totally removed as part of the procedure and then repositioned prior to completion of the operation, the ability to breastfeed is negated.
If you are planning to have kids in the future and wish to breastfeed, Dr. Turkeltaub recommends making this clear when you meet for your consultation. Since the risk of losing the ability to breastfeed does exist (as it does with most surgical breast procedures), disclosing this information from the start can result in improved treatment planning and a clearer idea of the appropriate timing for breast reduction surgery.
When surgery is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who is extensively trained, skilled and experienced in breast reduction, you are more likely to obtain far better results and with a much lower risk of complications (which are generally low). As with any surgical procedure, however, there can be complications and untoward outcomes so it is important to fully understand all aspects of a breast reduction prior to treatment.
Some potential risks and complications associated with breast reduction include:
Influencing these risks are a person’s general health, nutrition, habits and compliance in their care. For example, those who smoke (including marijuana), are markedly overweight, diabetic, have autoimmune diseases, or are in a suboptimal nutritional state such as due to certain dietary restrictions, have increased risks for postoperative problems.
With that being said, it bears repeating that the possibility of encountering complications and poor results is significantly reduced when breast reduction is performed by a highly trained, skilled and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
Generally speaking, though, breasts that are still growing should not be operated on because they might continue to grow after the procedure, potentially reaching a size and volume that requires a second breast reduction. As a result, Dr. Turkeltaub often advises postponing surgery until the breasts are fully matured.
While these general tips are beneficial for most patients, the best advice for reducing breast reduction swelling will ultimately be to strictly follow the personalized recommendations provided by Dr. Turkeltaub.
Dr. Turkeltaub recommends wearing supportive bras as often as possible to help maintain the shape of the breasts and protect against the persistent pull of gravity over time.
Several of Dr. Turkeltaub’s breast reduction patients over the years have shared with him the fact that they were able to breastfeed their babies following pregnancy.
If you do have benefits you will then need to fulfill several specific criteria before being eligible for coverage. These criteria do vary considerably among plans. You may be able to find out what they are by calling your insurance company or checking on their website. We can assist you with this during and following your consultation and will try to get your surgery approved by your insurance company.
For additional helpful information on a variety of topics related to breast reduction, you can visit Dr. Turkeltaub’s Blog.
If you are troubled by excessively large breasts, there are numerous reasons to consider breast reduction surgery. Contact the Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery to discover how you can benefit from a breast reduction.