Procedure: Breast Reduction and Breast Lift
Why would I consider breast reduction or breast lift?
A BREAST REDUCTION, or reduction mammaplasty, is a surgical operation to simultaneously decrease the size of the breasts and also lift the breasts. In such an operation the breasts are lifted on the chest wall to a higher more youthful position and the cup size is reduced.
A BREAST LIFT or MASTOPEXY is where the breast is lifted up higher on the chest wall but there is no reduction in the size of the breasts and cup size as skin only is removed.
If you feel that your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body or you have significant symptoms related to large breasts, you will benefit from this surgery.
Symptoms can include:
- Bra strap marks and indentations
- Back and neck pain
- Infections under the breasts
- Poor posture
- difficulty in obtaining clothes that fit
- difficulty exercising
There are also social issues to consider, for example, difficulty in playing sports and overt, unwanted attention to your chest.
In breast lift surgery, the primary problem is droopiness of the breasts. This can sometimes have functional problems similar to breast reduction patients.
Breast reduction surgery is very effective and carries a very high patient satisfaction rate. If you asked a patient several months after their surgery whether they would undertake the surgery again, they invariably reply, 'yes' and often comment 'I wish I had done it years before'.
How is it done?
Breast reduction and breast lift surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and requires between one and three days in hospital. Drains are usually required. The drains are removed after a few days – either on the ward or after the patient has been discharged from hospital.
What can I expect?
You are typically admitted on the day of surgery, having fasted from the night before or 8 hours.
Relief from many of the symptoms such as back, neck and shoulder pain and indentations is almost immediate following the surgery.
Initially the breast shape will be slightly flat at the bottom part of the breasts. The optimum result and shape takes several months to develop, as the tissues stretch slightly – see the pre-operative and post-operative photographs.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery time is in the order of one to two weeks.
What complications can occur?
Although every endeavour is made to avoid complications, sometimes they do occur. Complications do not necessarily imply an error has occurred, they can be related to the anaesthetic or the surgery.
Surgical complications can include: bleeding and bruising, swelling and the possibility of infection.
Patients can develop minor complications such as small areas of wound break-down or superficial infections. These usually settle without difficulty and do
not detract from the overall result.
Minor asymmetry can occur especially if there is unevenness prior to the surgery – different amounts can be removed from each breast to try and correct this.
Nipple sensation can change following the surgery with no specific pattern. Breast and nipple sensation can be decreased, increased or remain unchanged.
Breast-feeding is possible following breast reduction surgery, however supplementary feeding will be needed.
Scars can become abnormal and they may become thick, especially in the central area of the chest. Usually this will respond to scar manipulation techniques and scars usually settle well overall. In vertical methods of breast reduction and lift, there is no horizontal scar, and therefore no medial (inner) scar on the chest.
The blood supply to the nipple can be compromised, which may necessitate the nipple being removed from the body and then reattached back to the skin. This is an extremely rare occurrence and would only be indicated in a massive breast reduction that is extremely ptotic / droopy.
What other procedures are often performed at the same time?
One of my aims in surgery is to keep your body balanced. Hence, although most patients point out other areas of concern, sometimes I will suggest another area may need attention to maintain balance.
What does it cost and will private insurance help?
Breast reduction surgery is a functional procedure and as such it can be given an item number Therefore, private insurance rebates will apply and this will assist with the overall costs.
Item numbers can apply to breast lift but must be before 7 years from the last baby.
Exact costing is highly variable as it depends on your history and circumstances, the hospital used and specifics of the procedure.
If a procedure can be given an item number then rebates will apply. In this scenario, out of pocket costs are typically less than amounts paid for surgery overseas.
A cost guide can be requested from my office on 9126 9218 (+61 8 9126 9218).
Alternatively, we can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get more information?
If you have specific questions, or wish more information on specific procedures, please contact my office for a complimentary appointment with my nurse / patient liaison officer.