Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure to remove excess fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts to achieve a breast size more proportionate to your body and to relieve the discomfort associated with excessively large breasts (macromastia).
Disproportionate breasts can cause physical and emotional distress to patients. Patients with macromastia may experience physical discomfort resulting from the weight of their breasts. The resulting pain can make it difficult for some patients to perform routine physical activities.
Although breast reduction is often performed to address medical problems, patients who do not have the symptoms of macromastia but are unhappy with the size of their breasts may still consider breast reduction for cosmetic purposes. Patients who choose to undergo breast reduction for cosmetic reasons may cite a number of factors, including social stigma and wardrobe concerns.
Frequently asked questions
Who is a good candidate for breast reduction surgery?
Overly large breasts can lead to health and emotional problems. In addition to self-image issues, you may also experience physical pain and discomfort. The weight of excess breast tissue can interfere with your ability to lead an active life. The emotional discomfort and self-consciousness often associated with large, pendulous breasts can be as much of an issue as the physical discomfort and pain.
You may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery if:
- You are in good physical health
- You have realistic expectations
- You do not smoke
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too large
- Your breasts limit your physical activities
- You have back, neck and shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts.
- Bra straps make marks on your shoulders
- You have skin irritation under the fold of your breast.
What type of breast reduction incisions are there?
Dr. Zadeh will remove the breast tissue, fat and skin, raise the nipple and areola and bring the skin and tissue closer to the gland to tighten and reshape the breast. There are several breast incision designs and techniques. Dr. Zadeh will choose a technique based on the size and shape of your breasts, the size and position of the areola, the degree of breast sagging, the quality and elasticity of the skin, and the amount of excess skin you have.
There are two common types of incisions:
- Extending downward from the areolas to the breast folds.
- Horizontal, along the folds of the breast
The “anchoring” incision
The “anchoring” incision, the most common technique, involves three separate cuts. Dr. Zadeh makes the first incision around the perimeter of the areola, the second vertically from the areola to the breast fold, and the third horizontally along the breast fold. If you want a significant reduction or have significant sagging, your surgeon will likely recommend this approach. This technique can help you achieve the most dramatic results, but it also leaves the most scarring.
An “anchor” incision is made around the areola, then vertically downward and under the breast fold.
Keyhole incision (also known as a “lollipop” lift)
A “keyhole” incision involves two separate cuts. Dr. Zadeh makes the first incision around the perimeter of the areola and the second incision vertically from the areola to the breast fold. If you want a moderate reduction and have a moderate degree of sagging, your surgeon may recommend this approach. This technique produces a moderate scar.
A “keyhole” incision is made around the areola and then vertically down to the breast fold.
If your breasts are extremely large, Dr. Zadeh may have to remove the nipples and areolas completely and then place them as a graft at a higher level. This technique is rare, and in this case you will lose sensation in the nipple and may not be able to breastfeed.
Will I have scars after my breast reduction?
Breast reduction scars will vary depending on the type of incision made by your plastic surgeon (as described above). Dr. Zadeh can hide some scars within the natural contours of the breasts, but others will be visible on the surface of the breasts.
Although the incision lines are permanent, in most cases they will fade and improve significantly over time. Dr. Zadeh strives to place incisions in hidden areas and minimize them, with the goal of achieving the desired results with the shortest possible scar. Special tissue manipulation and suturing techniques further minimize scarring.
The healing of your incision will depend on the surgical technique, the measures you take to prevent infection (diet, no smoking, hydration), and any underlying medical conditions or genetic tendencies.
Are the scars from breast reduction permanent?
Any procedure involving surgical incisions will result in some degree of scar tissue, which does not disappear completely. However, the appearance of breast reduction scars should gradually lighten and become flatter and smoother. Over time, you can expect your scars to become less visible, especially if you take good care of the wounds after your reduction surgery.
How to reduce the scars of a breast reduction?
While it is not possible to completely prevent the appearance of scars after breast reduction surgery, there are some good practices you can follow to minimize their appearance, including:
- Try to limit weight gain during your recovery, which can cause scars to widen.
- Refrain from smoking and other tobacco products, as they can interfere with healing.
- Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays from tanning beds, which can darken scars.
- Follow wound care instructions to minimize the risk of infection.
- Clinique T offers a range of topical creams as well as treatments such as BBL and Microneedling to reduce the appearance of scars.
How can I control the pain at home?
Dr. Zadeh will give you a prescription for pain medication to take home before the procedure. This will ensure that the medication is available to you when you return home after the procedure.
Note: Make sure Dr. Zadeh knows which pain medications have caused you problems in the past.
How much does a breast reduction cost?
Breast reduction surgery is not covered by the RAMQ.