Women with breasts that are too large in relation to the size of their bodies can endure physical as well as emotional distress. Neck and back pain, and sometimes the inability to breathe properly, are just some of the physical effects of large breasts, and the emotional and psychological effects can run a lot deeper for some individuals. In these cases, breast reduction surgery can offer a variety of benefits as well as risks to consider when making a decision about the procedure.
Men can also suffer from issues related to enlarged breasts, and male breast reduction surgery (gynaecomastia correction) is a common course of action. Patients in Melbourne and beyond can get the advice they need to make an informed decision. Should you require advice, our specialist plastic surgeon—Dr Vlad Milovic—will gladly discuss the options available to you.
Risks of Surgery
All surgical procedures carry risks and the potential for complications. While Dr Milovic is extensively trained and experienced with a comprehensive array of plastic surgery procedures and utilizes advanced techniques to help mitigate those risks, patients considering treatment should always be fully aware of them beforehand. Dr Milovic will go over all risks and potential complications associated with the procedure during the initial consultation, and we are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Risks of this procedure include, but are not limited to
- Excessive bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Complications relating to anaesthesia
- Seroma (a growth/lump near the surgery site that may become infectious)
- Poor healing
- Unsatisfactory cosmetic results
- Blood clots
- Long-term changes in breast shape
- Numbness in the breasts and/or nipples that may be temporary or permanent
- The possibility of an additional surgery
- Changes in breast sensation
- Thrombosed veins
- Tissue necrosis
- Permanent, irreversible changes in breast appearance
- Inability to breastfeed
- Skin discolouration
- Excessive breast firmness
What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery refers to the restructuring of breasts for aesthetic and/or functional purposes. In this procedure, the skin and tissue of the breast are repositioned and/or removed to reduce breast size. This procedure is capable of helping resolve issues such as back or shoulder pain, chafing or even more severe conditions, such as difficulty exercising, due to overly large breasts. Additionally, it may serve to help many patients feel more confident about their bodies if they have been feeling self-conscious about their breast size. The surgery can be done in a few different ways (see below for an in-depth explanation of the surgical strategies Dr Milovic offers).
What Are the Potential Risks and Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery?
Breast reduction surgery has the potential to make many patients’ lives easier. The possible advantages of this procedure include:
- Reduced strain on the back, neck and shoulders
- Smaller chance of developing rashes or sores (e.g. sweat buildup under the breast)
- Increased mobility
- Improved posture
- Larger range of options (bras, clothes, etc.)
- Breasts that feel and appear proportional to the rest of the body
In addition, breast reduction can sometimes provide a “lifting” effect. However, a breast lift is an entirely different surgery, and the two are not interchangeable.
Am I a Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
Generally, those who want to undergo breast reduction surgery have experienced physical and emotional distress due to their breast size. In addition, their breasts have likely been the source of discomfort and health problems, or dissatisfaction with a patient’s own image. Whether patients choose to undergo surgery for aesthetic or health purposes (or both), breast reduction is designed to help them feel more comfortable with their own body.
However, there are some limitations that can indicate you may not be a good candidate for this surgery. Patients with diabetes, heart disease or other life-threatening conditions are usually advised to not undergo breast reduction in the interest of their own safety. The same is often true for morbidly obese patients. In addition, those who smoke are required to abstain from smoking for at least six weeks prior to surgery and during the healing process.
For those who are unable to undergo surgery, we highly recommend developing a workout schedule. While exercise cannot reduce the breast size to the same extent as breast reduction, it is certainly worth it to develop a routine, as losing weight may open up the opportunity for eventual reduction surgery.
Will I Be Able to Breastfeed After Breast Reduction?
It is unlikely that you will be able to breastfeed after breast reduction. Additionally, be aware that certain women are naturally unable to breastfeed regardless of whether or not they have had breast reduction surgery.
If breastfeeding in the future is a priority for you, please discuss your options with Dr Milovic.
What Does the Breast Reduction Procedure Entail?
Dr Milovic uses one of the following breast reduction techniques to achieve a female breast reduction for suitable patients:
- Lejour or “lollypop” method
The Lejour method, also known as the “lollypop” or “vertical scar lift,” has two incisions, one around the areola and another vertically down from the lower edge of the areola to the crease under the breast (inframammary fold). It typically produces longer-lasting results with less scarring than the inverted “T” method (below).
- Periareolar Sampaio-Goes method
This technique was pioneered by Dr Jaio Sampaio Goes, a Brazilian surgeon. It has produced excellent results in elevating the nipple and breast tissue, and generally causes less scarring than the traditional inferior pedicle method. This breast reduction involves only one incision around the areola and is suitable in selected cases, depending on your anatomy and goals.
- The inverted “T” or “anchor” method
For women with extremely large breasts, the inverted T or anchor method may be more appropriate. The nipple-areolar complex can be suspended on the superior medial pedicle, and the skin and gland is re-draped with an anchor-like closure. This technique results in a vertical and horizontal scar.
Dr Milovic will discuss your options during your pre-surgery consultation process.
Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift
Many of our patients find that their breasts feel more “lifted” after their breast reduction. Often, this effect occurs naturally as part of the process. Keep in mind, though, that a breast lift (mastopexy) is a separate procedure.
What is Recovery From Breast Reduction Like?
After your breast reduction procedure is completed, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. You will need to wear your compressive bra to minimise swelling and support your breasts as they heal. Pain medication can help reduce any discomfort that may arise. Discolouration and swelling of the breasts are to be expected for a few weeks after surgery. Dr Milovic recommends that you take at least two weeks off post-surgery and avoid physical activity that requires lifting or raising the arms. Gentle stretching can prove beneficial, and exercise, such as walking, can commence within seven days. Most patients return to work within ten days to two weeks, unless their occupation involves strenuous movements, in which case a period of at least three to four weeks is recommended. If you have any concerns, feel free to speak with Dr Milovic.
What Are the Typical Results of Breast Reduction?
When our patients heal from breast reduction, they typically feel like their breasts are more in sync with the rest of their body. Most patients feel considerably more supported and lighter, and issues such as back pain and excessive rashes caused by their heavy breasts tend to gradually resolve.
To get a sense of Dr Milovic’s results, explore our gallery of before-and-after pictures.
How Long Do the Results of Breast Reduction Last?
While the final results of breast reduction can be very long-lasting in the hands of an experienced surgeon, bear in mind that certain factors may cause some breast sag to return. These include weight fluctuations, hormonal issues and the natural ageing process. For this reason, Dr Milovic encourages patients to be mindful of their health (i.e., adhere to a well-balanced diet and practise regular exercise) following the procedure.
What Do Breast Reduction Scars Look Like?
Breast reduction scars typically appear reddish in colour at first; however, provided the patient follows their aftercare instructions, the scars should fade to a light pink and become less noticeable after approximately one to two years have passed.
While some degree of scarring can be expected after breast reduction surgery, Dr Milovic is always careful to minimise the scarring as much as possible. Your particular degree of scarring will depend on your body’s unique healing properties. Depending on your individual needs, Dr Milovic may recommend non-surgical scar management treatments such as silicone gels, steroid injections, oral steroids or lasers. Please note that these expenses will be billed separately from the surgery itself.
Is Non-Surgical Breast Reduction Possible?
As of today, breast reduction is the only cosmetic procedure, surgical or otherwise, that can significantly reduce the size of the breasts. The techniques performed during the procedure (such as the removal of excess skin and redraping of tissue) require the expertise and skill of a qualified specialist plastic surgeon like Dr Milovic. A non-surgical equivalent to breast reduction surgery has yet to be discovered, and we encourage you to be wary of any product or exercise that is alleged to produce similar results, as such methods can be unsafe.
What Are the Typical Results of Breast Reduction?
When our patients heal from breast reduction, they often feel elated with their lighter, more manageable breast size. Women typically feel like their breasts are more in sync with the rest of their body – and they typically look great, as well. Most patients feel considerably more supported, and issues such as back pain and excessive rashes tend to gradually resolve.
While the final result of breast reduction is essentially permanent, bear in mind that weight fluctuations, hormonal issues and the natural ageing process can cause some breast sag to return.
To get a sense of Dr Milovic’s exceptional results, explore our gallery of before-and-after pictures.
More Information About Breast Reduction
Is it right for me?
As an experienced and qualified specialist plastic surgeon, Dr Milovic can determine whether you are a good candidate for breast reduction surgery. He will thoroughly examine your history to ensure you qualify. As such, we ask that you prepare an up-to-date list of all the medications you are taking or have taken, providing as much detail as you can about past surgeries, reactions to surgery, other health issues (physical and mental) and any allergies you may have.
Does breast reduction surgery require anaesthesia?
Breast reduction surgery is nearly always performed under general anaesthesia. Rest assured that Dr Milovic will engage the services of a qualified anaesthetist who is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and NZ College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) to perform your sedation or general anaesthesia.
Where will the surgery take place?
Depending upon your general health and the extent of the surgery, breast reduction surgery is typically performed as a day procedure. Sometimes an overnight hospital stay is warranted. Dr Milovic will only perform your breast reduction surgery in accredited operating facilities.
Can my nipples lose sensitivity after breast reduction surgery?
There is a possibility that your breasts will lose sensitivity. Expect a period of at least two years before sensitivity should return to normal. If this does not happen within that time, the previous level of sensitivity will most likely not return
Can I claim a Medicare rebate for breast reduction surgery?
Depending on a few different factors, you may be able to qualify for a rebate. We encourage you to contact us with any financial questions.
Will I need revision surgery?
In most circumstances, breast reduction surgery does not need to be repeated; however, as with all surgical procedures, revisional breast surgery may be necessary to correct minor irregularities.
How can I reduce swelling after breast reduction?
Swelling is commonplace during the healing process. In addition to getting plenty of rest after surgery and wearing your customised bra, both of which should ease swelling, Dr Milovic recommends you sleep in an elevated position and make sure to stay hydrated. If managed correctly, the initial, excessive swelling should go down within the first week. However, the full extent of swelling can take months – even up to a year – to subside.
At our Melbourne clinic, we are happy to answer any breast reduction questions that should arise. You can schedule your consultation with Dr Milovic to find out if a breast reduction is suitable for you.