Breast Reduction Surgery- All You Ever Wanted to Know and More…

  • Breast Reduction surgery is a great option to reduce the size of and change the shape of large sagging breasts. Many women develop large heavy breasts at a young age while others don’t develop their large breasts until after pregnancy/childbirth and breast-feeding.
  • The facts—-Breast reduction surgery is real surgery. It is not a “laser” or a minimally invasive procedure. It almost always requires general anesthesia and should be performed in an accredited surgical suite/facility. Surgery typically takes anywhere between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours and is usually performed on an outpatient basis; meaning you can go home the same day of your surgery. The incisions used to perform surgery involve scars around the areola and at least a vertical scar down the middle of the lower breast. Often times it may involve a scar in the fold beneath the breast. This is based on the anatomy of the patient’s breast and surgeon/patient preference.
  • Many surgeons (including Dr Shoukas) use postoperative drains to help manage any swelling fluid that wants to collect inside the body. These typically stay in for less than a week and are easily removed in the office.
  • Depending on your occupation, most patients take a week off from work. This would include any sort of administrative jobs and jobs that do not require heavy lifting or strenuous activity (desk jobs). There is no heavy lifting or heavy strenuous exercise allowed for approximately six weeks postoperatively. This is not the time to clean out your attic or garage or start planting a garden. Your body needs time to heal and you also want to make sure you have no complications. After approximately six weeks patient may return to full unrestricted activity including anything and everything they ever wanted to do. MMA fighting, skydiving, working out, running sleeping on your stomach, etc…
  • The good the bad the ugly—
    • The good news is is that breast reduction surgery can be a real life changer. It can permanently reduce upper back and neck pain caused by large breasts. It can get rid of bra strap grooving (the indentations from those annoying ill fitting bras) and also reduces the sweaty rashy feeling (boob sweat) underneath the breasts. Breast reduction surgery has a 98% satisfaction rate which is incredibly high for any type of elective surgery. That’s way better than four out of five dentists recommending a toothpaste.
    • The bad… All elective surgery carries some risk. The most common concerns of patients include scarring on the breasts which fade with time, sensation changes to the breast where patients have decreased sensation in certain areas of the breast including the areola and nipple as well as the inability to breast feed after surgery.
      • Other complications like bleeding, and infection, and wound healing problems are thankfully very rare in appropriately screened patients.
    • The Ugly…The DRAINS. The use of drains in breast reduction surgery has been argued back-and-forth for as many years as the operation has been performed. Some surgeons use drains and some surgeons don’t. This is definitely a conversation to have with your surgeon. There are very good reasons to use drains and there are good reasons not to use drains. Ultimately drains prove to be an annoyance to patients however, they are not excruciatingly painful nor are they usually as bad as patients think they are going to be.

Most common questions….

  • How bad does it hurt?
    • Honestly most patients do not even take narcotic pain medicine after the operation. They do fine on Motrin and Tylenol. The relief of the upper back and neck pain and the extra weight being gone actually supersedes discomfort within the breasts. Oh yeah the drains are annoying.
  • Can I shower?
    • I allow my patients to take a regular shower at 48 hours after surgery and allow them to get all of their incisions wet with soapy water.
  • Can I use my arms?
    • You absolutely can use your arms for activities of daily living. You can reach into a cabinet to get out a coffee cup, you can bend over and pick up your shoes, you can brush your hair, or you can brush your teeth. We just don’t want you to do any heavy lifting typically greater than 10 pounds during the first six weeks after surgery. For moms with little ones at home this can be tricky. Time to call in some favors and get those grandparents over for some extra help.
  • Will my breasts grow back after surgery?
    • The answer is no unless you have some undiagnosed endocrine disorder that is incredibly rare and almost never seen. Having said that there are two situations where the breast size and shape can change. These are massive weight gain and pregnancy. Although your breast won’t “grow back” they can definitely change somewhat in size and shape. As we all know pregnancy can reek havoc on a woman’s body.
  • If I were your wife what would you advise me to do?
    • If your large breasts are causing you discomfort or thinking about your breasts takes up a lot of brain space then I would encourage you to look further into breast reduction surgery as the number one response I get from patients after surgery is “Gosh why didn’t I do this sooner!”

I hope this helps give you some insight into breast reduction surgery. Feel free to contact Lake Mary Plastic Surgery with any questions. Call 407-333-2518 or email thru our Contact Us form.