Signs You May Need a Breast Reduction
With a cultural focus in this country on bigger, better breasts, sometimes we forget that this isn’t the ideal that everyone has. Not all women with smaller breasts want small breasts; likewise, not all women with larger breasts want large breasts either. For these women, and often for men who have developed too much breast tissue, there exists a specialty procedure in the breast enhancement family: breast reduction. If some of this sounds familiar, you may be a good candidate for a breast reduction surgery.
If You Think You’re a Candidate…
For the right person, a breast reduction surgery could make all the difference toward a happy, healthy life. It can eliminate chronic health problems, improve self-esteem and confidence levels, and even open up more convenient options for buying a bra. If you think you might be a good candidate, consider these signs:
- Your breasts are large enough that they prevent you from doing certain activities. Do you often find yourself sitting out of friendly games of basketball? Did you cut short your 5K training plan because it was uncomfortable to run? Do you avoid pools and the beach? When your breasts are a hindrance, a breast reduction can help you.
- You’re constantly experiencing back pain and neck pain and you suspect it’s because of your breasts. If your bra is so strained that your shoulders are sore during the day or you’re constantly experiencing pressure in your back and neck, breast reduction surgery will help ease the burden on your body and alleviate your discomfort.
- Your breasts seem disproportionate to you. The strain mentioned above can be increased tenfold if you have a slight frame and carry around extra-large breasts. A plastic surgeon can work with you to evaluate how big your breasts should be to stay in proportion to your body. When you’re out of proportion, you may need—not just want—to make an adjustment.
- Your breasts feel heavy and the nipples point downwards. Breasts like this are even too heavy for themselves, leading to excess strain on your body and a higher chance of sagging very soon in life. A breast reduction could alleviate the weight your breasts put on your body.
- One of your breasts is bigger than the other. No woman is born with perfectly equal breasts, but most of them aren’t noticeable in their differences. Sometimes, a woman may develop breasts of two drastically different sizes. A breast reduction can be performed to create two breasts in better proportion to one another.
- Your breasts make you self-conscious. When you look in the mirror and all you see are breasts, you are definitely being emotionally and mentally affected by your breast size. When your breasts make you uncomfortable to get dressed, to meet new people, to go to places like pools, they are lessening the quality of your life and can be changed. Breast reduction surgery cannot cure all self-image problems, but it can certainly eliminate a big source of your frustration and self-doubt.
- You wish your breasts were smaller. If you constantly find yourself wishing they would get out of your way, it’s time to make a change. A breast reduction surgery should always be performed for your own needs, not because someone else wants you to do it. When you’re sure you are choosing surgery for you, and only you, it’s time for your breast reduction.
There are other minor factors that may make you a candidate for a breast reduction surgery as well. If you often experience skin irritation beneath your breasts, for example, this could be an indicator that your breasts are too large for their own good and are rubbing against the body too much. Even if you don’t feel pain in your neck and shoulders, if you notice that you have permanent indentations in your shoulders from your bra straps, this is a sign that your breasts are putting too much weight on your body. Finally, if you have trouble shopping for bras that fit you, this can be a challenge but also proof of a larger problem. While bra specialty shops and sizes do exist, they’re not always accessible to everyone. Many women would prefer to have more average-sized breasts for the added comfort and the convenience. Don’t rule these important factors out when you are considering breast reduction surgery.
How Breast Reductions Are Performed
Once you have made the decision to reduce the size of your breasts through plastic surgery, there are different methods you may choose from in conjunction with your plastic surgeon. Most often, your doctor will opt to make an incision around the nipple, extending vertically down to the inframammary crease, and then continuing horizontally along the natural crease of the breast. These incisions are often used in breast lift surgeries as well. Typically, the nipple and areola will be moved upward for better centering on the breast. Often the areola must be reduced in size as well to stay in proportion to the breast. If you plan to breastfeed in the future after your surgery, don’t panic; most techniques can maintain the nipple’s attachment to all blood vessels, nerves, and milk ducts so there is not trouble later on.
It is possible that your surgeon may determine some variations must be made to the popular technique, depending on your unique breasts and your surgical expectations. He may reduce the number of incisions or change their locations based on your physical characteristics and the intended outcome you discuss with him during your breast reduction consultation. Be totally honest and open with your physician about all of your concerns and opinions so that he may make the best choices for your surgical procedure.
Adding Liposuction to Breast Reduction for Enhanced Results
For some patients, a breast reduction surgery may not be enough on its own to help achieve the desired results. Sometimes, your physician may encourage the addition of liposuction to your procedure as a way to get you breast reduction results that are best for your body’s needs. If liposuction becomes part of your procedure, the doctor may use these techniques to remove fatty tissue from underneath the arm or from the breast itself, in special circumstances. If liposuction is planned for your breast reduction, don’t be concerned about its effects; liposuction will actually minimize scarring and recovery time for most patients.
The Right Time for a Breast Reduction
There is no perfect time to get a breast reduction surgery, but you must wait until your breast development has stopped. Once past this stage of development, women can receive a breast reduction at any age. Many women opt for this surgery after they have had children and breastfed, as these can have a large impact on the shape and size of a woman’s breasts. While this is a popular choice, it’s certainly not a mandate; many women have children and successfully breastfeed in the years following their procedure.
Whenever you choose to have your procedure done, bear in mind that it should be a time when you will be able to rest and recover from your procedure. Discuss your expected recovery time with your doctor before scheduling your procedure.
Where to Go Next…
For more information on whether a breast reduction surgery could be right for you, book your consultation with Dr. Ronald Lohner, a board certified plastic surgeon based in Philadelphia. He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and medical school at UMDNJ-Rutgers. He is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bryn Mawr Hospital and holds a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. His peers have selected him as a Philadelphia area Top Doctor for the last 8 years. Make an appointment today at his office, located at [primary_address] in [primary_city], [primary_statefull], on the Main Line. Please call [primary_phone] to schedule a consultation.