Breast reduction surgery is one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic surgery.
The goal of this operation is to correct heavy, sagging breast, generally after pregnancy or weight gain, by lifting and reducing the size of the breasts.
If you consider having this breast reduction surgery, you will need to know a few things about it.
The initial consultation.
You will meet your surgeon and will tell him exactly what you want, why you want it and for how long.
You will be asked to give information about your previous operations (cosmetic and non-cosmetic), your health condition, your current medications, your allergies to medications, if you are a smoker or not, and if you or anyone in your family had a breast problem in the past.
Also, if you are suffering from a backache, or can’t perform certain activities due to the size of your breasts; if you think that your breasts are becoming very sore before your periods (possible hormonal imbalance to be treated first).
Your surgeon will examine you and will take some measurements. Then, the whole operation will be explained to you in detail, including:
– the type of anaesthesia (general),
– the incisions (length, position, shape (inverted T), and outcome,
– the necessity to have, or not have liposuction at the same time,
– the estimated bra cup size after surgery,
– the final shape of your areolas,
– the drains,
– the type of sutures used, and the type of dressing.
You will usually stay at the hospital overnight. Your drains will be removed the day, and your dressings will be changed for smaller ones. You will then be discharged.
You are supposed to wear a support bra and to keep it on for 3 weeks, day and night.
1. How many sizes will I lose during this operation.?
Generally, 2 sizes. It does depend on your preferences but should stay in proportion to the rest of your body.
2. What happens when I decide to go ahead with surgery?
You will have a second consultation where everything is explained to you again, and any further questions answered.
Then, call the office and we will book the hospital for you.
The hospital we use is at 64 Harley Street, Harley Health Village. It is one of the newest private hospitals in London.
3. Are there any tests required?
You need to complete some blood tests, in a private lab, mostly to check your red and white cells and your coagulation, as well as HIV / hepatitis tests, and possibly to have a mammogram. The cost of these tests is usually £80 -£120 and is paid for by the patient.
4. Is there anything I need to do or stop doing before the surgery?
Before the operation, you are not supposed to take aspirin or similar tablets, and you should stop the contraceptive pill a month before surgery.
You will have to stop eating, drinking and smoking 6 hours before the operation.
Take a good shower the night before and the day of the operation.
5. What happens on the day of the surgery?
You will see your surgeon before going into the surgical theatre, and have time to ask him any final questions you may have forgotten to ask previously.
Your surgeon will ask you to sign a consent form, where all the possible risks are mentioned.
There will then be markings made on your body to guide the surgeon during the operation.
Some before photographs will be taken (they will stay in your file and are confidential).
You will then you anaesthetist and you will be taken to theatre. Your operation takes about three hours.
6. What happens after surgery?
You will spend half an hour in recovery before being taken back to your room.
You will be discharged 1 or 2 days later, before midday.
-Back home you are supposed to take it easy: no sport, or heavy lifting for 3 weeks.
You cannot shower your breasts for two weeks, and you cannot drive for one week.
You will feel uncomfortable, but not sore.
Antibiotics will need to be taken after the operation, and painkillers, if needed.
Your dressing need to be changed every other day.
7. When do I return for a follow-up appointment?
You are supposed to come back to the clinic after one week for the first wound check (but you can contact the office anytime in between). You will see your surgeon in the second week.
After this first postoperative checkup, you will see your surgeon at month 1, month 3, and 6 months after the surgery.
Then, it will only be once a year.
Your stitches will be trimmed after 3 weeks.
The initial swelling will disappear within 3 weeks, which is the time you need before seeing how slim you are going to be.
8. What are the risks of this operation?
Apart from the usual side effects of pain (3-5 days), swelling and numbness (3 weeks), there are some potential risks, which are still very rare:
– Scars: these scars can be red for several months and they should settle down. Scarring in a breast reduction will generally be in the shape of an inverted T (or lollypop shape). The final scarring varies according to your individual healing characteristics. Scars can sometimes get wider, but it is always possible to improve them later. You may have a vertical scar (possible “dog ear” for 8 weeks).
– Bleeding: you will have to go back to surgery to have it stopped. This is why it is so important to stop smoking before the surgery.
– Infection (this is why you have the antibiotics). There is always a risk of infection after any type of surgery.
– Wound opening if there is an infection.
– Asymmetry; it is rare to have 100% symmetry before or after surgery.
– Areola necrosis (exceptional, mostly seen with heavy smokers).
– Fat necrosis.
– Limits of the operation: You might still need to lose weight prior to and after the operation. The breast reduction can sometimes be combined with a second procedure where an implant is put in, to maintain a nice fullness of the top of your breasts.
– Numbness of the breasts.
– Pregnancies are not recommended until one year after surgery.
– All the risks of complications are rare, but remember that surgery is not an exact science and there are some unpredictable and uncontrollable factors, such as your individual healing and response to surgery.
– If there is a complication that requires surgery, the patient has to pay for hospital and anaesthetist fees, and surgeon fees depending on the nature of the complication.
If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask your surgeon during your consultation, or at any point up until the date of the surgery and after the operation.