Overly large breasts can cause both health and emotional problems. Neck, back, and shoulder pain from the weight of excess breast tissue can impair your ability to lead an active life. Bra straps dig into your shoulders. Constant pain can take a serious toll on your mood and self-esteem. Many women find the emotional discomfort associated with having large breasts to be as troubling as the physical pain.
If large breasts have gotten in the way of living your best life, you've likely been considering breast reduction surgery for quite some time. Congrats on taking the first step towards this truly life-changing procedure. You may or may not be excited to learn that many insurance plans will cover part, or all of the cost of the breast reduction procedure - so it's an option worth exploring if you've been considering it.
Breast reduction surgery is a personal and life-changing procedure - so it's important that you feel comfortable with your surgeon and his or her experience.
Dr. Majewski is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with over 17 years of experience, and has performed hundreds of successful breast reduction procedures throughout his career. His goal for all his patients to help them feel comfortable, confident, and calm throughout their surgery and recovery experience.
Schedule a consultation once you feel you've done sufficient research on the procedure, researched possible surgeons, and you feel confident speaking about your goals and expectations for the surgery.
During your consultation, Dr. Majewski will ask you a number of questions about your health, desires, and lifestyle in order to create a treatment plan that will best satisfy your unique needs. Be honest with your answers, and come prepared with any questions you may have about the surgery, recovery, and the costs involved with the procedure.
During your consultation, Dr. Majewski may ask you questions about the following:
Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Family history of breast cancer and results of any mammograms or previous biopsies
Dr. Majewski will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, examine and measure your breasts, including detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas, take photographs, discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment, discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure, and discuss likely outcomes of breast reduction surgery and any risks or potential complications.
The purpose of the consultation is to ensure that you are a candidate for surgery, and to develop a treatment plan that will help you meet your goals.
BREAST REDUCTION IS A GOOD OPTION FOR YOU IF YOU:
Are physically healthy
Have realistic expectations
Are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too large
Have breasts that limit your physical activity
Experience back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
Have shoulder indentations from bra straps
Have skin irritation beneath the breast crease
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of breast reduction surgery. Your plastic surgeon may need to obtain authorization from your insurer for the surgery. This may require a letter and the submission of photographs - so after your consultation, you may have to wait for a period of time before you can schedule your surgery. Once an authorization is obtained, you will be able to schedule your surgery.
You will be responsible for any co-pays or deductible required by your insurer. If your health plan does not cover breast reduction, you may decide to pay for the surgery yourself. The costs involved in this procedure may include:
Hospital or surgical facility costs
Prescriptions for medication
About the Breast Reduction Procedure
Breast reduction (also called reduction mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure performed to treat symptoms related to excessively large breasts - i.e. back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, rashes in the folds under the breasts, and shoulder grooving from bra straps. The procedure involves removing part of the breast to reduce volume, then repositioning the nipple/areola to a higher location (lift).
Breast reduction surgery is usually performed through incisions on your breasts with surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin.
In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques described below. If breast size is largely due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be used in the procedure for breast reduction.
The excision technique used will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences, and Dr. Majewski's advice.
In the case of very large and/or very saggy breasts, a free nipple graft technique may be recommended to minimize risks related to inadequate blood supply to nipple/areola complex.
The incision lines that remain will form visible and permanent scars, although these are usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra. Dr. Majewski will provide you with a scar gel to minimize the appearance and redness of scars.
When your breast reduction procedure is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. Before you awake from anesthesia, an elastic bandage or support bra will be applied to help minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Dr. Majewski and his team will provide you with specific instructions for breast reduction recovery that may include:
How to care for your breasts following breast reduction surgery
Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Be sure to ask Dr. Majewski specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
Are stitches removed? When?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
The amount of time you need to recover from breast reduction will depend on your natural healing rate as well as the extent of surgery performed. You will be able to get up and walk around the same day of surgery, although you should have a trusted adult with you during the first 24 hours (at least). While you may be permitted to shower a few days after surgery, you will probably need help getting dressed, as you will not have full range of motion in your chest and shoulders at first.
Most patients feel ready to drive and return to a desk job within 1 week, after they are no longer taking prescription pain medication. Dr. Majewski will likely have you wait a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks before resuming exercise other than walking; this helps to ensure your incisions heal properly. It is absolutely essential to follow all post-operative instructions after surgery in order to ensure proper healing.
Results & Life After Surgery
Because it alleviates both physical and emotional discomfort and enhances a patient’s appearance, breast reduction is an incredibly rewarding and life-changing procedure. Dr. Majewski's patients often report an increase in self-confidence as well as a renewed sense of freedom to wear the clothes they want to wear, and participate in physical activities they had previously avoided.
While many patients experience an immediate relief from back and shoulder pain after breast reduction, it's important to understand that it will take some time for your final results to settle in. Swelling, soreness, and tingling are typical after breast reduction, so your new smaller breasts may appear a little larger than you had expected while initial swelling is present. Additionally, the breasts often heal at a different rate, so you may notice some asymmetry during the first few months of your recovery.
After about 2-3 months, your final results will be more or less in place and you can shop for new bras with confidence. However, you may notice subtle changes for the first 6 to 12 months.
ARE RESULTS PERMANENT?
After breast reduction, you can expect to enjoy smaller, lighter breasts for a lifetime, so long as you maintain a stable weight and do not have any more children. However, nothing can stop the normal aging process. Eventually your breasts will probably begin to sag once again, although not as severely as they might have before breast reduction.
Also, future pregnancies are likely to change the shape, size, and appearance of your breasts, possibly reversing some of the positive changes made during breast reduction. If you are planning to have more children, talk to Dr. Majewski. He can help you weigh the pros and cons of having surgery now or waiting until you have finished having children.
Learn More about breast reduction surgery
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