Breast Reduction

Introduction

As a woman, Dr. Rasmussen understands the personal nature of a woman’s decision to have breast surgery.

Whether a woman chooses breast surgery to reduce discomfort from large breasts… implants to better balance her body… breast lifting to restore a more youthful shape… or reconstruction to aid in rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery, Dr. Rasmussen uses her more than 20 years experience to incorporate both the art and science of breast surgery.

By paying close attention to the individual needs and promoting realistic expectations, Dr. Rasmussen can ensure natural, personalized results.

Women with large, heavy breasts experience more than dissatisfaction with body image – they usually experience physical symptoms including neck or back discomfort. Overly large breasts and the weight of excess breast tissue can cause pain and physical conditions that impair a woman’s ability to lead an active life or exercise regularly. The emotional discomfort and self-consciousness often associated with having large, pendulous breasts is as important an issue to many of theses women as the physical discomfort and pain.

Breast Reduction Overview

Breast Reduction, also known as Reduction Mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the breasts while at the same time lifting and reshaping them. The purpose is to reduce symptoms associated with large breasts such as neck pain, back pain, shoulder strap grooving, and poor posture. Breast reduction is accomplished by removing excess skin, glandular breast tissue, and fat. Large pendulous breasts can result in not only physical symptoms, but emotional and social anxiety as well. Women who choose to take advantage of this surgical procedure find that they are able to lead a healthier, more comfortable life, with the added benefit of enjoying a more proportionate appearance.

Reasons for Considering a Breast Reduction:

  • Back, neck or shoulder pain caused by heavy breasts.
  • Sagging breasts produced by their large size.
  • Disproportionate body frame attributed to oversized breasts.
  • Restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of the breasts.
  • Painful bra strap marks and/or breast crease rashes as a result of large, pendulous breasts.

Technique: Breast reduction begins with preoperative markings. There is a saying in carpentry and plastic surgery, “draw twice, cut once.” These markings guide the plastic surgeon to know how much breast tissue to remove as well as where to position the nipple areola complex. Various incision patterns may include the classic “keehole pattern”, the vertical pattern or a circular pattern. Regardless of pattern, it usually involves reduction of the diameter of the enlarged areola, the pigmented skin around the nipple. There are two major techniques to remove breast tissue and position the nipple areola complex. One is by way of a “pedicle technique” (the nipple remains attached to a stalk of breast tissue attached to the underlying chest wall and blood supply). The second is a nipple areola graft technique whereby the nipple areola is removed entirely from its blood supply and then replaced on the newly shaped breast mound. The decision for the specific technique is dependent upon the patient’s anatomy as well as surgeon’s preference. There are pros and cons to each technique which will be discussed during a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Rasmussen.

All surgeries carry some risk, and a potential risk associated with breast reduction is vascular sompromise to tissue, whether it be skin, glandular tissue, fat, or even the nipple areola complex. While Dr. Rasmussen makes every effort to reduce this risk, there are certain factors which may increase a woman’s personal risk of vascular compromise, and this is discussed during the consultation.

One of the greatest trade-offs of this procedure is the resulting scars; however, the significant improvement of preoperative symptoms as well as overall appearance significantly reduces the patient’s focus on scars. In Dr. Rasmussen’s practice, she finds that breast reduction patients are among her happiest, perhaps because of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction results in the quickest body-image changes. Patients are amazed at the elimination of physical pain caused by large breasts as well as the improvement of body proportion, an enhanced appearance, and better fitting clothes. It also allows them to perform activities and exercises that they may have never been able to do before.

This surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. Bandages or garments are applied immediately following surgery to aid the healing process and are usually removed within about 48 hours. Patients report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated with oral medication. Postoperative instructions will include limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the recovery time. Most swelling subsides in 4 to 6 weeks. Breast shape and position settles with time and may take at least 3 to 6 months before seeing a “final” shape. Continued flattening and fading of scars occur for up to 2 years. While Dr. Rasmussen does some surgical techniques intraoperatively to eventually result in a better scar, postoperatively she recommends to her patients the use of topical silicone for at least the first 3 months to ultimately reduce the risk of permanently thickened scars.