Breast Reduction, also called Reduction Mammaplasty, is an operation to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts whilst maintaining an aesthetic shape, including repositioning the breasts in an improved position on the chest.
With age, child bearing and increased weight, the ligaments and the overlying skin which contribute to the youthful shape of the breast, stretch and elongate, allowing the breasts to droop on the chest wall. Large breasts also often cause significant discomfort, particularly of the neck, back and shoulders, as well as psychological and aesthetic concerns. The surgery aims to improve these aspects.
Dr. Merten is one of Sydney’s most experienced breast reduction surgeons, and has personally performed over 1000 breast reductions. Our plastic surgeons specialise in the most modern breast reduction techniques and Dr Merten was one of the first surgeons in Australia to regularly perform “short scar” breast reductions, providing a much better shape with fewer scars than traditional methods. He has an international reputation for his skill and expertise in breast reduction, and now trains the next generation of Australian and international plastic surgeons.
How can this procedure help me?
Large breasts can be very uncomfortable and negatively impact one’s quality of life, but there are options available to remedy this situation. Breast reduction is one of the most successful plastic surgery procedures performed. Benefits of breast reduction include:
- Greater feeling of well-being
- Increased confidence levels
- Enhanced Mobility
- General improvement in quality of life
- Reduction in back pain
- Reduction in neck pain
- Less skin irritation under breast folds
- Improved exercise ability, leading to overall improvement in health
The Consultation Process: What to Expect
During the consultation, Dr. Merten will ask you a variety of questions covering everything from your current health situation to details about the physical outcomes you desire. Be prepared to talk about current medications, allergies and any past or current medical treatments.
An examination of your breasts will be done to check for abnormalities, lumps and asymmetries of the breast or nipple. An assessment of your breast size, shape, positioning and any differences between your breasts is done and several measurements taken. It is usual for one breast (and nipple) to be larger than the other or to be lower than the other, and this will be pointed out to you if present.
Based on your history and examination, your best options for breast reduction are determined. Photographs of your breasts will be taken as part of this consultation, to allow for planning of the surgery and to assess results following your surgery. These will be kept strictly confidential between Dr. Merten and his staff.
You will also discuss the recovery process and any potential complications that could arise. At any time, you are encouraged to ask any questions that you may have.
Your second consultation will further deal with your operation choices and reiterate the possible problems and complications with reference to your specific case.
The Procedure: What Does it Involve?
In the surgery, Dr. Merten removes excess breast tissue to make the breast a more proportionate size, lifts the nipples and reshapes the breasts into a more youthful and aesthetic shape.
Will I need to be hospitalised for the procedure?
Breast reduction operations are done in hospital, under general anaesthetic, and take between two and three hours. You will remain in hospital overnight. All surgeries are performed in fully accredited facilities ensuring your safety.
What is recovery like?
Advancements in anaesthesia over recent years has meant more comfort for patients – less pain with minimal postoperative sedation and nausea and a quick recovery to “feeling normal.” The anaesthetists in my team are highly skilled and experienced in modern techniques and devoted to keeping you comfortable.
Naturally you may feel “woozy” as the anaesthetic wears off. You may feel some soreness, swelling or discomfort, but this is quite natural. You may also feel tired after surgery, but this and the soreness is normal and will last only a short while.
Stitches used may be dissolving and these will not have to be removed. In the event that sutures need removal, this is done between one and three weeks after surgery. Some may require a tube used to help drain blood and bodily fluid for the first few days.
Although you can change your bra and remove it for toiletry, showering, etc, you should wear a compression bra for 6 weeks day and night post surgery, and during the day for the second 6 weeks. You can then wear any bra or go without one, although good bra support will help maintain your breasts in the long term.
Results: What and When?
The results will be immediately visible. Though the look of your breasts will continue to improve as swelling and incision lines diminish.
Although swelling is minimal after breast reduction, there will be some puffiness. You can expect this to settle over about 6 weeks with swelling to fully subside after 3 months.
When can I resume day-to-day activities?
In most cases, you can resume your normal activities within one week’s time. Strenuous activity should be avoided for 4 weeks. You can then gradually increase your activity and should be back to normal in 6 weeks.
What complications can arise from the procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These include:
- Bruising, bleeding, heamotoma formation
- Anaesthetic problems
- Deep Vein thrombosis
Risks and complications specific to Breast Reduction include:
- Nipple Necrosis
- Nipple Sensory Disturbances
- Breast Assymetry
- “Dog ears”
- “Bottoming out”
- Unfavourable Cosmetic Result
The potential risks and complications of the surgery will be discussed with you in detail at your preoperative consultations.
Will this procedure leave scars?
One of the major trades-offs for breast reduction surgery are the potential scars. It is not possible to have a breast reduction without a scar and all incisions leave scars. However, there are different techniques available, and whenever possible, Dr. Merten utilises the modern reduced scar “vertical” reduction. For larger breasts, or where the skin quality is stretched and damaged, then usually a scar is also required in the fold beneath your breast.
We aim to achieve scars of superior quality and minimal length; however your personal anatomy and healing pattern are ultimately responsible. Dr. Merten will discuss the various types of reduction with you and help you to choose the one most appropriate to your problem.
What else should I consider before having this surgery?
To understand what is reasonable to expect from the surgery, it is a good idea to look at before and after photos. This will give you a good perspective of what results other patients have achieved through Dr. Merten’s work. Some other things you may need to consider are;
- Are you happy with your body weight or do you intend to lose weight in the future?
- Do you plan to have children in the future and would you like to breastfeed?
- Do you have a preconceived idea of how you would like your breasts to look?
- Have you considered the effects of surgery on sensation of the breasts and nipples?
- Have you considered the prospect of scarring on your breasts?
You may also want to consider your planning for the healing period. Will you need help or assistance from others? Also if you do encounter complications, it is a good idea to understand how they are typically handled so that you are fully prepared.
Do you have any more questions?
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions that you might have about this procedure. Our team will be happy to address any concerns that you may have.