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Breast reduction, also called reduction mammaplasty, is an operation to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts and create an aesthetic shape, including repositioning the breasts in an improved position on the chest.
With age, childbearing and weight changes, 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 degrees of discomfort, particularly of the neck, back and shoulders, as well as psychological and aesthetic concerns. The surgery aims to improve these aspects.
The specialist plastic surgeons at Pure Aesthetics have particular expertise in the most modern breast reduction techniques and were one of the first practices in Australia to regularly perform “short scar” breast reductions (also known as “vertical” or “lollipop” breast reductions), providing a much better shape with fewer scars than traditional methods. Our surgeons have international reputations for their skill and expertise in breast reduction, and now train the next generation of Australian and international plastic surgeons.
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:
Our plastic surgeons recommend the no-drain breast reduction technique whenever possible, which holds a number of specific benefits over traditional reduction surgery:
During your consultation, your Pure Aesthetics’ surgeon will take a comprehensive medical history, and ask you a range of questions covering everything from your current health situation—including medications and allergies—to details about the physical outcomes you desire.Your surgeon will examine your breasts, looking for possible abnormalities, growths and uneven breasts or nipples. They will then take measurements of your breast size, shape, and level on the chest—as well as how each breast and nipple compares to the other. It is usual for one breast (and nipple) to be larger or lower than the other, and this will be pointed out to you, if present.
With this information, your surgeon can then recommend the best approach for your breast reduction. Pictures will also be taken during your consultation to assist with planning and to compare your progress after surgery. These images will be completely confidential, only seen by you, your surgeon, and their staff. At this consultation the surgery will be comprehensively explained to you, including what your recovery will entail and complications that could potentially develop. The second consultation will go over this again, while going into more detail about the technical aspects of your surgery. Please ask any questions or voice any concerns you have during this time, and our staff will be happy to address them.
In breast reduction surgery, the surgeon will remove the excess breast tissue to make the breast a more proportionate size, lift the nipples and reshape the breasts into a more youthful and aesthetic shape. Our specialist plastic surgeons prefer the short-scar surgical technique whenever possible—also termed “vertical” breast reduction or “lollipop” breast reduction, as the final scar pattern is around the circular areola, then vertically down to the fold beneath the breast.
Short scar breast reduction differs from the traditional technique in that the internal blood supply to the nipple is based high in the breast and the heavy tissue from the lower breast is completely removed. The breast is then reduced and reconfigured in a conical shape, then sewn so that its new construction, and not the skin envelope, maintains the shape of the breast. This allows less skin to be removed, elimination of the scar beneath the breast, and fewer scars total. The even greater benefits are a shapelier breast and better long-term maintenance of the result.
The short scar breast reduction is best suited for moderate-sized breast reductions; however, by combining the internal reconstructive concepts with a scar beneath the breast, even the largest breasts can be successfully reduced with the shape advantages of this technique.
Please watch our video animation to see what happens in a breast reduction procedure:
Breast reduction surgery is performed in the hospital setting under general anaesthesia. The procedure typically takes about two to three hours to complete and you will need to stay overnight at the hospital as you begin your recovery. All procedures at Pure Aesthetics are performed in accredited facilities to ensure your safety.
After surgery you should wear a compression bra for 6 weeks (day and night), and during the day for the second 6 weeks. We will provide this bra to you. After about 12 weeks you can then wear any bra or go without one, although a good supportive bra will help maintain your breast shape in the long term.
The results will be immediately visible, and the look of your breasts will continue to improve as swelling and incision lines diminish.
Although bruising and swelling are moderate early after breast reduction, this will settle over about 6 weeks and the swelling will fully subside after around 3 months. The scars from breast reduction are usually maximal in the first 3 months, then soften and fade over 12 months. The scars are usually very acceptable to most patients.
Although bruising and swelling are moderate early after breast reduction surgery, this will settle over about 6 weeks and the swelling will fully subside after around 3 months. The scars from breast reduction are usually maximal in the first 3 months, then soften and fade over 12 months. We recommend you participate in our scar management program to try to give you the best quality scars. Most patients report their scars as being very acceptable.
Most patients can return to their normal schedules within the first week. However, you should refrain from strenuous exercise for at least four weeks, at which point you can slowly resume these activities. After six weeks, all activities can usually be resumed.
Our plastic surgeons are committed to providing safe and effective procedures, but as with any surgery, the breast reduction procedure comes with some degree of risk and possible complications. These include:
Potential complications that can arise from breast reduction specifically, include:
More details about these risks will be explained to you during the consultation process to ensure you are fully informed about your care.
In addition to reading the frequently asked questions above, it can be helpful for you to view breast reduction before and after photos to get an idea of the types of results your surgeon can help you achieve. You may also want to consider the following questions:
These questions and any other questions you may have can be discussed with you during your consultation.
Breast reduction surgery attracts Medicare and private health insurance rebates.
Out-of-pocket expenses start at $7,900 including surgeon, anaesthetist, and hospital fees (where you are covered for private health insurance). A more personalised cost quote can be provided to you during your consultation, after your plastic surgeon has created your custom treatment plan.
To determine your coverage for hospital costs and other fees, you will need to contact your insurance provider.
Many patients seek breast reduction exercises and other non-surgical methods of decreasing their breast size. While diet and exercise may help some individuals, it is not always an effective solution for enlarged breasts. This is because the breasts are composed of glandular and fatty tissues. The ratio of these types of tissue will vary for every woman. In general, diet and exercise can help reduce fatty breast tissue, but glandular tissue cannot be reduced through these means. Depending on the amount of glandular tissue you have, you may require surgery to provide a more significant reduction.
If you plan to have children and breastfeed in the future, you should tell your plastic surgeon as this may affect which breast reduction technique they recommend. Our surgeons take every precaution to minimise the risk of damage to the nipple and areola complex. However, it is possible for patients to have a reduced ability to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery. This is especially true for patients with extremely large breasts who need their nipple completely removed and repositioned higher, since this disrupts the nerves and milk ducts.
A common side effect of having large breasts is sagging. The additional weight of the excess tissue can stretch the breast’s connective tissue and ligaments creating the need for a breast lift in addition to reduction. During the breast reduction procedure, our surgeons typically remove the excess breast tissue while raising the remaining tissue to provide a lift at the same time.
Most swelling should subside within the first month of recovery after breast reduction surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on ways to manage your swelling, such as wearing a compression bra and engaging in light activity. If you experience severe swelling, this may indicate a complication like infection has occurred, and you should contact your surgeon to be evaluated.
To learn if you are a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, please contact us to set up a consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons.