- Are you a good candidate?
- Prior to surgery
- After the procedure
- Recovery time
- Breast Reduction Before and After
One of the most satisfied patients in plastic surgery is the one who has had a breast reduction. People who don’t have large breasts don’t understand the tremendous inconvenience and pain associated with them. The average person thinks that large breasts are a blessing; something that most women want. Little do they know that large breasts can actually be a significant handicap. Often, they prevent the woman from wearing normal clothing, cause back and neck pain, make it difficult or impossible to exercise, and a whole host of other problems.
After a breast reduction, the patient feels as if a burden has literally been lifted off of her shoulders. Gone are the bra strap marks across the shoulder, the rashes, and the burden of carrying around all that extra weight. It is a tremendous relief.
Not uncommonly, the patient with large breasts can also be overweight. It is best for these patients to try to lose as much weight as possible for several reasons. Not only because losing weight is healthy but because it makes the operation technically easier. Another reason is that an insurance company may not pay for a breast reduction in a patient who is significantly overweight. Often, an insurance company will refuse to pay anyway and the patient is forced to pay for it herself. The only way to find out is to have the procedure pre approved prior to the operation. It is safe to say, though, that if the procedure is mostly cosmetic, insurance will not pay for it.
There are several ways to perform a breast reduction. Dr. Cruise is a big advocate of what is called the “short scar ” breast reduction. This type of breast reduction is somewhat more technically difficult but has the huge advantage of leaving a shorter scar and it also creates more breast projection and cleavage. Dr. Cruise will elaborate more in the section “Dr. Cruise’s philosophy. ” It is important to point out that this procedure is not just a reduction procedure but it is a cosmetic procedure as well, or at least it should be. Breasts are very important to most women and it is important to add an artistic quality to the reduction so that a sexy, feminine result is obtained.
Despite Dr. Cruise has the ability to perform breast reduction with a shorter than normal scar, a scar is inevitable. The scar goes completely around the areola and then travels down the breast to the level of the fold underneath the breast. If your breasts are exceptionally large a short scar within the fold may be necessary. This is very unusual. The scar usually becomes quite red the first 2 months after the operation but fades within 1 year. The patient considering breast reduction must be prepared to accept the scar as a trade off for lighter, perkier, more attractive breasts. The reality is, these scars are not noticeable even when wearing highly revealing clothes.
To put it bluntly, large breasts can be a significant handicap. Their sheer weight makes them very difficult to carry around and prevents many women from doing the things they want to do. They cause neck and back pain, rashes, and a myriad of medical problems. In addition to this, they cause significant psychological problems as well. Here you have a body part that is supposed to be sexy and feminine, yet the bearer of large breasts sees them as no more than a burden. The problems from this paradox are beyond the scope of this web site. Suffice to say, I feel very strongly that something should be done soon so that problems do not snowball.
In my practice breast reductions are as much cosmetic as they are reconstructive. There is no question that excess weight in the breasts is the primary cause of the physical problems, but if the breast reduction is done in a sexy, cosmetically pleasing way the patient benefits in both a physical and psychological fashion. This is why I perform my breast reductions the same way I perform my breast lifts except, of course, I also remove breast tissue in the process. I perform what is known in the plastic surgery literature as a “short scar” breast reduction. I believe that breast surgery, whether it is brest reduction or breast lifting, is art work as much as it is surgery. This is why I have developed this technique. It is more technically demanding but it achieves more sexy, feminine breasts with more projection and cleavage than the standard breast reduction; yet it is done with a shorter scar.
Anyone considering breast reduction must realize that the cost of removing breast tissue, elevating the nipple, and making a more appealing breast causes a scar. This scar travels around the nipple, down the breast, and, in rare cases, forms a T underneath the breast. It is true, that even with revealing clothes the scar is not visible but the person considering undergoing this procedure must still be aware that scars will be created.
Other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction or abdominoplasty can be done at the same time in certain patients.
The benefits of breast reduction are physical, mental, and cosmetic. If done properly, breast reduction can simultaneously remove excess breast tissue and provide you with breasts that you can have a pride in instead of a burden. There are many reasons for breast reduction. Here are a few:
- Relieves back and neck pain.
- Relieves rashes underneath the breast.
- Reduces weight so that exercise and other activities are easier.
- Improves breathing and bad posture.
- Removes shoulder grooving from bra straps.
- Makes clothes fit better.
- Repositions nipple into a more youthful location.
- Provides a breast lift as well as breast reduction.
The most common complication after breast reduction is asymmetry. It must be pointed out, however, that all breasts have some asymmetry. A breast reduction, in fact, can do a lot to correct asymmetry but it is unreasonable to expect both breasts to be exactly identical.
Another potential complication is inadequate reduction or over reduction. Dr. Cruise spends a great deal of time before the operation finding out exactly what size you would like to be to avoid this. Some women would like to be as small as possible. There is a limit to how small they can be made without compromising blood supply and safety. Dr. Cruise has considerable experience in both cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery and will do all that is possible to provide you with the size and shape of breasts you desire.
A complication that has already been discussed but must be emphasized is really not a complication. It is the fact that a scar is a requirement in order to achieve breast reduction. Over time the scar will fade but will never go away completely.
After breast reduction, there is a significant likelihood that breast-feeding will not be possible. Also possible is the loss or a decrease in sensation to the nipple. Usually sensation does return but this cannot be guaranteed. Other complications that must be considered, but are possible with any operation, are the risks of infection, wound healing problems, fluid or blood collection, and contour irregularities.
In general, patients that are good candidates for breast reduction know it before even reading this web site. They are plagued with the problems outlined above. Quite often the biggest question is whether a breast reduction or a breast lift is needed. Both procedures involve lifting and shaping the breast. The reduction also involves removal of a significant amount of tissue as well. This will be evaluated during your consultation. Usually, however, the patient knows whether or not the procedure is a cosmetic one. In order to qualify as a breast reduction, the insurance company usually requires a certain amount of breast tissue be removed.
Here is a summary of problems plagued by patients who need a breast reduction.
- Do you have back or neck pain caused by large breasts?
- Do you have persistent rashes below the breasts?
- Are you unable to exercise because of your large breasts?
- Do you have grooves in your shoulders from bra straps?
- Are your breasts way out of proportion to the rest of your body?
- Are your breasts large and droopy?
- Are you self-conscious and/or unhappy about your large breasts?
- If you answered yes to any of the above questions a breast reduction is probably worth while.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions a breast reduction is probably worth while.
- Avoid sunbathing for 2 weeks prior to surgery.
- Quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to surgery as nicotine can impair and delay healing.
- Stop all aspirin containing products, medications that contains blood thinners (motrin, advil etc.) vitamin E and herbal supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery. You can take 1 multivitamin a day.
- Let the doctor know of all medications taken daily.
- Make sure all requested labs, mammogram and doctors clearance are delivered to Dr. Cruise’s office on time.
THINGS TO PURCHASE BEFORE SURGERY
- Medications. Prescriptions will be given during pre-operative appointment.
- Garment. You will be provided with a surgical bra immediately after surgery. You should also have two other support bras available in a cup size you are anticipating going to or slightly larger. The bra should fit snug around your chest.
- Gauze. Make sure to have a box of 4×4 gauze. You can purchase this at drug store.
1. Arnica – available at Dr. Cruise’s office – may decrease bruising, or help it to go away faster.
THE DAY OF SURGERY
- Do not eat anything for 8 hours and drink for 6 before surgery.
- You may shower and shampoo your hair the night before or morning of your surgery .
- You may brush and rinse your teeth, but do not eat or drink anything. Do not wear makeup or moisturizers on your face or eyes.
- Do not bring any jewelry or valuables with you on the day of surgery.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, preferably button up or zipped up top. Wear flat, comfortable shoes. Remove contact lenses, dentures and nipple rings before surgery.
- Someone must drive you home and stay with you the first night.
- Take 2 pills of Zofran and 2 pills of Celebrex at 1-2 hours before surgery.
Dr. Cruise works only with board certified anesthesiologists to make sure you have the best anesthesia possible. The anesthesiologist will discuss with you what type of anesthesia is best for you. He/she will take into consideration your medical history, the procedure, and your personal wishes.
Normally, general anesthesia is required when performing breast reduction to make sure the patient is completely comfortable throughout the procedure.
The procedure itself will take approximately 3-4 hours.
- Get plenty of rest and limit yourself to light activities the first 10 days after surgery. Sleep and rest with head slightly elevated for the first 3 days.
- You may take a cool shower the day after surgery. Make sure you have someone helping you. Put your bra back on . Let water run gently over the drains exits. Dab dry. Place gauze over drain exit.
- At 2-3 weeks after surgery take your steri-strips off. Apply ScarLess®, allow it to dry and then re-apply silicone sheets twice a day for two months.
- Sutures will dissolve on their own.
- Do not drive for the first week or while on pain medications. Do not do heavy housework and do not work out at all for the first 3 weeks, no upper body workout for at least 8 weeks.
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds for 2 weeks.
- Wear a surgical bra 24 hours a day for 8 weeks unless Dr. Cruise instructs you differently.
- Avoid direct exposure of incision to sunlight for at least 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to the area of the incision, if you will be in the sun for extended periods of time.
- Do not smoke for at least 1 week after surgery.
- Do not use aspirin-containing products for at least 1 week. You may take Tylenol or pain medication as prescribed.
- You may apply ice or frozen peas or corn on the breast for the first 48 hours to decrease swelling. Do not apply it directly on your skin.
- Be sure to use all you medications as directed.
- It is not uncommon for a small part of incision to open up and look like a pimple at 4-8 weeks. This is called a Stitch Abscess – it i caused by a suture which is expelled by the body. Simply wash it with soap and water and apply Neosporin or Polysporin on it. If the redness is larger than a dime call the office.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS YOU RECOVER
- Immediately after surgery, some patients feel groggy or nauseous. These feeling normally subside by the next day.
- Many patients experience some pain for the first 3-4 days and soreness for the first 2 weeks
- Most of the time the breasts are very swollen and tight for the six week. Do not be concerned they will drop with time. At your follow up appointment Dr. Cruise will show you how to massage them to make sure you positioning is appropriate. The body heals asymmetrically. One breast might be swollen, hurt more and appear higher or lower than the other, do not be concerned.
- Swelling and bruising usually clears up within 2 weeks.
- Pink scars will eventually fade to an unnoticeable color. It may take up to a year for the scar to fade to its minimal color.
- Some firmness may develop. Once the tenderness subsides, you may begin to massage the breasts to help soften them. After 3 months you should massage your breasts daily during your shower for 30 seconds for the rest of your life.
- Your nipples might become hyper sensitive or lose sensation for the first 3 months. This usually goes away.
WHEN TO CALL US
Post surgical complications are rare and are often easily solved by the doctor if you notify us. Call us if you experience any of the following:
A temperature of 101 F or higher, increased local redness or warmth, chest pain, shortness of breath, legs swelling, calf pain, or if you feel that anything might be wrong. Please call the office during regular business hours @ 949-644-4808 after page Dr. Cruise @ 714-304-8050 . In addition, call if you have continuous discharge from the incision line, if one of the breasts appears significantly larger and more tender, if the pain increases instead of decreasing after 5 days or the breasts become red.
POST-OP VISITS AND CARE SUMMARY
Some people with sedentary jobs go back to work after 1 week. If your job, however, requires aggressive arm movements it may take as long as 4 weeks to return to work. Most people return to work after 2 weeks.
Joseph T. Cruise M.D. has earned the reputation as one of the top Newport Beach plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic surgery. Cruise Plastic Surgery provides procedures such as breast augmentation, facelift, gynecomastia, tummy tuck and other cosmetic surgeries. Patients often begin with a search for ‘Orange County Facelift’ or ‘Breast Augmentation Newport Beach’, then come to our office for a consultation, and ultimately benefit from one of Orange County’s best plastic surgeon specialists. Dr. Cruise’s patients come from Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, California, as well as around the world to our top plastic surgery center for breast implants as well as rhinoplasty (nose surgery), liposuction, or neck lift surgery. Our goal is to offer the best quality plastic surgery in Orange County with affordable cost options.