What is a breast reduction?
A Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty) removes excess breast tissue and reshapes large, sagging breasts. Excessively large and drooping breasts can sometimes cause back, neck, shoulder, and breast pain. They can also cause grooving from bra straps, rashes, and problems with posture. It can also be difficult to engage in normal physical activities with excessively large breasts and can be a source of self-consciousness for the patient. Dr. Gregory Wiener offers breast reduction surgery to patients in Chicago, IL and the surrounding areas.
Breast Reduction Surgery
The procedure involves removing excess breast tissue and skin from the lower portion of the breast as well as elevating and reshaping the remaining breast tissue and nipples. Incisions encircle the areola and extend vertically down the lower one-half of the breast and sometimes horizontally in the fold underneath the breast. Dr. Wiener always attempts to use the smallest incision possible to minimize scarring. In addition, Dr. Wiener uses a medical grade adhesive rather than sutures in order to minimize the appearance of scars. Dr. Wiener may add liposuction to the breast or to the area near the underarm to create a more contoured look.
Who is a good candidate for breast reduction?
Having overly large breasts, a condition clinically known as hypermastia, can be a burden both physically and psychologically. While women tire of the undue attention their breasts can attract, there are also many physical problems caused by overly large breasts. When patients come to Dr. Weiner for help, these are the common health issues that often accompany a woman’s decision to have reduction surgery:
- Spine problems
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Tingling hands
- Balance problems
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
An unfortunate side issue is that large breasts can make a woman pull back from areas of her life. She’ll often avoid sports and most types of exercise because her breasts are a hindrance to participation. They can come into play as a distraction in social and professional environments. Who needs that?
How will my breasts change with reduction surgery?
The improvements to a patient’s breasts with this surgery are similar to a breast lift. Overly large natural breasts are almost always somewhat flattened, with a good deal of sagging skin. Dr. Weiner will remove the excess skin and underlying tissue, but he will also lift and return the now smaller breasts to a higher position on the chest. The nipples, which may have actually been pointing downward, will be relocated and will return to normal appearance. In many cases, Dr. Weiner will reduce the size of the areolae, as well. The breasts will be smaller, but they will be firmer and higher on the chest. Now they will be proportional with the rest of the patient’s figure.
What will my scarring be like after reduction surgery?
There is no way around the scarring that results from this procedure. Incisions are long and incisions create scars. These are necessary to gain the access necessary to be able to remove as much breast tissue and skin as is needed. The scars will be pink for up to a year, but will then begin to fade quite quickly. Most of Dr. Weiner’s breast reduction patients feel the scars are a worthwhile cost for being rid of their large, heavy breasts.
After surgery, a soft support bra is used. The breasts will feel sore and there will be some degree of bruising and swelling. This usually resolves in 7-10 days. Most patients return to work in one week. Strenuous activities should be avoided for 4-6 weeks.
What are the most common benefits of having breast reduction surgery?
Most of Dr. Weiner’s breast reduction patients later report back with high satisfaction levels. This is because the benefits are both physical and emotional.
The physical burden of large, heavy breasts being reduced shows immediate benefits in a marked decrease in back and neck problems. Getting rid of the daily pain of bra straps digging into shoulder skin is a welcome respite on its own.
Equal to the physical benefits, however, seem to be the psychological boost. Most women who opt to have reduction surgery have long felt very self-conscious about their large breasts. This affects body image. Many women even go out of their way to hide their body under non-descript clothing choices. They avoid activities, such as going to the beach, where minimal clothing is required. Exercise classes and participation in many sports isn’t even considered.
But once Dr Weiner brings the breasts into proportion with the rest of the figure, the transformation can be dramatic. Patients often gain a huge boost in self-confidence and their body image improves in a big way. They feel more open to engaging in new exercise classes or regimens, without fear of attracting unwanted attention. They feel comfortable wearing clothing that now complements their figure, rather than seeking to cover it. Shopping for clothes is fun again. This can really be life changing, and that’s an awesome outcome.
What are the risks associated with breast reduction surgery?
This is major surgery, so all of the risks involved with surgery apply to reduction: infection, excessive bleeding, poor healing, and the like. The main risk specific to reduction mammoplasty is loss of nipple sensation or overall changes in breast sensation. This is because the nerves can be impacted by the relatively extensive changes in the breasts. Also, the ability to breastfeed will likely be impacted. Dr. Weiner is usually able to avoid damage to nerves and sensation, but it is definitely a risk.
When a patient is considering breast reduction, it’s important to weigh these risks and future scarring against the ongoing health issues caused by their large, heavy breasts.
Is breast reduction covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to make patients jump through multiple hoops to cover these surgeries. If the insurance company considers the breast reduction to be “cosmetic” it will not be covered.
But if the patient can prove an adequate number of health issues and attempted treatments for issues such as back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other problems caused by overly large breasts, the insurance company may cover the surgery. Insurance companies frequently require 2-3 documented reports from other referred specialists before they will consider covering the procedure. They will usually require 6-12 months of documented treatments by a physical therapist, chiropractor, dermatologist (in cases of skin issues due to rubbing), or an orthopedist.
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