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Breast Reduction FAQ

 

Frequently asked questions about Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)

What is a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

What are the indications for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Is the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) permanent?

How does the process work to get a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

What types of anesthesia are used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

How is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) different from breast lift (mastopexy)?

What type of incisions is used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Can breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) be combined with other procedures?

What is the recovery period for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Is the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) procedure painful in the recovery period?

Can I get a mammogram after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasy)?

Should I get a mammogram before my breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

What is a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the breast and also changes the shape and position of the breast mound to more approximate the youthful appearance. Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is achieved by removing excess breast tissue and rearranging the internal architecture of the breast and tightening the skin of the breast. The techniques used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) have improved over the years, and the new surgical techniques have resulted in improved long term results and improved appearance of the breasts.

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What are the indications for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

The primary indication for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is excessive size of the breast. Secondary indications are breast sagging (ptosis) and misshapen (bad shaped) breasts. Excessive growth of the breast can occur in adolescence, or can occur in adulthood with weight gain. The key concept to understand is the importance of the proportion of the breast size to the size of the body. The proportionate size of breast will be different for the patient that is 6′ 2” compared to the patient that is 5′ 0”. Other factors are also important in the concept of proportion, including weight, shoulder width, muscle mass, and personal preference. Large breasts frequently have sagging (ptosis) and this is also corrected at the time of breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery. In some patients, there is a significant difference in the size of the breasts, and this can be improved with breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) so that the breasts match better. Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) can be considered an elective procedure, which means it is not medically necessary, or it can be considered medically necessary. This determination is made by the insurance company, and not the Plastic surgeon or the patient.

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Is the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) permanent?

Yes (usually). The breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is long lasting in the sense that the breast will (almost) always be better than they would have been without the surgery. There are certain medical conditions that can cause the breast to grow after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), but these conditions are not common. In addition, large weight gain after surgery can cause the breasts to enlarge.

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), like breast lift (mastopexy) does not prevent the aging process. After any surgery, including breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) or breast lift (mastopexy), the aging process continues. Because the aging process continues, if the breast sagging (ptosis) increases over the years, a patient may decide to get a breast lift (mastopexy) many years after the original surgery.

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How does the process work to get a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

Prior to getting a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), a consultation is completed with a Plastic surgeon. At the consultation, printed material on breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is reviewed by the patient, and questions are answered by Dr. Herring.

If the patient wishes to seek pre-authorization for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery from an insurance company, the information from their consultation and any other healthcare facilities is sent to them for possible approval. The approval process can take from weeks to months, and sometimes takes years. All insurance plans are different, so the criteria for approval for one company will be different from the next company.

If the insurance company does not approve the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) then some patients choose to self fund the procedure. In this circumstance, if possible, the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery is performed in the office setting which is much less expensive than the hospital setting. In this case, some patients choose to use a medical finance company to help with the expenses.

A surgery date is then scheduled. Before the surgery, a second appointment (preop) is completed which is another opportunity to ask questions about breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty).

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What types of anesthesia are used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

There are two different types of anesthesia that are commonly used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery. One technique for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) surgery is intravenous sedation is given by an anesthesia professional which is the supplemented by local anesthesia. After the intravenous sedation is given to the patient, local anesthesia (numbing medicine) is given in the area of surgery. When the patient wakes up after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), the area of surgery is still numb for several hours.

Another technique for used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is general anesthesia. With this technique, the patient is given a different protocol of anesthesia and usually has breathing controlled by the anesthesia professional.

The type of anesthesia used is somewhat dictated by the patients situation , and somewhat dictated by the patients preference.

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How is breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) different from breast lift (mastopexy)?

The breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is very similar to the breast lift (mastopexy) procedure. The two procedures have the same goal of lifting the breast, but the primary goal of the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is to reduce the size of the breast. In most breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) procedures, a larger amount of breast tissue is removed, and in most breast lift (mastopexy) procedures a smaller amount of tissue is removed.

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What type of incisions is used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

The incisions used for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) varies from patient to patient and surgeon to surgeon. Many techniques and incision designs for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) have been described and used. One common type of incision for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is made around the nipple areolar complex with a vertical scar underneath the nipple areolar complex. An additional incision is sometimes added to that design in the fold underneath the breast (inframammary fold). Because the skin cannot be tightened significantly without surgery, removal of some skin is usually required. The techniques and incision options will be described by Dr. Herring at the time of the consultation.

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Can breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) be combined with other procedures?

Yes. Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is commonly combined with other procedures. For example, the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) procedure can be combined with a tummy tuck (abdminoplasty). Many patients will get an additional procedure when they get breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty).

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What is the recovery period for breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

After breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) most patients can go back to work in one or two days as long as extreme physical exertion is not required. After about three weeks, most patients are able to resume full activity.

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Is the breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) procedure painful in the recovery period?

Most patients that get breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) have very little discomfort after surgery and take pain medicine for about two or three days. The discomfort from breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) usually does not prevent daily living activities the day after surgery.

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Can I get a mammogram after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasy)?

Yes. It is very important to follow your Primary care physician’s (Family Practice, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Internal Medicine) advice on getting mammograms. Your mammogram report should be sent back to your Primary care physician and kept in your medical record. About three months after breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), it is generally safe to get a mammogram.

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Should I get a mammogram before my breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)?

If your Primary care physician recommends a mammogram before surgery then one should be done. If you are at the mammogram age, and have not gotten one in your recommended schedule, then one can be obtained before a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty).

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