A breast reduction is an operation designed to reduce the size of a breast and raise the nipples to a more normal level. Usually both breasts are reduced but sometimes a small reduction is required on one side only to make both sides more equal in size and shape.
A breast reduction can be performed for both physical and psychological symptoms associated with large breasts. The procedure takes around two to three hours and involves a hospital stay of around one night. Most women who undergo the procedure are delighted with their results, though there is a recovery time of a few weeks associated with the procedure.
Risks of Breast Reduction
The vast majority of women are delighted with the final results of their surgery. Sometimes the healing process can be delayed for a few weeks because of complications (the commonest of which are related to bruising, swelling and wound healing problems) but the overall satisfaction rate for breast reduction procedures remains high.
The risks of breast reduction include (but are not limited to) the following:
What You Need To Know About Mammograms
A mammogram is an X-ray which is taken to look for breast cancer. Although having a breast reduction doesn’t increase your risk of getting breast cancer it can make it harder to detect. You should know that a mammogram will be harder to interpret after a breast reduction.
When a mammogram is performed, the radiologists are looking for changes inside the breast such as abnormal scarring and if you have already had a breast reduction you may show some signs of these abnormal scarring. This may make it harder to detect an early breast cancer. When you are having a mammogram you should tell your radiographer that you have had a breast reduction (if they don’t already ask you).
Your breast tissue that is removed may also be sent to a lab for examination to look for breast cancer. It is very rare to see any breast cancer within the removed tissue, but you should be aware of what we do.
During the healing period, you may develop breast lumps which may be a sign of some of the fat inside the breasts undergoing necrosis. All breast lumps should be brought to the attention of your surgeon.
Since the operation is usually performed under general anaesthesia, there are also risks of a short general anaesthetic. Modern anaesthesia techniques are safer than ever before and it is very safe indeed to have a short anaesthetic, particularly when your anaesthetist is an experienced hospital consultant with an excellent safety track record. It also helps if you are as fit as possible, and you should stop smoking if you are smoker.