There is far more awareness and acceptance of plastic surgery procedures today than in the past. When contemplating a particular procedure, however, there are always many questions to answer. And, we have found, a lot of unknowns about breast reduction surgery. While we are seeing more and more women pursuing breast reduction solutions, less is known about it compared to the more common breast implant or enlargement surgery. So here are 12 very honest questions and answers about breast reduction surgery.
1: Why Do Women Have Breast Reduction Surgery?
Many women pursue breast reduction out of medical necessity. Large breasts can cause tremendous strain on the neck and back, causing headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain. However, some women do it for the same reason some women pursue breast augmentation or breast lift surgery, or for the same reason men pursue male breast reduction or chin augmentation – they want to feel better and more comfortable about how they look. Not every woman likes the look of large breasts, and that’s alright! Breast reduction surgery helps give people the proportions they want.
2: But They Didn’t Look That Big to Me!
As we counsel all our patients – plastic surgery should always be a personal choice and never done for someone else. So the choice to have a breast reduction is an important choice for them. And at the end of the day, that is the most important aspect of the issue. Many women with large breasts go out of their way to minimise how large their breasts look. As a result, this contributes to the fact that, to their friends and colleagues, they didn’t necessarily look all that large. But at the end of the day, the emotional and physical comfort of the patient is the most important part of the plastic surgery decision process – not the opinions of those around them.
3: Do Women Regret Breast Reduction Surgery?
No! In fact, women undergoing breast reduction are the happiest patients in the plastic surgeons practice. Most of our patients express to us that they wish they had done it years ago and hadn’t waited so long to have the procedure done. Their new found freedom to buy clothing, to move and exercise freely, and to be free of the pain associated with their heavy breasts is an incredibly freeing. We continually hear that breast reduction surgery was the best decision our patients have made in their lives.
4: What Is Recovery Like After Breast Reduction Surgery?
There is surprisingly little pain following breast reduction surgery. Some Pain and swelling is to be expected, but most of Dr Drielsma’s patients are pleasantly surprised how little there is. Usually return to work in around 2 weeks is possible. In some patients, especially with the “lollipop” technique, some minor wound healing delay may occur under the breast but this would only require simple pad dressings till healing completes and this does not prevent work or normal activity.
5: What Happens to Your Nipples during Breast Reduction Surgery?
During breast reduction surgery it is necessary to perform a breast lift as well in order to appropriately reposition the nipples and breasts to their correct height.
Stretching of the areola may also have occurred so your surgeon may need to make your nipples smaller as well as repositioning them.
6: What Does Their Partner Think of Breast Reduction Surgery?
Once again, we always counsel patients to have surgery for themselves and not for anyone else – and that includes their partners. You should never get any kind of plastic surgery to please anyone but yourself. Women who need breast reduction surgery for medical reasons are often suffering chronic pains, the relief of which is far more important than the opinions of anyone but themselves. If a woman is happy with the results of her surgery and feels healthier and more confident, then that should be all that matters – and a good partner would agree.
7: How Do People Sleep After Breast Reduction Surgery?
One of the most important parts of recovery is getting a good night sleep – which can be hard if your normal sleeping position is sleeping on your front. You definitely don’t want to do this in the early stages of your recovery. Swelling is common with the procedure and can last for several months. The position you sleep and sit in can play a large part in keeping the swelling down. Trying to keep your chest as elevated as possible is ideal. Rather than sleeping straight on your back to sleep, you can use pillows or a foam wedge to elevate yourself. Some women even build themselves a “nest” of pillows so they don’t roll over. Even when sitting, try to stay upright, rather than slouching.
8: What Kind of Bra Do I Need for Breast Reduction Recovery?
Having the right kind of bra to wear is essential after your bandages and special compression garments are removed. Dr Drielsma, as do many plastic surgeons, partner with specialised manufacturers to produce bras specifically for breast surgery recovery. Other women have found success buying compression sports bras and wearing them inside out so the seams to press on their incisions. A wireless, supportive bra will help keep your breasts in the right position while reducing swelling and bruising. It is a good idea, in the first few weeks, to wear this garment even when you go to bed. Try to stay away from underwire bras until your surgeon gives you the all clear otherwise you risk irritating your incisions.
9: How Painful is Breast Reduction Recovery?
Some Pain and discomfort is going to occur after surgery but as discussed previously, most patients in Dr Drielsma’s practice are pleasantly surprised how little pain there was following their breast reduction.
You can help yourself handle your pain by discussing pain relief options with your plastic surgeon and anaesthetist. Some patients find that over-the-counter pain relief options are plenty enough to handle their pain. However, make sure you always discuss all medications with them before trying something new, to ensure they won’t impede the healing process.
10: Is There a Special Diet I Need to Have After Breast Reduction?
Consider your recovery period a great chance to get your diet back on track. Eating healthy, unprocessed foods and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to fast-track the healing process. Healthy, happy body is going to heal more efficiently than an unhappy body. This isn’t the time for complicated diets but it is definitely not the time for bingeing on junk food and high amounts of salt and sugar. Eat smart, avoid alcohol and keep hydrated – you’ll soon reap the benefits.
11: How Do I Shower After Breast Reduction Surgery?
Washing yourself can be a challenge after surgery. It is not recommended that you soak your incisions so baths are out of the question after breast surgery, unless you stick to hip and sponge baths. Quick showers are a better option, allowing you to keep your dressings as dry as possible. It is best to discuss this with your surgeon. However, you may need help washing your hair, as raising your arms up high enough to do so might not be possible – or recommended – after surgery. If you do not have a friend or family member to help you, many women have found it is helpful to book in with their hairstylist to have their hair washed until they are able to do it themselves.
12: When Can I Exercise After Breast Reduction?
It might be tempting to get active as soon as possible after your breast reduction – after all, you probably have a lot of freedom of movement now than you did before. However, it is best to keep physical activity to a minimum during the first six weeks after your procedure. Short walks are often alright after the first few days but keep more intense exercise for later – on the advice of your surgeon. In most cases, you should be able to get back to work – if you work in a low impact environment like an office – within one or two weeks.