Important Information You Should Know About Breast Reduction

A breast reduction is a surgery that involves reshaping the size of the breast to a smaller size. Some patients may choose to have the procedure for cosmetic reasons. Others decide to have it upon their doctor's recommendation if the large breasts are causing neck pain, back pain, or other health issues. If you're considering getting a breast reduction, it's helpful to know a few facts before making your decision. Here's some important information you should know about breast reduction surgery.

  1. Breast reduction is different from a breast lift.

While both of these procedures involve surgical work on the breasts, they're very different in the kind of work done. Breast reduction involves removing excess glandular breast tissue and fat along the skin. As a result of the removal, it causes the overall size of the breasts to be smaller. In contrast, a breast lift only removes excess skin to reshape and raise sagging breasts. The reason breast reduction is often confused with a breast lift is that doctors generally perform the procedure during a reduction surgery.

  1. Your insurance may have preconditions.

It’s necessary to review your insurance policy before you consult with a surgeon about breast reduction. Insurance companies generally have preconditions that have to be met before you can be covered for the surgery. One of those preconditions that might be required is trying nonsurgical treatments first. There also might be a length of time your insurance company will require you to try the other treatments. If they approve your breast reduction, your policy may specify the minimum amount of breast tissue your surgeon has to remove.

  1. Drains may be placed in your breasts.

Drains will likely be a part of your recovery after your breast reduction. They're thin tubes that sit under the skin and empty into a collection bag. They assist in removing blood and fluid from the area. The blood and fluid being removed can decrease the amount of discomfort and swelling you experience while healing. The drains are usually removed around a week after surgery. You can ask your surgeon if they'll be using drains as a part of your procedure.

  1. The first few days after surgery can be difficult.

You'll experience most of the discomfort in the first few days after your surgery. It's not uncommon to feel soreness and pain for several days. Your surgeon will likely provide you with pain medication to help you get through this period. Other side effects you may notice after your breast reduction include nipple numbness, stiffness, loss of nipple sensation, and itching around your incisions. You can ask your doctor about any lotions or creams you can apply on the incisions to prevent you from scratching the area. It will take a few months before the sensation in your nipples returns.

  1. Your breasts will look discolored initially.

After your breast reduction surgery, they won’t look as they did before your surgery initially. There might be some significant discoloration as well as bruising. In addition, you’ll have stitches on your breasts. Depending on which technique your surgeon used, they may go down the front of your breast and around your nipple. As mentioned earlier, your breasts will also be swollen and might look unnatural to you. The bruising should disappear within ten days. The swelling will gradually decrease after a few weeks, and your breasts will be looking more natural again.

  1. You'll have to sleep on your back.

You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for a few weeks until your surgeon approves of it. Instead, you’ll have to lie on your back as much as possible during your recovery. If you’re not used to sleeping in this position, it can help to position some pillows under your knees and along your sides. Putting pillows in these positions will help to limit you from rolling on to your stomach. Your doctor may also recommend using a wedge, recliner, or pillows to prop up your body while you recover. When your body is elevated, it can decrease swelling and discomfort. You should be prepared to have someone help you around the house while you rest and recover.

  1. Walking will be important.

While physical activity will probably not be top of mind after your surgery, your surgeon will encourage you to walk more after a few weeks. It will help to prevent blood clots from forming during your time of rest and recovery. You won't be able to do any strenuous activity until about three to four weeks after your breast reduction. Your doctor might allow you to do workouts again after about six to ten weeks.

  1. You won't see the final results for a while.

As you recover, the appearance and size of your breasts will be continually changing. Swelling may not resolve completely until several months have passed. The scars on your breasts will also be continually changing throughout your recovery. They'll gradually change from red marks to softer pale marks. While you may be eager to buy new bras and clothes, it's best to wait until your doctor tells you that you've made a full recovery. While you might have a cup size that you hope to be at, your plastic surgeon can't guarantee what size you'll have after your surgery.

In general, though, patients tend to go down at least one or two cup sizes. When patients fully recover from breast reduction surgery, they usually feel less pain in their neck, shoulders, and upper back. Patients may also notice an increased ability to perform physical activities and potentially have a more positive view of their self-image from being able to wear the clothes they want. Be aware that if you plan to have children after the surgery, it can reverse some of the results gained from the surgery. Your surgeon will be able to outline the pros and cons of having your breast reduction now or waiting until you’ve finished having kids.

With any surgery, it's essential to be informed to make a responsible decision. Be sure to research and get all of your questions answered before choosing to undergo breast reduction. You can learn more about breast reduction surgery at Lexington PS.

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