Breast augmentation has long held the top spot numerically among cosmetic surgeries performed in the U.S.. However, the number of women seeking smaller breasts through breast reduction surgery has been increasing in recent years. According to the latest available data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS,) the number of aesthetic breast reduction surgeries performed in the U.S. between 2016 and 2017 increased by 11 percent, from 39,148 in 2016 to 43,635 in 2017.
Do note that this figure does not include the number of breast reduction surgeries performed for medical reasons. That is, breast reduction surgery to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by excessively large breasts, a condition known as “macromastia.” Whether for aesthetic reasons or to relieve macromastia-related symptoms; breast reduction surgeries “are consistently reported as one of the highest patient satisfaction procedures because it positively affects a woman’s quality of life,” according to former ASPS President Jeffrey E. Janis, MD.
Medical and Aesthetic Reasons for Breast Reduction
Women with disproportionately large breasts can suffer from a number of physical and painful symptoms that can make it difficult to perform some common physical activities and lead an active life. Macromastia can also affect a woman’s self-image to the point at which emotional distress can be as debilitating as the physical impacts. Among primary reasons women tend to seek out breast reduction surgery are:
- Chronic pain in the neck, back and shoulders
- Grooving of the bra straps on the shoulders
- Chronic rashes and other skin irritations under the breasts
- Nerve pain and symptoms that affect the arms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Limited activity due to both pain and self-image perceptions
- Difficulty fitting into bras and clothing
- Limited and short term relief with analgesics and other conservative therapies, such as massages
- Enhance their self-image through a better proportioned body
Breast Reduction Surgery at Gardner Plastic Surgery
Also known as “reduction mammoplasty,” breast reduction surgery at Gardner Plastic Surgery is performed under the skilled hands and aesthetic artistry of either Dr. Paul M. Gardner or Dr. Leo M. Baccaro. In advance of surgery, Dr. Gardner or Dr. Baccaro meet with their patient in a pre-operative consultation to discuss aesthetic goals and desired relief from any macromastia-related symptoms. Details about the procedure are also discussed at length, as are potential side effects, which can include scarring and loss of sensitivity. Depending upon the desired breast size and shape, the surgeon may recommend that the reduction surgery be combined with other procedures, such as liposuction. Prior to the surgery the patient may have to undergo various lab tests and get a baseline mammogram.
Specific techniques used during the surgery can vary, but the procedure begins with anesthesia to ensure patient comfort. In general, the surgery involves incisions around the areola and down each breast, though incision patterns are dependent upon the amount of excess tissue needing to be removed, position of the areola and nipple, and aesthetic goals. Excess skin and fat is surgically removed and the remaining breast tissue reshaped, which includes a repositioning, or “lift,” of the areola and nipple. The remaining skin is tightened and the incisions are closed with deep sutures within the tissue to help support the newly shaped breasts.
Following the surgery, patients are given specific instructions designed to help with their recovery. Typical post-operative measures include gauze dressing or bandages around the breasts, and pain medications and antibiotics as needed. During the first week or so patients should expect tenderness, swelling, and bruising, although commonly patients refer the pain is minor and well tolerated. Patients are generally urged to limit physical activity for two to four weeks after the surgery.
Discover More with a Consultation at Gardner Plastic Surgery
Gardner Plastic Surgery has a stellar record in performing successful breast reduction surgeries. Our surgeons have a keen eye for aesthetic contouring and the Gardner Plastic Surgery team has extensive combined experience in all breast-related cosmetic surgeries. If you would like to learn more about breast reduction surgery and discuss whether the procedure is the right option for you, Dr. Gardner or Dr. Baccaro would be happy to speak to you in a one-on-one consultation. Contact Gardner Plastic Surgery today at 239.566.2611 to schedule your initial consultation.