Why Reduction Surgery May Be Your New Breast Friend

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Why Reduction Surgery May Be Your New Breast Friend featured image
Getty Images / Laurent Hamels

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing—just ask anyone with overly voluptuous breasts. While smaller cupped ladies may wonder how anyone could complain about being busty, what they don’t understand is the discomfort that can come along with having an ample chest. Pain in chest, neck and back are just a few of the downsides. If that sounds like you or you’ve always wished that you had smaller breasts, you may want to consider breast reduction surgery. Read on to hear from New York plastic surgeon Daniel Maman, MD about the benefits of the procedure and why it may be the solution that you’re looking for.

NewBeauty: What are latest advancements in breast reduction surgery?
Dr. Maman: A modern breast reduction takes into account aesthetic outcome as much as symptomatic relief from back pain, neck pain and chest discomfort. In my practice, I approach every breast reduction as I would a purely cosmetic breast operation. I want the breasts to not only feel better for the patient, but also to look better. One important advancement in the field of breast reduction surgery is the use of liposuction for precision contouring, as a challenging aspect of the procedure is how to reduce overall tissue while still retaining volume in the upper pole of the breast. The use of liposuction allows me to target areas without addressing others, resulting in a more refined overall technique.

NewBeauty: What does the procedure entail?
Dr. Maman: On average, breast reduction surgery takes three hours under general anesthesia. A series of incisions are hidden around the nipple, along the meridian of the breast and occasionally underneath the breast fold, allowing access to remove portions of the skin and underlying tissue. In some cases, liposuction is used as an adjunct to enhance the customized result.

NewBeauty: Who is a good candidate for a breast reduction? Can you tell us a little bit more about what the consultation process like?
Dr. Maman: Anyone who struggles with the limitations their current breast proportion places on them could be a candidate for breast reduction surgery. Other common issues beyond the pain and discomfort I’ve mentioned before include rashes below the breast, inability to find appropriately fitting clothes due to breast disproportion relative to her body, shoulder bra-strap grooving, and neck-muscle hypertrophy.

Additionally, and very importantly, many of my patients seek breast reduction purely because of an aesthetic preference for smaller breasts. Many women today specifically request a more petite, athletic look. The spectrum for breast reduction surgery stretches from a very small volume reduction with a primary objective of breast lifting, to massive reductions referred to as gigantomastia. During the consultation process, a review of your medical history and physical examination will be performed. After making my recommendations, I will walk you through the surgical process from beginning to end. My surgical coordinator will then review appropriate financial and scheduling options, should you decide to proceed with surgery.

NewBeauty: What are the surgery’s benefits?
Dr. Maman: Breast reduction surgery has an extremely high rate of patient satisfaction, both anecdotally and in the plastic surgery literature over the last fifty years. Patients feel almost instantaneous improvements in back, shoulder, and neck pain and chest discomfort and bra crease rashes can immediately resolve. Aesthetically speaking, patients are thrilled with smaller, more aesthetically pleasing breasts that are typically perkier, higher positioned on the chest, fuller in the upper pole with more cleavage, and have a more aesthetically ideal or petite nipple areolar size. Activities of daily living are also markedly improved, including ease of exercise, mobility, comfort sleeping, and better fitting bras and clothing. And very importantly, confidence can be dramatically improved in women who were previously self-conscious about their breast size.

NewBeauty: How long is the typical recovery? Are there any risks to getting a breast reduction?
Dr. Maman: Most patients find recovery from breast reduction surgery to be much easier than anticipated. In fact, many patients express regret for not having done it sooner had they known what the process would be like. A patient can typically begin working on a laptop from home on day one after surgery and return to office work at one week. Light workouts can be resumed after two weeks while full exercise without restriction is permitted after four weeks. Typically, we need to remind patients to limit their activity as they feel pretty much back to normal by two to three weeks. During this time, we provide custom bras and provide all our patients with a tailored silicone-based scar therapy that will help ensure an optimal aesthetic outcome.

Every surgery has risks, most commonly bleeding and infection. Specifically, with breast reductions, we are concerned for nipple and areolar blood supply, preservation of sensation to the nipple, and incisional healing given the weight of the breast contributing to tension on the incisions. With appropriate patient selection and assessment of any pre-existing medical conditions, specific risk profiles are discussed with each patient. My tolerance for risk in terms of patient safety in the setting of elective surgery is close to zero. If I do not believe I can safely perform or recommend the surgery as I would on my own family member, I simply will not do it.

NewBeauty: Is there anything else readers should know if they are considering a breast reduction? 
Dr. Maman: Because breast reduction surgery is very common, almost every plastic surgeon does it. However, the key to finding the right surgeon is reviewing the surgeon’s credentials, looking at their before and after gallery, making sure they perform a high volume of breast reductions, and more importantly, to confirm that you like the aesthetic of their results. It is crucial to know that every surgeon’s approach and technique differs. That’s why the more pictures you look at, the better sense you get of the surgeon’s preference for nipple positioning, nipple size, breast shape, and breast size relative to body proportions.

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