9 things you need to know about breast reduction surgery
For a lot of women, breast reduction surgery completely changes their life for the better. And if your breasts are causing you any kind of pain, stress, or discomfort it could be an option.
Alongside health benefits, it can also make you feel more comfortable and confident in your body. There are, however, a few things to bear in mind.
Duration of results
Back to work
Full recovery time
4 to 6 weeks
22,500 SAR to 33,700 SAR
2 to 4 hours
1. Consultation is key
If you’re considering a breast reduction, talk with a clinician first to discuss your reasons for wanting surgery and your desired outcomes.
If you choose to go ahead with the procedure, your consultant will usually take some photographs and measurements of your current breast size. They’ll then talk you through what you can expect from the surgery – and any aftercare.
This will include discussing every element of the procedure, any potential side-effects, such as the loss of nipple sensation, and other options, such as a breast lift.
Be prepared to take your time with this decision. A good surgeon will encourage you to take a few weeks after your consultation before you finally decide to have breast reduction surgery.
2. It’s an investment
Breast reduction surgery can cost between 22,500 SAR and 33,700 SAR.
The final price will depend on several factors:
- Technique and individual requirements – some people want as much breast tissue removed as possible, while others just want a size that better reflects their build.
- Surgeon – experience and success rates often come with a higher fee. Always go with an approved, qualified, and quality clinician.
- Aftercare – where you stay after the procedure, plus any follow-up appointments and possible complications, should be considered.
3. You won't feel a thing during surgery - but it takes some time to recover
When the times comes, you’ll be under general anaesthetic. Typically, the breast reduction procedure takes around two to four hours, sometimes more if the surgeon comes across any complications.
It’s going to be a little uncomfortable when you wake up and your breasts will likely feel tender and sore – often with swelling and bruising. However, most patients agree the pain is manageable with over-the counter-pain relief. If you’re experiencing severe pain, be sure to speak to your doctor.
Four to six weeks is typical for recovery time from surgery, and for the swelling and bruising to go down. During this time, you will be limited by what you can do, including exercising and driving. Most surgeons suggest taking at least a week off work, possibly more depending on the type of job you have.
4. Pack an overnight bag
It’s common to stay in hospital or at the facility overnight to allow your body to rest and heal after a breast reduction.
At this point, your breasts will be wrapped in dressings, and you may have tubes to help drain any excess fluid.
These tubes will be removed before you go home, but you’ll most likely need to keep the dressing on for a little while longer.
5. Invest in specialist bras
There are loads of great underwear options specifically for post-surgery, but usually a sports bra will do. Just make sure you avoid anything with an underwire.
Underwired bras will rub against your fresh stitches and can be painful to wear. Sports bras are a supportive and comfortable alternative in the initial few weeks after your surgery.
Buy a few as you’ll be advised to always wear one for several weeks after the surgery.
This is to help your breasts heal – and minimise any discomfort you may feel.
Choose a bra with a front opening. This will make it easier to change your dressing without having to stretch round to your back.
6. There will be some scarring
All breast reduction surgeries leave scarring. This is because your surgeon will have to make an entry through your skin to get to the breast tissue.
Where these scars sit will depend on the type of surgery you have. However, you will typically have one of the below type scars:
- Doughnut incision: involves cutting around the areola and removing a small amount of excess skin.
- Lollipop incision: leaves a scar around the areola and a second scar that goes straight down from the base of the areola.
- The wise pattern: has the same two incisions as the lollipop and an additional scar that runs along the underside, or crease, of the breast, creating a scar that resembles an anchor, although this is becoming less popular as techniques advance.
These will typically fade over time and shouldn’t be noticeable in either underwear or when you wear a bikini. If you are concerned about scar tissue, however, there are additional treatments you can consider. You can also massage your scars daily with Bio Oil, silicone gel and take zinc supplements which can all help to fade scarring. Fractional laser treatment may also be an effective option for reducing the appearance of scar tissue.
7. Timing is everything
If you’re under 18, and your body is still developing, a surgeon may advise you to wait until you have stopped growing. They will also take into consideration whether you are planning on having children, as your breasts will grow with pregnancy.
There is also a small risk of not being able to breast feed after having breast reduction surgery. Speak to your surgeon about your plans. Although they will not be able to guarantee it, they can ensure the technique they use preserves as many milk-producing ducts as possible.
Surgeons also tend not to operate on someone who is planning on losing weight as you can become very unhappy with the results if you lose weight after surgery (and lose even more breast fat). Therefore, its best to be within five to ten pounds of your goal weight before having a reduction.
8. Be flexible with your expectations
While most breast reduction procedures are highly successful, the results may not always meet your expectations.
Cup size is less important than making sure your breasts are symmetrical, balanced and compliment your figure.
9. Men can have it too
Breast reduction surgery isn’t limited by gender, and men can choose to have the procedure if they have enlarged breasts too. This could be due to a significant shift in weight, or from a condition known as gynaecomastia (where an imbalance of testosterone and oestrogen causes men to develop breast tissue).
This surgery can be a life enhancing procedure. But it’s not for everyone.
Take time to consider the facts, and make sure the decision is yours alone – you should never feel pressured to undergo cosmetic surgery.
If you’re interested in learning more about breast reduction, book a consultation or find a clinic near you.
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