Some women suffer from having developed very large breasts from an early age. Often this runs in the family but sometimes significant breast enlargement can also occur following pregnancies. Women with large breasts can suffer from a range of debilitating physical symptoms such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, a feeling of heaviness in the breasts, indentation marks on the skin of the shoulder region where bra straps have dug in, restriction in physical exercise, infections and rashes occurring under both breasts, as well as pschycosocial symptoms arising from an unnatural disproportion between breast size and the rest of the body habitus leading to low self esteem, embarrassment in relationships, difficulty finding clothes to fit, lack of confidence to play sport.
A breast reduction is an operation performed to reduce the size of one or both breasts. It is performed under a general anaesthetic and the operation takes 3-4 hours and requires a hospital stay of 2-3 days. There are different technical ways the operation can be carried out depending on a number of individual factors, and this determines the extent and location of the resultant scars on the breast. Broadly speaking, in all breast reduction operations, cuts are made on the under surface of the breast and excess skin and breast tissue is excised together with a reduction in the diameter of the areola (the pink/brown part of the nipple complex). The nipple is moved to a higher, more youthful position and the wounds are stitched with dissolving sutures, and covered with light dressings. The resultant scars are shaped like an inverted “T” shape and include a circular scar around the new nipple/areolar complex, a vertical scar passing from the nipple to underneath the breast, which joins a long curved scar passing in the breast fold. In some individuals, it is possible to perform the surgery without the scar in the breast fold, leaving only a circular scar around the nipple and a vertical scar.
This is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures and has high patient satisfaction and low complication rate.