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Breast Reduction Surgery

What is it?

Whilst it might seem hard to believe for those of us who are less than well endowed, big breasts can be a nightmare. Quite apart from the obvious issues with finding bras to fit and clothes to flatter, a bigger than- average bust can cause all sorts of physical problems, most commonly severe back, shoulder and neck pain. Breast reduction surgery can provide a solution to these problems, by removing some of the excess breast tissue and bringing your breasts down to a more manageable size. Those who elect to have this surgery for cosmetic reasons find that it provides them with breasts of a more youthful size and shape.

Who’s suitable?

Because the size of your breasts can fluctuate with your weight, it is important to be at a stable weight in order to be considered for surgery, and if you plan to have children you might want to postpone surgery until your family is complete. A thorough consultation will include a medical examination to ensure you are fit for surgery and have no pre-existing conditions which might pose a problem.

What’s the treatment like?

Breast reduction surgery tends to be performed using a general anaesthetic, so you will be out for the count during the two to four hours the operation takes to complete. There are several different techniques, but the most common is as follows. The surgeon will make a cut around the nipple, down to the bottom of the breast and then along the crease underneath. Excess breast tissue will be removed and your nipples will be moved into their new position before the skin is re-draped (and any extraneous tissue discarded) and the cuts are closed up with stitches.

What happens afterwards?

You will need to give yourself time to recover from the general anaesthetic and will usually be kept in hospital for at least 24 hours. You should wear a support bra for several weeks post-surgery, as this will stop the weight of your breasts from pulling on the wound and slowing down the healing process. You should be able to return to work after one to two weeks, but should avoid any vigorous exercise for at least six weeks.

Will I have a scar?

The scar from the method of breast reduction surgery described above is known as a ‘lollipop scar’ because of the shape it forms around the nipple and down the centre of your breast. There might also be a scar in the breast crease, but this is easily hidden. The scars will fade over time, however, and as the reasons for breast reduction surgery are more often medical than aesthetic most people think it’s a good trade-in for the original problem.

Male Breast Reduction

What is it?

Maybe it’s to do with the amount of media coverage the problem has been getting, but the number of men seeking treatment for their ‘moobs’ has been steadily rising over the last couple of years. The problem of man boobs, officially known as gynaecomastia, can be divided into two basic types – ‘true gynaecomastia’, where the breast like appearance is caused by an excess of glandular tissue, often caused by over-exposure to certain hormones, and ‘pseudogynaecomastia’, which is due to fatty tissue and can be treated using Liposuction. Male breast reduction surgery aims to leave men with a flatter, more masculine chest contour.

Who is suitable?

You first need to assess whether yours is ‘pseudo-‘ or ‘true’ gynaecomastia and a surgeon should be able to identify this for you at consultation. If your problem is true gynaecomastia, this is a complex surgical procedure, so all the normal rules apply.

What’s the treatment like?

In order to minimise scarring and produce the best cosmetic effect, the incision is usually made in the lower half of the areola. The excess glandular tissue is then excised through this very small keyhole excision. Sometimes this may need to be combined with liposuction – either at the time of surgery or later – and, in very extreme cases, where a full breast has formed, further incisions may need to be made, or you may even have to undergo a full mastectomy.

What about afterwards?

There will be some swelling and discomfort in the chest area and if your surgery was performed using a general anaesthetic you will need to give yourself time to allow the effects to wear off. You can usually return to work and other everyday activities after about a week, although strenuous activities and vigorous exercise should be avoided for at least six weeks.

Will I have a scar?

Although there will be a small scar, as this is sited in the areola it is not very noticeable.