How is this procedure done?

Your surgeon will make the first incision around the dark pigmented area around the nipple (areola) so that it can be repositioned to a higher location. The nipple itself is not removed, however. Then, a second incision is made horizontally in the crease line under the breast. The third incision will go vertically from the nipple to the crease line. Excess fatty tissue will be removed and skin will be trimmed away to reduce, tighten, and reshape the breasts. Finally, the incisions are closed with small stitches (sutures). Bandages are applied to the breasts and you will be placed in a surgical bra for support.

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How do I prepare for my breast reduction?

During your initial preoperative visit with your surgeon, be prepared to give a complete medical history including all your medications, allergies and previous surgeries. You will undergo a through physical examination and blood tests. If you are over age 50, an electrocardiogram may be taken. If you are over age 35, a mammogram may be prescribed. Photographs, which do not include your face, are important aids in planning and performing your breast reduction. They become a permanent part of your patient record and are taken before and several months after your procedure.

During your consultation, you will be given specific directions to help you prepare for your procedure. Instructions generally include taking vitamins, cautions about taking certain medication and drinking alcohol, the shaving process and use of antibacterial soap. You must not eat or drink anything eight hours before your procedure. Do not smoke ten days prior to and two days after surgery. If you take daily medication, ask your surgeon if it is safe to take before your procedure. If you have any sores on your body, if you have a cold, sore throat or allergic condition, inform your surgeon so you may be examined prior to your procedure.

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How long does the procedure take?

Operating time is generally about two hours.

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What form of anesthesia is used?

You will require general anesthesia, given by an expert anesthesiologist M.D. (medical doctor). This will allow you to "sleep" throughout the entire procedure.

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Can I return home the same day?

Generally breast reduction is done on an ambulatory basis but in some cases may require an overnight stay. However, it is necessary that you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

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What precautions should I take during my recovery?

It is important to wear your surgical bra (except when showering) for seven to ten days after your procedure. At approximately the fifth postoperative day, your bandages will be removed. Your surgeons may recommend a particular style of bra be worn for the two to three weeks following the wearing of the surgical bra. Generally, you should go braless only on special occasions. Your stitches will be removed in stages during the second week after your procedure. It takes six-eight weeks after your procedure for your breasts to obtain their final shape. At first, they may be somewhat bruised and swollen; but gradually the swelling will decrease and your supportive bra will help shape the breasts. Additionally, you will receive specific instructions to follow during your recovery including rest and sleeping positions, bathing and showering techniques, and caring for your incision area.

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How long before I can return to normal activity?

Most women return to their usual activities in one week. However, you must not lift anything for the first two weeks and do no heavy lifting for the first four weeks. Avoid raising your arms above your head for at least two weeks.

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What are some of the complications that can occur with breast reduction?

The scars in breast reduction procedures are placed in natural skin demarcation lines around the areola, down the breast, and across the bottom of the breast. In most women, the scars from the incisions will be pink for about six months and gradually fade thereafter. The scars are rarely troublesome. Nevertheless, you should know that all scars are permanent and their height, width and final color are not totally predictable.

As with any surgical procedure, small nerves to the skin are interrupted during surgery. Portions of the nipple area may feel numb or have less than full feeling. Sensitivity returns over several weeks, but some diminished feeling may last indefinitely. This does not usually interfere with erotic sensation and many women even report an increased erotic sensitivity with their new breasts.

If you sunbathe, or utilize a tanning bed, you must not do so until any numbness of the breast is gone (to avoid burning). After this point, you must protect the incision site with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more for at least six months.

No procedure is without risks; however, the majority of complications known to be associated with breast reduction are minor when an experienced surgeon performs the procedure. As with any procedure, bleeding, infection, delayed healing, excessive scarring and other problems can occur. Nonetheless, it is important to enter into your procedure aware not only of the benefits, but also of the possible complications. Talk to your surgeon about every question and concern you may have.

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What can I expect immediately after my procedure as well as later on?

When you "awaken" after your procedure, you will experience some discomfort for a few hours when the anesthesia wears off. Your surgeon will give you medication to relieve any distress. Most women require very little pain medication after the first 24 hours.

Please note that the loss of elasticity that caused the original sagging of the breast can recur. Occasionally women lose part of their improvement over variable periods of time. Rarely, a woman will request another procedure to reduce the breasts again; or perhaps request a breast lift to correct undue sagging. The vast majorities of women maintain their results and do not require any other procedures.

Most women report that the results from breast reduction are so favorable that concern about scars is minimal. Your breasts may not attain their final shape for up to ten weeks. Be sure to address any questions or concerns to your surgeon immediately. Your health and happiness are the most important considerations any time.

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