5 Common Myths About Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction has the highest satisfaction rate among cosmetic surgery procedures according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That is largely due to the fact that expectations almost perfectly mirror the results post-operation.

Patients with excessively large breasts often complain that their breasts are heavy or sagging; that they cause back pain, bra-strap grooving, decreased mobility; and make it harder to exercise. Women with large breasts are often dismayed by their sagging appearance, which causes a negative body image and can lead to lower self esteem.

Thankfully, reducing the size and weight of the breasts in these patients have consistently shown to increase a patient’s comfort and self confidence.

Find out what to expect after a breast reduction so that you’ll be adequately prepared if you decide to pursue one.

List of Complaints From Women Who Have Large Breasts

List of Complaints From Women Who Have Large Breasts

*Back and shoulder pain.
*Bra-strap grooving.
*Difficulty buying clothes
*Negative body image
*Physical and psychological discomfort with exercising.
*Uncomfortable and unwanted gawking and attention.
*Decreased ability to breastfeed because the baby is unable to latch properly.
*Decreased sensation as the sensory nerves begin to elongate.

Myth #1 Breast reduction scars are always scary

Surgical scars are an inevitable part of having any kind of surgery… but they don’t have to be scary.  One of the goals of plastic surgeon is to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Patients are typically fearful of the breast reduction scars, but the reality is that they are extremely satisfied and even dismissive of the scars after surgery.  Keep in mind that the satisfaction rate of breast reduction surgery is higher than after ANY other plastic surgery procedure. Most women are willing to trade some scarring for the relief of being free from back pain and confidence issues. This is accomplished by paying careful attention to suturing technique, hiding the scars where they are less visible, and careful attention to postoperative care. With the proper care, the surgical lines will fade from red to white over a year, and will eventually become barely noticeable. Additional techniques to hide surgical scars:
  • Precise incisions around the areola in order to hide the scar between the areola skin and normal skin
  • Placement of strong deep sutures that take the tension off of the surface scar
  • Use small epidermal sutures to precisely make the skin kiss
  • Biocorneum gel which daily for 2-3 months which includes vitamin E, silicone gel, and sunblock
  • Silicone sheeting at night for 2-4 months which compresses and protects the scar
a large breast is overlaid by an arrow pointing to where it should be corrected to go to while a small breast looks nice

Quick Facts about Breast Reduction Scars:

  • All scares take about 1 to 1.5 years to fade.
  • The areola scar blends in in the demarcation line between your areola and normal skin.
  • The vertical scar is hidden in the under-curve of the breast.
  • The horizontal scar is hidden in the normal breast crease.

Myth #2 Insurance will not cover breast reduction surgery

This is not true.   Insurance will often pay for breast reduction surgery. This is because they recognize that large breasts are heavy and can often lead to both physical and psychological problems. For example: heavy breasts can cause back and shoulder pain, lead to spinal curvature or shoulder grooving, or lead to chronic rashes and fungus in the breast fold. Affected women will also often have difficulty exercising leading to weight gain. Because of these potential health concerns, insurance companies often support a breast reduction surgery provided you meet certain criteria. Our office will help you through the process. 

Myth #3 You will not be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction

Did you know that 20% of women cannot naturally breastfeed?  The ability to breastfeed should not be affected by having a breast reduction. Likewise, sensation to the breasts should also not be affected.

Studies have found that 20 percent of women who have NOT had breast reduction surgery cannot naturally breastfeed. While there are many reasons why these women are unable to breastfeed, one of the most prominent is that infants of large-breasted women have frequently been found to be unable to latch onto the nipple because of the breast getting in the way. Over-stretching of the milk ducts is another potential concern for these women.

The number of women who cannot breastfeed after a breast reduction surgery is also 20 percent. As you probably noticed, this is the exact same statistic as for the normal population. This does not mean that breast reduction surgery was the determining factor of being unable to breastfeed for a minority of these women, but it does imply that that breast reduction surgery is not a significant factor.

Myth #4 You will lost nipple sensation after a breast reduction

Similarly, it is known that up to 10 percent of “unoperated” women with large breasts have poor or no nipple sensation. This finding has been attributed to the over-stretching of the sensory nerves as the breasts become longer and heavier. Statistically, only 1% of women lose nipple sensation after a breast reduction surgery.

Breast reduction should not affect nipple sensation. Nipple sensation comes from a nerve that runs directly from the side of the nipple at a right angle and then runs up toward the surface when it reaches a point directly under the nipple.  Most breast reduction techniques avoid this path as much as possible.

Myth #5 You should avoid exercise after a breast reduction

This myth could not be further from the truth.  The truth is that most large breasted women have a hard time with exercise.  Large breasts are heavy.  Large breasts bounce around a lot.  Large breasts draw a lot of unwanted attention at the gym… particularly if you are running or jumping.  The reality is that most women with large breasts have a difficult time wanting to exercise.

Breast reduction surgery frees you up from all of these negatives.  It allows women to get to the gym and become more healthy without all the unwanted attention.

We do, however, recommend to all of our patients to take things slowly for the first two weeks of postoperative care. We recommend light activity, such as slow walks and mild lower-body exercises. You can pick up the tempo a little between week three and week six, but you must avoid any jogging, running, jumping, or vigorous cardio until your doctor approves.

Conclusion

 Most women report much higher levels of satisfaction with their appearance after a breast reduction operation along with a significant decrease in back and chest pain. If you’re considering getting a breast reduction, think about what is really important to you. Does your job require you to always be on the move or involve physical activity? You may need to take significant time off of work or ask for different responsibilities. Are you committed to breastfeeding a child?

Once you know what’s important to you, talk to a doctor for help navigating your unique situation. Knowing what to expect is key to having a successful breast reduction surgery and recovery

FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers

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