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Breast Reduction (Mammoplasty)

What Is Breast Reduction?

Breast Reduction, also known as Reduction Mammoplasty is a surgical operation in which women can reduce the size of their bust through removing the glandular tissue, fat and skin from the breasts. The breasts are subsequently reshaped and the nipples repositioned to provide a natural look, improving results.

Although this is a procedure that is mostly undergone by females, a similar technique may also be used to help men who are affected by a condition called gynecomastia. One in three men suffer from gynecomastia, which is most often caused by a subtle imbalance of hormone metabolism and can cause psychological distress and embarrassment for the sufferer.

Why Have A Breast Reduction?

Large breasts can put an enormous amount of pressure on a woman's body and can lead to such physical discomforts as:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Irritation around the breast and bra straps
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Problems caused by poor posture
  • Infections under the breasts

Breast Reduction can help relieve back pain.

On top of the physical pains and issues that can develop as a result of living with large breasts there are a number of psychological distress that can arise from:

  • Attracting unwanted attention
  • Being unable to comfortably wear clothes
  • Being harassed
  • Being unable to partake in a number of sports

What Are The Limitations To Breast Reduction Surgery?

The limitations to breast reduction surgery depend on the natural size and shape of the breasts. For example, women with very large breasts may not be so concerned about scarring if the benefits of the surgery outweigh the outcome. But for women whose breasts are only slightly larger than normal, it may be the case that a loss of nipple sensitivity, as well as a change in symmetry, would be too much of a compromise to consider. It's therefore extremely important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully with your surgeon.

The Cost Of A Breast Reduction

Breast reduction surgery costs vary depending on the country where it is taking place, as well as the clinic the patient has chosen to perform the procedure. In the UK patients can look to pay an average of around £4,000 to £6,000 depending on the clinic used.

If patients do not have the funds available to pay for the procedure in one lump sum there are many clinics across the UK that offer finance schemes with many providing 12 months 0% interest free credit, free follow-up consultations and various other tailored solutions to help their patients fund surgery. Certain clinics even offer services to help people with a poor credit rating however this will be subject to extra charges being added.

We recommend that before committing to surgery patients should always enquire if the prices offered by the clinic are for fixed packages and whether it includes all the hospital, consultant surgeon and anaesthetist's fees.

How Is A Reduction Mammoplasty Procedure Performed?

Breast reductions are almost performed when the patient is under general anaesthesia due to the invasive nature of the operation. Some of the most popular methods of breast reduction are:

Pedicle Method

The Pedicle method reduces breast volume and contour, while maintaining the function of the breast as well as nipple sensation. Pedicle method goes by several names including the following:

  • Anchor method
  • T-Scar
  • T-Incision
  • Inverted T pattern
  • Wise Method
  • Lollipop
  • Vertical
  • Lejour
  • Short scar
  • Circumareolar
  • Keyhole
  • Donut
  • Robertson

The Pedicle method is distinguished from the other methods by the way the blood and nerves are maintained from different areas of the breast. Inferior Pedicle maintains the blood and nerve supply from the bottom of the breast, therefore the nipple-areola sensation and milk production are preserved. A drawback of this technique being used to perform a breast reduction however is it sometimes results in "square" looking breasts.

Free Nipple Graft Method

This method is done by removing the nipple and grafting it in its new location as a skin graft.This procedure is done by completely removing the areola and nipple for relocation which is then replaced as a skin graft higher on the breast. This method has the drawback of the patient experiencing a complete loss of sensation from the areola area and eliminates the ability for lactation.

Liposuction Breast Reduction

This reduction technique is performed using only liposuction and is sometimes called the 'scarless breast reduction', although there are small incisions where the lipocannula is inserted. Normally this procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure under IV sedation, instead of the patient being general anaesthesia.

The Results And Possible Side-Effects Of Surgery

Breast reduction surgery gives the patient lighter, firmer and smaller breasts. Along with these physical changes and the removal of any previous pain or discomfort a patient can also enjoy the confidence it can instil as they are able to now play active sports and wear clothes without worrying about sizing issues or having them adjusted.

Patients should also consider the potential side-effects of such surgery as it can, in some cases, alter the lactiferous duct system thereby impairing the ability to lactate. Patients can also experience a loss of sensation around the nipples after surgery has been performed.

Will The Results Of Breast Reduction Last?

Changes in lifestyle could cause your breasts to become slightly larger or smaller. Factors such as a significant weight gain or loss could alter your size, and pregnancy will also cause your breasts to change, albeit temporarily.

Unless you can avoid these instances, the size of your breasts should remain constant; although it's important to note that gravity will play a part in how your breasts change as you get older. If breast sagging becomes an issue, you may wish to consider a simple breast lift procedure to counteract the effects.

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