Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure employed to remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts. It is indicated to reduce the size and volume of large, heavy and drooping breasts.
- Many approaches are used. Two techniques commonly used to treat moderate to large breasts include:
- Vertical scar: This is a breast reduction procedure where your surgeon makes an incision around your areola and vertically down to the crease, in the shape of a lollipop. This is indicated in those who require only moderate reduction in size. It results in less scarring than the traditional technique (that requires an additional incision along the breast crease) and fewer complications. However, the technique may not be suitable for larger breasts as it does not allow removal of large amounts of tissue and skin, and may leave a small fold of skin at the bottom of the vertical scar.
- Benelli technique: For this surgery, your doctor makes an incision around the outer margin of the areola and another incision in the breast skin surrounding the first incision. The second incision may be symmetrical to the first or wider on top to allow more skin to be removed from the upper breast. The advantage of the Benelli technique is that it results in minor scarring.
Once the type of technique is decided on, your surgeon will mark the incision lines and other relevant measurements on your breasts. When you lie down, the landmarks change as the breast assumes a different shape to what is observed when you are standing. The diagram demonstrates the "landmarks" your surgeon will use to achieve the result. Your surgeon measures the height of the nipple and estimates the volume of breast to be removed.
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The incision is made and excess breast tissue is removed from the inner and outer areas of the breast. Skin edges will be approximated after the excess breast tissue is removed and the nipple is elevated into a new position.
At the end of the operation, a firm dressing or brassiere is placed around your chest. Drainage tubes may be placed to drain any blood that may accumulate, and are removed within 2-3 days of the surgery.
As with any surgery, breast reduction may involve certain risks and potential complications such as infection, scarring, breast asymmetry, temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts, inability to breastfeed, hematoma (bleeding inside the breast tissue) and poor wound healing.
Your surgeon will help you decide on the right technique that will give you the best results for your specific condition.