If you are unhappy with the size or shape of your breasts, you feel they are too big for your frame or they are causing you any pain or discomfort, you may wish to consider decreasing their size through a breast reduction, or mammoplasty.
What is a mammoplasty?
One of the most complex cosmetic surgical procedures, a mammoplasty reduces the size, shape, volume and weight of the breasts.
Due to the nature of the procedure, you also benefit from a breast uplift, as well as a reduction.
Is a mammoplasty right for me?
To be considered for a mammoplasty, your breasts must be fully developed. Usually you will only qualify for the procedure if you are aged over 18, however in some exceptionally severe cases this age limit may be reduced.
You may benefit from a mammoplasty if you suffer from:
- Shoulder and/or neck pain
- Skin irritation/rashes
- Infections under the breasts
- Grooves on your shoulders from your bra straps
- Psychological distress, such as low self-esteem or depression
- An inability to exercise or play sports
If you have very large breasts, the benefits of a breast reduction may outweigh any potential problems, but if you have moderately large breasts, the benefits may not be worth the risks.
What does the procedure involve?
Prior to the actual surgery, your surgeon will draw on your breasts with a marker pen, in order to ascertain how your reduced breasts will look. They may also take photographs of your breasts and measure them.
You should make sure you explain to your surgeon in as much detail as possible how you wish your breasts to look after the procedure, in terms of size. This will ensure you have a realistic expectation of the outcome.
During the surgery itself, any excess breast tissue, fat and skin are removed. The nipples are preserved on a stalk of breast tissue and repositioned by moving them higher on the breast.
How long does the procedure take?
A mammoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia and typically takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the individual’s requirements.
You will need to stay in hospital overnight following after your surgery.
After the surgical procedure is complete, surgical tapes and a light dressing are applied over any stitches. All stitches dissolve and will not need to be removed. You will need to wear a firm sports bra for support after your surgery.
You will not be able to drive after your surgery so you will need someone to take you home. Whilst each individual varies, you should expect to take at least one week off work after surgery, plus at least a one month break from physical activity such as sport and exercise.
Post surgery considerations
- You will have some scarring after a mammoplasty. The main scar is situated around the nipple and extends vertically downwards to the crease under your breast, with a small horizontal scar within the breast crease
- A significant reduction in size can also alter the shape and look of your breasts
- You may experience a loss of nipple sensation, or an altered sensation
- If you put on or lose weight after a mammoplasty, your breasts could increase or decrease in size
- Your breasts are likely to increase in size during pregnancy and you may not be able to breastfeed after surgery
- Your breasts may droop as you age
Is mammoplasty only suitable for women?
While mammoplasty refers solely to the reduction of female breasts, men can also choose to undergo a breast reduction, known as gynaecomastia. This surgical procedure treats enlargement of the glandular component and excessive fatty tissue that cannot be removed through diet and exercise. Watch our video to learn more about gynaecomastia.