What is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces the overall size and volume of a woman’s breasts. Many women report that their breasts feel disproportionately large and heavy compared to the rest of their body. This can be due to genetics, previous pregnancies, or even a few extra pounds. Having larger breasts can lead to simple inconveniences like difficulty finding bras and shirts that fit properly to more serious conditions like neck pain, back pain, and shoulder problems. Women with large breasts often state that they have permanent grooves from their bra strap and get rashes and skin irritation underneath their breasts. If this sounds like you, then a breast reduction might be a good solution.
Breast reduction, also called a reduction mammoplasty, when performed for medical reasons, is meant to make a woman’s breasts more proportional and balanced with her overall figure. When done properly, breast reduction can enhance a patient’s health and aesthetics at the same time.
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Will Insurance Cover My Breast Reduction?
Each woman is different and every insurance company has different criteria to determine whether or not a breast reduction is medically necessary. However, insurance tends to cover the cost of the procedure for women who have the symptoms mentioned below.
The best way to know if your procedure will be covered is to have a consultation with Dr. DePerro. After he performs a detailed history and physical exam, photos will be taken. Your office notes and photos will be submitted to your insurance company. Within 7 to 10 days, the insurance company will inform you whether or not your breast reduction will be covered by insurance. Patients who are not approved for an insurance-based procedure still have the option to pay for their procedure through other financing options, such as CareCredit®.
Who Benefits from Breast Reduction?
Any woman who has breasts that are disproportionately large for her size or breasts that lead to other medical problems is a candidate for a breast reduction. Patients often state that they:
- Have difficulty finding bras
- Need to wear multiple bras
- Have breasts that interfere with their job or ability to exercise
- Have neck pain, back pain or shoulder pain
- Have shoulder grooves from their bra strap
- Get rashes underneath their breasts, especially in the summer
- Use medicated creams or powders
- Have tried physical therapy for neck pain
- Have seen a chiropractor for next/upper back pain
What are the Benefits of Breast Reduction?
Benefits from breast reduction vary, but commonly include:
- Relief from back, shoulder, and neck pain
- More proportioned size and shape
- Relief from skin irritations and rashes
- More restful sleep
- Dramatic improvement in daily activities
- Renewed vitality and ability to move more easily
- A boost in self-conscience and self-image
Breast reduction is an option for women who are:
- Physically healthy
- Have realistic expectations
- Are limited by their large breasts
- Experience pain in their back, neck, or shoulders due to excess weight from large breasts
- Have constant bra indentations on their shoulders
- Have skin irritations or rashes under their breasts
How is Breast Reduction Performed?
The two main types of breast reduction are performed through a vertical incision or an inverted “T” incision. In the vertical procedure, Dr. DePerro makes an incision around the nipple and down to the inframammary fold. This is often called a “lollipop” incision. In the inverted “T” procedure, Dr. DePerro makes the same incision as the vertical breast reduction but extends laterally and mediately to remove more breast tissue. Both incisions heal remarkably well and are nearly imperceptible after a few months. At your consultation, Dr. DePerro will tell you which procedure he recommends for you and why.
What Will My Surgery Day be Like?
Breast reduction is an outpatient procedure. This means after the surgery, you get to go home that same day and sleep in your own bed. On the morning of surgery, you will arrive at the surgery center approximately 1 to 2 hours before your procedure. A nurse will place an IV and a board-certified anesthesiologist will answer any questions you have about anesthesia. Dr. DePerro will make his preoperative marks and then you will go to the operating room. In the OR, you will be placed under general anesthesia and completely asleep during the entire procedure. The procedure takes a few hours and afterward, you will wake up in the recovery room with a light surgical dressing and surgical bra in place. Once your pain is controlled and you’re able to tolerate juice and crackers (usually about two hours after surgery), you will be ready to be discharged. The next day, someone from Dr. DePerro‘s office will call to check on you and schedule your postoperative appointment.
What is Breast Reduction Recovery Like?
After surgery, you will have pain medications to keep you very comfortable. You will go home a few hours after your surgery and will be able to shower in 48 hours. You’ll be encouraged to take it easy for a few days but you will still be able to take care of yourself and do non-strenuous activities around the house. You will follow up with Dr. DePerro approximately seven days after surgery and then see him at three weeks after surgery, six weeks, and 12 weeks. Most patients are able to return to work in 2 to 3 weeks.
Why Should I Choose Dr. DePerro for My Breast Reduction?
Dr. DePerro is a double board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience. He specializes mainly in body contouring and surgeries of the breast. He is considered an expert amongst his peers and serves on the Breast Second Opinion Clinic at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Patients with challenging breast conditions come from all over Ohio and the surrounding states to see Dr. DePerro.
Common Questions/Concerns about Breast Reduction
Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction?
Most women are able to breastfeed after a breast reduction. However, you may have decreased milk production and may need to supplement with formula.
Will I have nipple sensation after a breast reduction?
Yes, most women return to almost normal pre-operative nipple sensation within 6 to 12 months after their procedure.
Will I still need mammograms after a breast reduction?
Yes, you will need to follow all routine screening recommendations including breast self-exams and mammograms according to current guidelines after your breast reduction.
Are most patients happy after breast reduction?
Yes, breast reduction patients are usually our happiest patients. They love that most of their symptoms are improved, if not completely gone, and their breasts are perkier and more proportionate. The most common thing we hear is “I wish I would’ve had this done years ago.”
Breast Reduction Post Op Instructions:
-Ok to shower 48 hours after surgery.
-Leave all tapes and SteriStrips in place.
-Ok to change gauze pads (4×4’s) and ABD pads as they become soiled.
-You will likely have some mild oozing from the incisions for the first few days. This is normal and slows over time.
-If one breast becomes significantly larger than the other one or you have dramatically increased pain in one breast you need to notify your surgeon. You may have developed a hematoma that needs to be drained.
-Do not apply a heating pad or ice to your surgical sites. After surgery, you will have decreased sensation and heat/ice can result in a burn/frostbite without you feeling it.
-Wear your surgical bra at all times except when showering.
-You can wash your surgical bra in the washing machine if it gets dirty.
-Avoid any direct or excessive pressure on the nipple.
-No heavy lifting (>10lbs) for one week.
-No strenuous physical activity until cleared by Dr. DePerro.
-Take your pain medication with food. This can be with as little as a few crackers. This will help prevent nausea.
-Smoking causes multiple wound healing complications. It is very important that you do not smoke and you are not around people that smoke for at least 6 weeks after surgery. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as if you were to smoke.
-Be sure to walk at least 300 yards daily. This can be broken up in multiple short trips. It is OK and recommended that you walk more than a minimum of 300 yards. This will help prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and pulmonary embolisms (PEs).
DePerro Plastic Surgery offers personalized care for personalized results. Residents in or near Columbus and other areas in the state who are ready to make a positive change should take the next step. Don’t hesitate to contact us and set up your breast reduction consultation with Dr. Michael DePerro today!