Breast Reduction - New Bern
Also known as reduction mammaplasty
The goal of breast reduction surgery is to reduce the size of your breasts and reshape them so that they are proportionate to the rest of your body, lifted higher on your chest, and are no longer a source of physical discomfort. This is our most frequently-performed reconstructive procedure, and Dr. Zannis likely performs more breast reductions than any other surgeon in Eastern North Carolina. It is very predictable and has the dual benefits of improving your appearance while relieving the physical and emotional burden of overly large breasts.
Breast reduction surgery is usually performed through incisions on your breasts with surgical removal of the excess fat, glandular tissue and skin. This is done under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation and you can go home the same day as your surgery.
Occasionally, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques described below. This is usually done to the sides of the breasts or underarm area.
The technique used to reduce the size of your breasts will be determined by your individual condition, breast composition, amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and Dr. Zannis’s advice.
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during breast reduction surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you, but in either case, you will not be awake during this surgery.
Step 2 – The incision
Incision options include:
- A circular pattern around the areola
The incision lines that remain are visible and permanent scars, although usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra.
- A keyhole or racquet-shaped or lollipop pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
- An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern
Step 3 – Removing tissue and repositioning
After the incision is made, the nipple (which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply) is then repositioned. The areola is reduced by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary.
Underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped. Rarely, for extremely large pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and transplanted to a higher position on the breast (free nipple graft).
Step 4 – Closing the incisions
The incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast. Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts; sutures, followed by surgical tape close the skin. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.
Breast reduction surgery is generally considered a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by health insurance when it is performed to relieve medical symptoms.
Many insurers determine whether to categorize breast reduction surgery as reconstructive surgery based on the amount of tissue that will be removed and the failure of all conservative measures to alleviate pain. Overweight patients (BMI over 28) are sometimes denied coverage as well.
In any case, pre-certification is required for reimbursement or coverage. Insurance policies vary greatly. Carefully review your policy to determine coverage.
Fortunately, serious risks of breast reduction surgeries are rare and the satisfaction rate with these procedures is high. The overall complication rate is small if the operation is done by an experienced plastic surgeon operating in an accredited facility.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in skin sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions we provide you, both before and after your breast reduction. Smoking significantly increases your risk of wound complications, and should be avoided for 4-6 weeks before and after breast reduction surgery.
The results of your breast reduction surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade.
Most patients are back to work within 1-2 weeks. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am 16 years old and my breasts are huge. How old do you have to be for a reduction?
There is no specific age limitation for a reduction. Some young girls suffer from this problem both physically and emotionally. It is important to discuss the issue with your parents and Dr. Zannis at length to understand the implications of surgery. With realistic expectations, the procedure can be very beneficial to adolescents with excessively large breasts.
Can you breast feed after a reduction?
This is a common question. Although many patients have successfully breast-fed after a reduction, your chances of successfully doing so are unpredictable. I usually tell my patients there is a 50-50 chance of successfully breast feeding after a reduction.