Women who have large breasts are often physically uncomfortable due to neck ache and backache – or when the straps of the brassiere cuts into the shoulders. They often sweat excessively in the crease underneath the breast resulting in irritation of the skin in the area; they find it difficult to buy comfortable brassieres off-the-shelf and often have to go to specialist shops which are expensive. They are embarrassed because they feel a large bust can be distracting (‘men speak to my breasts and not to me’) and they are self-conscious both in the workplace, and whilst taking part in leisure activities. They do not like to participate in exercise or aerobics due to discomfort while exercising, and often do not like to take their children swimming due to embarrassment. They also find it difficult to find clothes that fit their overall frame due to the disproportionately large bust.
What is the treatment of large breasts?
The size of a breast can be reduced by an operation which involves a general anaesthetic and one or two nights in hospital. This is a common procedure in which excess breast tissue is removed and the skin of the breast is tightened resulting in a smaller and better shaped breast, with a more youthful appearance.
What is the normal postoperative care?
Following surgery a tube drain is inserted into each breast to remove any fluid blood that collects underneath the skin. This tube drain is normally removed within 24 to 48 hours following surgery. Most patients are able to have a shower before they leave hospital and every day at home. An outpatient appointment is made for removal of sutures one week to ten days following surgery.
How does the appearance of the breast change following surgery?
Following surgery, the breasts are swollen and bruised and will appear larger and higher than the final result. It is important to bear this in mind for the first six to eight weeks after a breast reduction. The swelling and bruising gradually subsides over a period of two to four weeks. The breast feels firm to start with and gradually becomes more supple and natural in appearance over six to twelve weeks following surgery.
How do patients feel in the first couple of weeks following surgery?
Most patients experience mild discomfort in the first few days after an operation, which is managed by painkillers. There may be some restriction of movement, especially while lifting heavy weights or stretching above the head, which gradually returns to normal over seven to ten days. Most patients returned to normal activities within two to four weeks following surgery and are able to undertake normal exercise regimes including gym, aerobics and swimming approximately four weeks following the operation.
How much time do I need off work?
Most patients are able to return to work which does not involve heavy lifting in approximately two to three weeks after surgery
What are the complications of this procedure?
Breast reduction can have complications just like any other surgical procedure. These include bleeding, haematoma (blood clot within the breast), infection, visible scars, asymmetry and loss of sensation over the breast of the nipple. Although it is very unusual there is a small possibility of partial nipple loss or fat necrosis (painful lump) in the breast. Very rarely is it necessary for patients to have a revision procedure following a breast reduction. We will discuss potential complications with you in detail at the time of the consultation.