The procedure | Breast reduction
A breast reduction is used to downsize your breasts. Correction of the excess of volume and skin involves a resection of both. A breast reduction is know to potentially reduce physical complaints that go with having heavy breasts, like the digging in of bra-straps, neck and backache. With breast reduction surgery one can achieve remarkable results, but the resection of skin inevitably results in the creation of scars. They are however positioned in inconspicuous locations and tend to fade over time. Furthermore it is important to realise that no two breasts are the same – it is normal to be asymmetrical – and that some of these differences will remain after surgery.
Where will I be operated?
The operation will be performed in one of the private clinics of Vienna. If you have a preference then we will of course take this into consideration.
What can I expect of the operation?
Your surgeon will always see you before the operation and will talk you through the steps. Markings will be made on your breasts and pictures will be taken for documentation. The operation will be performed under general anaesthetic and will take approximately 90 minutes. The procedure will start with the resection of the excess of skin and often the size of your areolas is reduced. The breast tissue will then be resected and the tissue will be reshaped according to plan. With a small instrument the blood vessels that are transsected will be sealed, after which the wounds are closed. After the operation you will have to remain in hospital for the first postoperative period. The drains that are left in your breasts at time of the operation will be removed before you go home.
What are the risks?
In breast reduction surgery the risks are limited. Most common complications are the risk of postoperative haemorrhage or infection (1-3%). Both can be dealt effectively and at limited physical cost if noted at an early stage. Significant wound healing problems may delay the return to daily activities. The sensitivity of your nipples may be changed after surgery, both loss of or increased sensitivity does occur in a minority of cases, but in most this normalises over time.
What can I expect after the operation?
Immediately after the operation you will experience some tightness on your chest. Your skin will adjust to the new situation and the initial swelling will subside in a matter of days, after which this feeling will disappear. You are allowed to shower on the day after the procedure, but should take care not to remove the shower resistant tape covering your wounds, until the postoperative consultation after one week. You are required to wear the sports bra we provide you with day and night for 6 weeks.
What will the scars be like? The scars will be placed around your areolas, straight down from there to the fold underneath your breasts, and may extended into that fold both ways if needed. Scars are usually visible in the first few months because of the difference of colour compared to their surroundings. Thickness and colour however will disappear over the course of a few months and the scars will be come less conspicuous over time.
How long before I can resume my normal life?
Most woman manage to return to light activities in the first few days after surgery, while some manage to return to work after a week (depending on physical requirements). Realistically it will take two weeks to reach this stage for most. Sports activities can on average be resumed after 6 weeks. Please listen to your body though; pain is a protective mechanism so if certain movements are painful please refrain from doing them. In the following months the final swelling will slowly disappear, but it may still be uncomfortable to lie on your front for a while. Sometimes unexpected movements still may give rise to sudden twinges, but this frequency will reduce over time. Total healing time is known to take one year.
What is good to know about the long term?
Even though the nipple complex will remain attached to the underlying gland, this breast tissue will be repositioned. The operation could therefore interfere with breast-feeding. However, it is good to realise that the ability to breastfeed is not guaranteed for woman in general.
Changes in body shape over time
While a breast lift aims to optimise the current physical situation, the process of aging, changes in lifestyle or variations in weight may all influence the shape of your breasts again. This means that over the course of your life these alterations may result in a situation that is not to your liking.
International studies have proven that breast reduction surgery does not interfere with the occurrence of breast cancer. Due to scarring in the breast though, it may be somewhat more difficult to judge screening X-rays. Alternatively, an ultrasound or MRI may be of benefit.