What is Breast Reduction?
Medically known as a reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction surgery helps alleviate concerns related to large, elongated, or pendulous breasts. Women may want to reduce the size or weight of their breasts for a number of reasons, including:
- The size, position, or weight of the breasts (which may be overly large, heavy, or drooping)
- Breasts may cause neck or back pain, or skin irritations
- Posture may be affected due to breast weight
- Social discomfort
- Comfortable, well fitting clothing can be difficult to find
Breast reduction surgery is a highly complex breast surgery as it combines breast lift surgery with tissue reduction and nipple repositioning to ensure a natural result.
Breast reduction provides the following benefits:
- Firmer, rounder, more natural breasts
- Helps reduce skin chafing or excess sweating under or around the breasts
- Improves the appearance of elongated nipples of sagging ptotic breast skin
- Helps alleviate neck, back and shoulder pain
- Improve posture
- Allow for better clothing options
- Improve exercise ease and movement
Breast Reduction Nipple Reshaping
During reduction mammoplasty, your surgeon may reshape or resize your nipples if they have been stretched or elongated. Further, your surgeon may also reposition them higher on the breast to achieve a more natural overall look.
As one of Melbourne’s top plastic surgeons, Dr Craig Rubinstein can reduce, reshape and adjust the appearance of your nipples, if needed, during breast reduction surgery. This means they will look smaller, rounder and less stretched looking.
Liposuction Reshaping During Breast Reduction
Specialised plastic surgeons often use liposuction methods during breast reduction to help reshape the breast area. This involves removing adipose tissues – including fat stores – to minimise volume and fat cells around the breast, bra area, and the sides and back of the torso.
What is Scarless Breast Reduction?
Scarless breast reduction is the non-medical term for liposuction-only breast reduction procedures. This procedure is not technically scar-less as it does leave small scars where the liposuction cannulas have been inserted. However it does not leave breast surgery scars.
Liposuction only breast reduction is not always the best option for breast reduction surgery as t still leaves scarring and it can only achieve a very minor reduction. Further, this procedure cannot address sagging skin or issues with breast ptosis. In fact, liposuction only reduction can make skin and breast ptosis worse by decreasing breast tissue without addressing other issues.
As a result, it is always best to discuss your surgical options, in depth, with a highly qualified plastic surgeon, like Dr Craig Rubinstein.
Breast Reduction Techniques
There are three popular breast reduction techniques used in reduction mammoplasty procedures. The choice of surgical technique depends on the surgeon’s expertise and patient needs. Your surgeon will advise you on which of the following techniques will work for your body and your surgical outcome needs.
Also known as a keyhole incision, the anchor incision is named due to its resemblance to the nautical anchor. This incision is made under the areola and then down the centre of the breast similar to the LeJour technique. However, unlike the LeJour, the anchor incision also involves a third incision across the inframammary crease.
Also know as the Lollipop incision, this is the preferred method of performing a breast lift or reduction. It provides more lift, especially for those with moderate ptosis. A specialist plastic surgeon removes a doughnut-shaped piece of tissuet. However, in addition to this, a straight incision is made down to the breast crease to provide more lift.
This incision method is not often used as many qualified plastic surgeons feel the risks outweigh the benefits. Further, many surgeons find the LeJour or Anchor methods get a better result with less risk to nipple function, sensation, and tissue integrity.
Breast Reduction Procedure
During the procedure, breast tissue and redundant skin are removed. The nipples may also be reshaped, repositioned, and uplifted. Best practice methods are also applied for the use of liposuction reshaping, if needed. This includes liposuction of the torso and breasts for better contouring.
Up to 1-3kg of breast tissue may be removed during the procedure to lighten the breasts. A breast lift may also be performed, if needed.
A breast reduction procedure can take up to 2-4 hours, though this will depend on the skill of the surgeon and the type of breast reduction performed.
Breast Reduction Scarring
It is important to remember that all surgical procedures leave scars, including so-called scarless methods. However experienced surgeons like Dr Rubinstein are extremely careful about scar placement and minimisation, with surgical scars generally fading over time.
Dr Rubinstein also conducts follow-up treatments using a Fraxel Laser and Healite II to minimise your scars, with most scars being barely visible after 12 months.
Breast Reduction Recovery
Every patient heals differently, with a variance of up to several months. General recovery times for breast reduction is around 10-14 days if you have no complications or delays to healing. It is important to follow all post-operative instructions given to you by your surgeon.
Depending on your type of work, you can return to work in about 2 weeks. However, if your work involves heavy lifting, you are should not return until cleared by your surgeon.
Further, your surgeon will advise you on when you can return to regular exercising. In general, you can resume gentle walking within a few days of surgery. But you should avoid running, high impact exercise and more until your surgeon advises you that it is okay.
Breast Reduction and Breast Feeding
Many women report successfully breastfeeding after breast reduction, however there is no guarantee. Different surgical methods may increase your chances of breastfeeding after breast reduction. It is best to discuss this during your consult.
Will a Breast Reduction “Grow Back”?
Breasts can return to a larger, heavier size due to life changes including pregnancy, weight fluctuation, genetics, and aging. Surgeons generally advise that you seek a breast reduction after you have finished having children, you have finished breast feeding and you have reached your stable, goal weight, to improve your overall, long term, outcome.
You can discuss this further in your consultation with a specialist plastic surgeon.
How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost?
The cost of breast reduction surgery can vary across Australia and Melbourne. It depends entirely on the surgeon you choose, where you have your operation, etc.
Often sites that post the estimated cost of a breast reduction surgery do not include all the related and necessary expenses. As a result, you may end up paying more than you expected. Dr Rubinstein never recommends shopping for low cost surgery as it is unlikely that a FRACS level plastic surgeon will be performing the procedure. It is important to do your research before deciding on a plastic surgeon for your chosen procedure. Further, revision surgery is costly and is not guaranteed to fix the issue you experienced with your initial surgery, if you chose to explore cheaper surgical options.
It is always important to pursue plastic surgery based on skill, not cost.
Does Medicare Cover Breast Reduction Surgery?
Some types of breast reduction surgery may be covered by Medicare rebate. However, most breast reduction procedures are classified as cosmetic and will not be covered. Please discuss this with your surgeon or doctor for further information.
Are You a Good Breast Reduction Candidate?
While it is best to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to decide the best method to improve your breast appearance, there are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to get a general idea about whether breast reduction surgery can help to improve the shape and position of your breasts:
- Do you suffer from large, heavy breasts?
- Are your nipples enlarged or over-stretched?
- Do you suffer from neck or back pain and posture issues due to the weight of your breasts?
- Are your breasts causing social discomfort?
- Do your breasts cause difficulties when exercising?
- Are you willing to follow all post-operative and recovery instructions?
- Do you have realistic expectations of what surgery can achieve?
Does Breast Reduction Hurt?
Pain varies from patient to patient. However, all invasive surgery has some level of pain associated with it, regardless of whether they are general or plastic surgery procedures. Dr Rubinstein will use a range of methods to help reduce or limit patient discomfort including general anaesthetic, numbing anaesthetic, and pain blocks for post-surgical discomfort.
Will My Breast Reduction Surgery Use Drains?
Drain-free surgery is the preferred approach of Dr Rubinstein to improve your comfort during post-op recovery and reduce infection risks at drain insertion sites. Some patients, however, will require drains, which will be removed as soon as possible.
Breast Reduction Before and After Gallery
To view some of Dr Rubinstein’s previous breast reduction patients, please click the image below. This will direct you to the breast augmentation before and after gallery.
The Next Steps
- Visit the FAQs pages and patient reviews to learn more about your intended procedure.
How to Book your Initial Consultation
- Email us or call on (03) 8849 1444 to arrange your consultation with Dr Rubinstein
- A referral from your GP or from your specialist is helpful but not essential
What to Bring to your Surgeon Consultation
- You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
- Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided
- Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
ISAPS. December 2018. Breast Reduction [online]. Available from: https://www.isaps.org/procedures/breasts/breast-reduction/ [accessed 18 December 2018]
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. December 2018. Breast Reduction [online] Available from: https://plasticsurgery.org.au/procedures/surgical-procedures/breast-reduction/ [accessed 18 December 2018]
ASAPS. December 2018. Breast Reduction Surgery [online]. Available from: https://aestheticplasticsurgeons.org.au/your-surgery/breast-surgeries/breast-reduction/ [accessed 18 December 2018]
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. December 2018. What is breast reduction surgery? [online] Available from: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reduction [accessed 18 December 2018]