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Within the past year, a lot of notable women from varied career paths have vocalized their reasons for undergoing breast reduction surgery. In 2016, 61,546 procedures were done for breast reductions among reconstructive patients only. This kind of plastic surgery is intended to correct a dysfunction  or improve the function and appearance of a body part. One of the most common reasons for a breast reduction surgery is to alleviate chronic pain or trauma. Here are more common reasons for breast reduction surgery.

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, removes excess tissue and skin from the breasts to reshape and reduce the size, as well as alleviate the pain often experienced due to very large breasts. During the surgery, cuts are made in the breast and once the excess tissue and skin have been removed, the breast is closed with stitches. Depending on the severity of the case, both the nipple and areola have to be removed and repositioned on the breast.

Similar to a breast reduction, a breast lift (mastopexy) can raise sagging breasts, which is a common problem due to large, heavy breasts. Breast reduction surgery is typically done in a hospital or specialty surgical center, usually with general anesthesia. This outpatient procedure can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

Reasons For Breast Reduction

Many people seek the option of breast reduction surgery to change the size, weight and shape of their breasts. Other reasons for having this surgery include:

  • Relief of pain – large breasts are often heavy, which can cause shoulder, upper back and neck pain, skin irritation, and posture problems. Because of the support required for a large breasts, this could result in bra straps leaving indentations in a woman’s shoulders, which can become extremely painful over time.
  • Improve quality of life – having large breasts may make it difficult to participate in certain physical activities and sports. Depending on the activity, participating might bring about a feeling of embarrassment  or mild to intense pain (i.e activities involving running, jumping, etc.).
  • Enhance physical appearance and improve self-confidence –  having breasts that are not proportionate to your height and weight, can affect a person’s self-esteem, especially if they feel ashamed about their outer appearance. A negative self-image is likely to happen with teenagers and young women. If a woman developed breasts early in life, this might cause her to feel self-conscious about wearing certain types of clothing or she might grow to dislike her body because of difficulty finding clothes the fit. Unwanted attention, taunting from peers, and other similar actions might also add to a low self-esteem. A reduction would help to improve all of the above, restoring a sense of feeling good about one’s outer appearance.

Breast Reduction Costs and Considerations

If you’re strongly considering getting a breast reduction, it is highly recommended that you consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. It’s essential that you understand everything that  breast reduction surgery entails, which includes the pros and cons of surgery, recovery, possible risks and complications, and costs.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average cost for breast reduction surgery ( aesthetic patients only) is $5,631 which includes surgeon fees, medical tests, pre- and postoperative work, and prescriptions. Breast reduction surgery is covered under many health insurance plans, however, there are some plans that won’t cover the procedure. It’s important to check with your insurance company prior to scheduling the surgery, so if it’s not covered, you have adequate time to come up with a financial plan to cover your costs.

Benefits and Risks of Breast Reduction

Making the decision to have this procedure done is immensely personal. And though everyone might use different factors to arrive at a final decision, the benefits and risk should definitely be part of your consideration. Risks from this surgery can range in issue from unfavorable scarring to more severe situations such as infection and blood clots.

Other common risks of breast reduction surgery include:

  • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia or other items used for surgery
  • Increased or decreased sensation in nipple or breasts
  • Inability to breastfeed
  • Unevenly positioned nipples
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Skin discoloration
  • Excessive bleeding during surgery

Although some of these risks rarely occur, they could potentially turn into a life-threatening situation. However, most of these risks can be avoided if you follow the surgeon’s recovery instructions.

Breast Reduction Recovery

After the surgery, a gauze is placed over the incisions, and the breasts are usually supported with a special surgical or soft, non-underwire bra. Some surgeons may choose to wrap the breasts in an elastic bandage. Stitches are removed within one to two weeks. Many women will experience some pain for the first few days after surgery, which will go away over time.

Much like the pain, swelling and bruising will last for a few weeks, but can be reduced by wearing your surgical bra or support bra during the healing process. Unfortunately, you will have visible scars from the surgery that will eventually fade away, but will never 100% disappear.

Before choosing to have a breast reduction, it is most important that you set realistic expectations for your recovery and results outcome. Discuss your expectations with your surgeon to avoid any misunderstandings about the procedure or final outcome.

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