Answers to Common Breast Reduction Questions

For many women, large breasts give them a sense of beauty and femininity, but for some women, overly large breasts can cause physical discomfort and embarrassment, leading them to consider breast reduction surgery. I offer breast reduction surgery at my San Antonio plastic surgery practice to reshape and resize large breasts to give you the breasts you desire.

Patients interested in breast reduction surgery often describe debilitating symptoms that include neck, shoulder, and back pain, skin rashes (dermatitis), lowered self-esteem, limitations in participation of certain activities or wearing certain clothing.

In this blog post, I provide answers to some of the most common questions I hear about breast reduction surgery. To schedule a breast reduction consultation and to discuss the specific timing of the surgery, please request a complimentary consultation online or call (210) 942-6672 to make an appointment today.

Will Chest Exercises Lift or Reduce My Breasts?

“Chest exercises” such as push-ups can strengthen and develop the dominant (pectoralis) muscle of the chest, but it does not have an effect on the position of the breast tissue. Exercises and diets that lower overall body fat composition can make the breasts smaller but do nothing to lift the breast higher onto the chest wall.

Breast tissue position is based on an individual’s anatomy from birth and development thereafter. The factors affecting the overall position and shape of the breast include forces of gravity, the normal aging process, weight fluctuations, childbirth, and breast feeding. To effectively reduce the size of overly large breasts, surgery is the primary option.

Are There Pills or Nonsurgical Methods to Make My Breasts Smaller?

In short, there are no proven oral medications to make your breasts smaller.

Liposuction has been discussed as one alternative to reducing the size of your breasts with less scarring, but it is still surgery and does have its own inherent risks. The most important factor is to understand that liposuction does not have inherent capability to tighten the skin or shape the breast, so while it can remove excess fatty tissue from the breasts, it will not reshape and lift the breast.

What Tips Do You Have for Getting Insurance to Approve a Breast Reduction?

Coverage of breast reduction costs varies depending on your insurance plan. When I see a patient for a breast reduction consultation with symptomatic complaints, the symptoms often include serious health and emotional problems. During the consultation, I assess the physical and emotional issues that have arisen due to overly large breasts, discuss your options with you, and take photos of your breasts to verify the need for breast reduction surgery. (The photos do not include your face and are only of your breasts to illustrate the need for a reduction surgery.)

After the consultation, I put together an authorization letter and photos of your breasts that I send to your insurance company to provide evidence required for obtaining approval for insurance coverage of breast reduction surgery. This letter lists the subjective complaints and objective physical examination findings which illustrate the debilitating effects of your large breasts.

If you are able to provide an additional letter from your primary care doctor that reinforces your diagnosis of enlarged breast (macromastia) and your symptomatic complaints may be beneficial.

What Age Is Appropriate to Consider Breast Reduction Surgery?

For optimal satisfaction after breast reduction surgery, you don’t have to be a specific age but rather you should be in overall good health with fully developed breasts. Breast reduction surgery should be considered when the size or weight of your breasts stabilizes.

For patients of child-bearing age I also discuss potential changes to nipple sensation and the impact on future breast feeding after breast reduction surgery. Breast feeding can be impacted by certain techniques used for your breast reduction

Benign juvenile breast hypertrophy is when there is rapid or significant breast growth in the younger teenage years. Teens with large breasts may request breast reduction surgery for this reason. When I see teenage patients interested in breast reduction procedures, I make sure to educate them regarding breast development before proceeding to surgery. I want to ensure that their breasts have stopped growing before scheduling surgery if possible. Waiting for breast size to stabilize decreases the need for revision surgery.

How Long After Breast Reduction Will My Breasts Be Swollen?

During the consultation and pre-operative appointments, I always educate my patients about what to expect in the post-operative period.

Swelling after surgery is a normal response by the body as it begins to recover and initiate the healing process. Although swelling is part of the normal healing process, too much swelling for prolonged periods can cause undue tension on skin and compromise a patient’s cosmetic results.

To help control the post-operative swelling I encourage my patients to apply compression with ACE wraps, abdominal binders, and other post-surgical compression garments.

The majority of swelling should subside approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery.

How Can I Minimize Scarring From Breast Reduction Surgery?

During the consultation and again at the time of the pre-operative appointment, I discuss where incisions are placed on the breast for breast reduction procedure.

Optimal scar healing depends on a variety of factors that are inherent to the patient (skin quality and tone), location of incision, surgical technique and the recovery process.  By minimizing tension on the incisions, delicately manipulating the skin during the procedure, and making sure to provide extra time and effort to achieve a fine closure, I strive to prevent widened or hypertrophied scars.

After surgery I continue a dialogue with patients regarding optimal scar management. I generally recommend avoiding sun exposure and occasionally recommend scar massage to minimize the appearance of scars. Patients who have higher risk of scar widening or hypertrophy may need additional treatments or care to optimize their outcomes.

To schedule your breast reduction consultation, please contact my San Antonio plastic surgery practice at (210) 942-6672 or request a consultation online.

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