Breast Reduction (Mammoplasty)

The act of reducing the size of a woman’s breasts is known as reduction mammoplasty, or breast reduction surgery. This surgical procedure consists of removing excess fat from the breast, excess glandular tissue, and any extra skin in the area to reduce the size of the breast to a more proportionate, comfortable size.

Why seek Breast Reduction Surgery?

Large breasts can cause a woman to feel self-conscious about her body as well as create a number of undue health issues: chronic back pain, deep creases in the shoulder from the straps of a bra, skin irritation such as rashes underneath the breasts, etc.

Large breasted women can also have a difficult time with physical activities. This is another reason many women with large, pendulous breasts seek out breast reduction surgery. Breast tissue can be heavy, and having large breasts can make activities such as running, jumping, etc., difficult. Not only can breast reduction limit the conditions listed above, it can help a woman lead an active, more physically fit life.

Breast Reduction Techniques

There are several methods of breast reduction. Plastic surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital use the newest techniques of breast reduction (such as the vertical breast reduction method), which result in significantly less scarring than traditional techniques, and which leave a better breast shape. Your surgeon will discuss with you the recommended technique to give you the best result.

Anesthesia

Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia.

Before Breast Reduction Surgery

  • Avoid taking aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or other aspirin-containing products for two weeks.
  • If you are a smoker, stop smoking to aid in healing.

Recovery After Breast Reduction Surgery

  • Discomfort may require pain medication for the first few days.
  • You can return to normal activities in about two weeks, taking care to avoid strenuous activities.
  • Aching, swelling and bruising will subside after several weeks.
  • The final size and shape of the breasts will be apparent between 2 and 12 months after surgery.
  • While scars are permanent, they are covered by bras, bathing suits and clothing and may in time fade.
  • Breastfeeding may not be possible, as milk ducts are removed.
  • Sensation to the nipple and areola may be rarely affected.

Results

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Gynecomastia and Breast Reduction for Men

Breast reduction surgery is not just for women. Many men experience an enlargement of breast tissue known as gynecomastia. This condition of enlarged or over-developed breast tissue can be embarrassing. It is often associated with hormonal changes, genetics, disease, and certain kinds of drug use. While enlarged breasts in men may not result in additional health problems, the psychological impact can be significant. Being self-conscious about one’s body can lead to low self-esteem, intimacy issues, and can even prevent men from enjoying certain physical activities that may highlight the condition, such as swimming.

Gynecomastia may be present in one or both breasts; it is characterized by excess localized fat, excess glandular tissue, or a combination of the two. The surgical procedure to correct this issue in men is identical to the procedure for women.

Whether you are a man or woman who suffers from excessively large breasts, there is help available. A breast reduction surgery can alleviate the anxiety one experiences as a result of their condition, and can get you back on track, both physically and mentally.

Causes of Gynecomastia

A man may develop excess fatty tissue in the breast either around the time of puberty or later in life when his level of exercise and physical activity diminishes and muscle mass in the chest area transforms into fatty tissue.

While there is a relationship between increased breast size and increased body mass in men, gynecomastia is a condition that typically occurs independent of the patient’s overall weight. Increasing one’s level of exercise and losing some weight will not correct the problem.

Gynecomastia Techniques

Most cases of gynecomastia can be addressed through a combination of direct excision or liposuction, limiting the scars to the area around the pigmented skin of the areola or hidden in the armpit or lower fold where the breast meets the chest wall. Patients who have developed significant amounts of loose skin are a greater reconstructive challenge, since it can be problematic hiding the scars necessary to remove excess skin resulting from weight loss in the breast.

Men are candidates for the procedure as long as their cardiovascular and general health remains good throughout their adult life.

Techniques

Several techniques are available to treat gynecomastia, depending on the severity of the overdevelopment and whether you have excess skin or breast tissue or both. These techniques include liposuction through small stab incisions, a periareolar incision (made along the pigmented part of your breast around the nipple) to remove excess tissue, or a skin and breast excision technique similar to a breast reduction. Your surgeon will discuss these options with you and recommend the most appropriate technique.

Anesthesia

Gynecomastia is performed under general anesthesia.

Before Surgery

  • Avoid taking aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or other aspirin-containing products for two weeks.
  • If you are a smoker, stop smoking to aid in healing.
  • Your surgeon may ask you to purchase a breast elastic compression garment to wear immediately after surgery, especially if liposuction is to be performed.

Recovery

  • You will most likely go home the same day after surgery.
  • In some cases, you will have drains that prevent the buildup of fluid. These drains would be removed in the office.
  • Discomfort may require pain medication for the first few days.
  • You can return to normal activities in about two weeks, taking care to avoid strenuous activities.
  • Aching, swelling and bruising will subside after several weeks.
  • The final result may not be apparent until six months to one year after surgery.