Tucson Breast Reduction Surgery Information, Benefits and Risks

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What is a breast reduction?

A breast reduction is a surgical procedure that removes excess breast tissue, raises the nipple position and repositions the remaining breast tissue. This gives the breast a more pleasant appearance. A breast reduction can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.

When is a breast reduction used?

Good candidates for a breast reduction are women who are unhappy with the large size of their breasts. Large breasts can sometimes cause back pain, bra strap grooving, rashes under the breasts and neck pain. Breast reduction surgery often helps relieve this pain and discomfort.

What is involved at a consultation for a breast reduction?

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with both Dr. Maloney and Lindsay, the clinical coordinator. Maloney Plastic Surgery is one of the only practices in Tucson, Arizona to offer Vectra 3D (three dimensional) technology to our patients. One of the first things we will do at your consultation is use VECTRA imaging technology to take a 3D image of your body from the bellybutton to the neck. This exciting technology will perform exact breast measurements for us. These measurements are important in determining the amount of tissue that needs to be removed and the position of the nipple. It will also tell us if one breast is smaller or larger, higher or lower and by how much. The other fabulous part of the Vectra technology is we can perform a “breast reduction” on the 3D image and show you how the operation will look on your body! We can even put you in a cute bathing suit and lay you on your back so you can see “your new breasts” from different angles. You will also be given a user number and can access your saved images from home to review with your friends and loved ones if you choose. We are excited and proud to offer this amazing technology to our patients. After Vectra imaging, Dr. Maloney will talk with you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also discuss details of the operation, show you before and after photos and take some additional measurements of your breasts if needed. Lindsay will review surgical fees, financing options and answer any other additional questions you may have. If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about two weeks prior to your operation. At this second appointment Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you as well as go through consent forms, review your Vectra pre-operative photographs and give you your prescriptions. Lindsay will go over all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave this appointment you will have everything you need for surgery.

If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about two weeks prior to your operation. At this second appointment Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you and go through consent forms, take pre-operative photographs and give you your prescriptions. Dr. Maloney will also discuss sending the breast tissue that is removed to a pathologist to examine it for any breast related diseases. Your health insurance should cover this portion of the procedure, however you will be responsible for any coinsurance or copay associated with pathology. Lindsay will go over all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave you are ready for surgery.

How do I prepare for a breast reduction?

After meeting with Dr. Maloney and choosing a surgical date for your breast reduction, you should plan for your care and recovery after the operation. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center the day of surgery and arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You should take 5-7 days off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you do (speak to Lindsay, Dr. Maloney’s Clinical Coordinator for additional information). If your employer requires paperwork for time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of two weeks before surgery. We suggest 6-8 weeks, but two weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal slower and can have wound healing problems. If you take aspirin or other medication that causes bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before surgery because it causes increased bleeding and therefore more bruising. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or Metformin (a common diabetes medication), you should stop one week prior to surgery to avoid anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you take should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery. If you are under the care of a physician for any health issues, we may require surgical clearance from your physician and/or cardiologist.

At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given a map to the surgery center and your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery so they are at home when you need them. You should purchase an inexpensive sports bra to wear for the first two weeks after surgery. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. You should mix sports drinks and water 50/50. You should also start taking a stool softener as narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.

The morning of surgery you may not have anything to eat or drink after midnight, this includes water. You should take a shower using an antimicrobial soap on the chest and abdomen. Do not put any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get in and out of. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable. Bring your photo ID when you check-in to the surgery center. You will be taken back to the pre-operating area where Dr. Maloney will come and discuss the plan again, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgical site. You will also meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.

How is the breast reduction performed?

The operation takes about three hours. The anesthesiologist will put you to sleep for this operation to ensure safety and comfort. Dr. Maloney will then remove the excess skin and breast tissue and reposition the remaining breast tissue using an anchor incision (which he will show you at your consultation). The excess breast tissue that is removed will be sent to a pathologist to review. Results take approximately 5-7 business days to come in. You will wake up in the recovery room and be ready to go home in about an hour.

What should I expect afterward a breast reduction?

You will wear a bandage over your incisions or a support bra to minimize swelling. You will leave the surgery center with drainage tubes that will be removed 1-10 days after surgery depending on how much fluid your body is producing. You should rest and eat a healthy diet high in protein for a speedy recovery. You should also avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. All surgeons recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up recovery. You may remove your dressings and shower 1-3 days after surgery depending on what the office tells you. You will return to the office for your first post-operative exam 1-3 days after surgery. Some oozing from the incision is normal, as is mild discomfort. A low-grade fever is not uncommon after any surgical procedure. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call our office any time, day or night.

What are the benefits of a breast reduction?

After the procedure your breasts will be smaller in size and your nipple position and breast tissue will be raised to where it was before the breasts began to droop. Your breasts will also have better shape. If you were experiencing back or neck pain due to your breast size, this discomfort should be much improved.

What are the risks of a breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is the woman’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. Common risks include scars, bleeding, infection, breast asymmetry, excessive firmness, slow wound healing or changes in nipple or breast sensation. There are also more uncommon, complicated risks such as loss of the nipple and deep vein thrombosis. For a full list of risks, go to plasticsurgery.org.