Breast reduction involves removal of skin and breast tissue, creates a more proportionate breast shape, and improves symptoms like back, neck, and shoulder pain. It’s the single most popular procedure that Dr. MacLennan offers, and has a great satisfaction rate.
How is Breast Reduction Done?
Dr. MacLennan uses a “vertical” approach for most breast reduction procedures, which results in a “lollipop” scar around the areola and down the lower part of the breast to the crease. The nipple is uplifted, and excess heavy breast tissue is removed. Liposuction helps shape the sides of the breast.
When larger breasts or difficult shapes call for different techniques, you can be confident that Dr. MacLennan has done thousands of breast reductions and can confidently tailor the approach to your specific needs.
Who is a good candidate for Breast Reduction?
Good candidates for breast reduction are close to their ideal body weight, healthy, and have realistic expectations. If you have poor skin quality or have lost a large amount of weight, longer incisions may be necessary. Smokers need to stop smoking a number of weeks prior to surgery, because nicotine can interfere with blood supply and healing.
Age is not a restriction. We have performed breast reduction surgery on teens as young as 14 and women in their 80s. We evaluate our older patients by their health, rather than their age, when determining eligibility for surgery.
It’s important to have realistic expectations about what breast reduction can do. Your breast size and shape will determine the amount of tissue that can be removed safely and for the best possible results.
What is Recovery Like?
Good physical and mental health is important for a successful breast reduction surgery. In some cases, it may be best to wait for this procedure until health is at an optimal level. Your ability to request your surgery around your other life events is also an important consideration. It takes about two weeks to get back to normal activities following breast reduction surgery and about four weeks to get back to unrestricted activity. Women with small children may want some help at home for the first couple of weeks to avoid too much heavy lifting.
In some cases, breast reduction surgery can interfere with the ability to breastfeed. We inform patients that there is a 50/50 chance of being able to breastfeed after this procedure. If breastfeeding is very important to you, you may want to wait until after having children before considering breast reduction surgery.
For a variety of reasons, I waited until I was nearly 56 to get a much needed breast reduction. As I result, this was a blessing since I found and selected Dr. MacLennan as my surgeon. Dr. MacLennan had no issues with my age nor my "well nourished" weight. Unlike many women who ask for a specific cup size, I left that decision to Dr. MacLennan. She's truly an artist in her craft and I trusted her decision based upon her extensive experience and knowledge. As a result Dr. MacLennan picked the right size for my 5'10" frame and I'm thrilled with the results. Besides her incredible surgical skills, Dr. MacLennan is approachable, respectful, kind, and comes across as genuinely loving what she does and the positive impact she has on women's lives. I would not hesitate to recommend Dr. MacLennan for breast reduction surgery.
Breast Reduction FAQ
HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF I’M A CANDIDATE FOR BREAST REDUCTION?
Breast reduction is one of the most common operations that we perform. Our patients often complain of back, neck and shoulder discomfort associated with large breasts, as well as breasts that are simply too large for their frame, lifestyle, or cosmetic desires. An in-person consultation is the best way to ensure that you are a good candidate.
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER BREAST REDUCTION?
Dr. MacLennan accepts most insurance plans and her staff can help you determine if your insurance will cover your breast reduction. Insurance companies have different requirements, and some, unfortunately, do not cover breast reduction at all. Most will require a large amount of supporting documentation, including letters from your primary care doctor, physical therapist, and an estimate of how much tissue can be removed. It’s helpful for you to be familiar with your insurance company’s requirements, so call them before your consult so that you have an idea of what will be required.
DOES BREAST REDUCTION INCLUDE A LIFT?
Yes, the breasts are lifted and reshaped in the process of reduction.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAST REDUCTIONS?
Vertical (“lollipop”) technique
This is by far the most common technique that Dr. MacLennan uses. The incisions extend around the areola and then vertically down to the bottom of the breast. The areola is made smaller, drooping breast tissue is removed, and the skin is adjusted for a natural result. This technique lifts and cones the breast and is versatile for many breast sizes and shapes.
Inverted T / Anchor technique
There are many ways to do an inverted-T breast reduction. Dr. MacLennan will add the “T” if there is too much breast tissue or skin to have a good result with only the lollipop scar. The extra breast tissue is removed, the nipple is elevated, and the breast is reshaped. This technique allows us to remove more skin and breast tissue along the crease under the breast, creating a more aesthetically pleasing look but also creating an additional scar within the breast crease.
Liposuction breast reduction
Breasts can occasionally be reduced with liposuction alone, eliminating traditional breast reduction scars. The best candidates for this technique are older women with fattier breasts who want to have less volume but don’t need lifting or reshaping. Young women often have denser breast tissue that doesn’t do well with liposuction alone. These women are often better candidates for vertical breast reduction, although we add liposuction to shape the sides of the breast. Insurance companies don’t cover liposuction alone.
ARE THERE AGE LIMITS FOR BREAST REDUCTION?
We have had breast reduction patients as young as 14 and as old as 80. Symptomatic large breasts are common for many women, regardless of age. Good health is more important than age when determining eligibility for breast reduction. Our older patients often tell us that they wish they’d had the surgery years ago!
WILL BREAST REDUCTION INTERFERE WITH BREASTFEEDING?
Breast reduction is done with the goal of reshaping the breast but preserving its function. The nipple is left attached to the underlying tissue. Every attempt is made to preserve breastfeeding ability and nipple sensation, but some women aren’t able to breastfeed after surgery. Some women are unable to breastfeed even without having breast surgery, so it may be difficult to know whether surgery alone caused the issue.
SHOULD I WAIT UNTIL AFTER PREGNANCY TO HAVE A BREAST REDUCTION?
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can alter the size, shape, and projection of the breasts. While there are medical reasons to avoid getting pregnant after breast reduction, it may be better to wait until after you’re finished having children, so the results of your surgery will be more stable.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH BREAST REDUCTION?
As with any surgery, bleeding and infection are possible risks associated with this procedure. Difficulty breastfeeding and loss of nipple sensation are also concerns that we discuss with our patients. Scarring may vary from patient to patient, depending on a number of factors. Symmetry between the breasts is our goal, but there are often still small differences between the breasts after surgery.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY FROM BREAST REDUCTION LIKE?
Most women go home from the hospital or surgery center the same day. We recommend 2 weeks off work, and most women are back to exercise and all activities after 3-4 weeks.
DO YOU USE DRAINS?
In most cases, drains aren’t necessary.
ARE BREAST REDUCTION RESULTS PERMANENT?
Your breasts will continue to age over time, and you may, over time, notice that your breasts begin to droop somewhat. With significant weight gain, your breasts could also enlarge. We try to follow our patients over the course of many years, and find that vertical breast reduction offers consistent, long-lasting results overall.
Breast reduction offers significant cosmetic advantages and can also bring relief from uncomfortable physical symptoms. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of breast reduction, contact Mountain Lake Plastic Surgery at (802) 231-4284.