Dr. William Aiello“Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure that reduces the size and reshapes the contour of the breasts by removing excess breast skin and underlying tissue,” says William Aiello, MD, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon on staff at Lakewood Regional Medical Center. “;For some women who suffer from disproportionately large breasts, the procedure may be a viable means of relief.”
Generally, breast reduction is performed on an inpatient basis in a hospital. During the three to four-hour procedure, incisions are made horizontally and vertically following the natural contour of the breast. Excess tissue and skin are then removed from the sides of the breast and around the nipple. Then the nipple and remaining underlying tissue are moved to a new, higher location.
When the nipple is repositioned, skin on both sides of the breast is moved down and around the nipple and brought together to reform the breast. The incision is then closed with stitches that dissolve under the breast and around the nipple.
Breast reduction does leave scars under the breasts and leading up to the nipple, however, they lighten significantly with time. According to Dr. Aiello, the desired result is smaller, lifted and better shaped breasts that are in proportion with the rest of the body.
While women of any age can benefit from the procedure, it is usually performed after breasts are fully developed. The procedure is permanent, yet breast size can increase due to weight gain, birth control pills or pregnancy.
Dr. Aiello notes that although the ability to breast-feed cannot be predicted following the procedure, many women may still be able to do so after the surgery.
“;The procedure can relieve physical discomfort and make breasts smaller and more attractive, but it may not change other aspects of a woman’s life,” warns Dr. Aiello. “It’s very important for a woman to discuss her expectations and motivations with her physician.”
Breast reduction is usually deemed a medical necessity; consequently, some of the expenses may be covered by medical insurance.