Why Choose To Have A Breast Reduction?
There are many problems associated with large or heavy breasts including discomfort, neck and shoulder pain, backache and skin irritations. We understand that you might feel self-conscious and experience difficulty with exercise and finding clothes/underwear to fit.
Procedure In Brief
There are different types of breast reductions. During the consultation Stephen McCulley and team will discuss the most suitable type of procedure for the patient based on their breast size and specific needs. The scars and final type of shape will vary according to the style of procedure used. A reduction in size and shape is achieved through lifting the nipple, while still connected to the breast, removing the excess skin and breast and then reshaping the remaining into a smaller and up-lifted breast.
The scars will depend on the technique used (as above). They tend to be quite red in the first 6 weeks, becoming purple over the next 3 months, and then fading to white. During this time we would recommend keeping the area out of strong sunlight. Most patients form very good quality scars over time. Some reach this quickly, others take longer or may form raised or stretched scars.
A full medical history will be obtained before any surgery. As a precaution, do not take any over the counter medicines or herbal remedies prior to surgery or for 3 days following. Also avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and Voltarol based tablets. It would be useful to bring a list of any prescribed medications to your pre-op assessment.
If you are a smoker it is much better to try and stop for 3 months prior to surgery to maximally reduce your chance of problems.
Recovering from Breast Reduction
Length Of Surgery
The operation takes 1.30 - 3 hours depending on the type of technique used and size of the breast.
Nights In Hospital
Usually one night, occasionally two.
You will wake up with dressings or skin glue on the wounds and elastoplast support tape on the breasts. Please let Stephen McCulley know if you are allergic to elastoplast before surgery. The dressings will be replaced on discharge or after 2-3 days, and must be kept dry. You will then return the following week for a wound check.
Drains to remove any unwanted blood/fluid may or may not be required during this procedure. When used they will remain in for 24-48 hours.
You should bring a soft (non underwired) sports bra in the planned new cup size into hospital with you. The bra should feel comfortable, whilst still providing support. You will need to have two bras at home that can be worn on rotation. The chest measurement does not usually change but can reduce by 1-2 inches. You will be able to wear an underwired bra after 8 weeks; this should be properly fitted to your new shape and size.
Time Off Work
People vary in recovery; younger patients tend to experience more discomfort with this type of surgery, but patients should allow at least 2 weeks of recovery (full anaesthetic can take longer to recover from). Patients with highly active physical jobs may require longer.
Time To Exercise
Patients usually feel able to walk a distance at 5-7 days, swim by 10-14 days (if fully healed). Strenuous exercise (aerobics etc) should be avoided for at least 6 weeks.
Day 1-4 You should be taking it very easy! You should not be looking after very young children or doing housework.
Day 5-14 You can start doing more gentle exercise including walking for longer, shopping etc. You will have very little pain by the end of this period. If all wounds appear fully healed at day 10 you are unlikely to 'damage' anything by increasing your activity. Build up activity as you feel fit.
Week 3-6 You should be back to work and doing anything you wish by 6 weeks.
Patients should avoid driving until they are completely free of pain and restriction, and be able to confidently perform an emergency stop. This is to ensure they will be covered by their insurance policy. It may take two or three weeks to recover sufficiently.
We will check your wound at day 5-7. You will then have an appointment with Stephen McCulley at 3 months. You will not be charged for any follow up appointment relating to your surgery.
Recovery And Final Outcome
You should expect some bruising and swelling in the breast, which will last 2-4 weeks. It is common to experience some leaking from the wounds for the first week as they begin to heal. At this point your breasts will be firmer and higher than the expected end result. By 4-6 weeks the breast will be much softer and should be a good shape. They will continue to improve over 6-12 months.
Potential Complications With Breast Reduction
This is a routine operation that is a great success for the vast majority of patients. However, as with any procedure, it is very important you understand what can go wrong as well as right. The potential complications are listed below.
- Nipple loss: This is extremely uncommon (less than 0.5%) and occurs if the blood supply to the nipple is stopped in the ‘tongue’ of tissue that it is connected to. If this happens the nipple will be lost and be replaced by a scar. Although rare, the risk is increased in any patient by smoking, obesity and old age. There is also an increased risk if the reduction is for very large breasts. If you fit into any of these categories Stephen McCulley will discuss potential alternative surgical techniques during the consultation to avoid this risk.
- Loss or altered nipple sensation: This occurs in 20% of patients, and can affect only one side. The risk is increased for patients with very large breasts.
- Remaining asymmetry: Most women have different sized breasts and it is likely that surgery will improve symmetry. However, it is possible for one breast or nipple to be marginally different to the other side after surgery.
- Scars: The quality of scars vary between patients.
- Wound breakdown: Patients who undergo a breast reduction can experience problems with wound healing, especially in the area of the breast crease. This occurs in about 4% patients and takes a number of weeks to heal.
- Bleeding: A blood clot can collect in the breast, which would result in going back to theatre for its removal. However, if a blood clot is to form it will be within the first 24 hours post surgery. Blood clotting results in approximately 1% of patients.
- Breast feeding: About 50% of women are still able to breast feed after breast augmentation.
- Infection: Quite uncommon but if occurs you will need a course of antibiotics.
- General operation risks: Chest infections, Blood clots in the leg or lung (DVT or PE). Although rare it is important to avoid these by not smoking, not being excessively overweight and moving about after surgery as soon as possible.
If you experience any side-effects that you are concerned about please don't hesitate to contact us.
What does Breast Reduction cost?
Breast reduction from £7,450 (bilateral)
What Is Included In The Cost?
The prices listed are all inclusive and cover:
- The pre-operative assessment and investigations
- The operation
- Hospital stay and any treatment required
- All follow up (nursing and with Stephen McCulley) relating to your surgery
- Any emergency treatments or re-admissions relating to your surgery within the first year
Frequently Asked Questions
If you'd like to see more then please view our frequently asked questions on Cosmetic Breast Surgery!