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What should you consider before breast reduction surgery?

What should you consider before breast reduction surgery?


Since COVID, the UK has seen a rise in breast reduction surgeries, with an increase of 40% in 2022. Whether the motivation is related to physical discomfort, emotional well-being, or medical concerns, patients contemplating breast reduction surgery should carefully consider several factors before deciding. In most cases, these questions can be answered by a specialist surgeon during the consultation for complete clarity.

This guide will look at certain considerations a person should make before undergoing breast reduction surgery, and how Stephen McCulley can help.

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Why do people undergo breast reduction surgery?

One of the most common reasons women seek breast reduction surgery is the physical discomfort and pain associated with excessively large breasts. This discomfort can manifest in various ways, including chronic neck and back pain, shoulder grooving from bra straps, and skin irritation under the breast crease. These issues can significantly affect the quality of life, making everyday activities and exercise more challenging.

scar position diagram

Larger breasts can also take a toll on both women’s and men’s mental health and emotional well-being. Many women with disproportionately large breasts may experience body image issues, self-esteem problems, and emotional distress due to unwanted attention and negative societal perceptions.

Similar to men, who may also feel embarrassed due to enlarged breast tissue, a condition known as gynaecomastia. In addition, male breast reduction (gynaecomastia) may not just be a cosmetic concern, but can be a medical issue, as it may be a result of a hormonal imbalance.

Find out more about why many people choose to have a breast reduction here.

What should you consider before breast reduction surgery?

Before undergoing breast reduction, you must be fully aware of what the surgery will involve and the various factors that may alter the decision. Patients should weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages and be informed of the challenges associated with the surgery; all of which can be discussed in depth with a specialist plastic surgeon.

Consider the following factors:

Significant changes to the body

Breast reduction surgery involves significant alterations to the size, shape, and appearance of the breast. Smaller breasts may result in a noticeable change in your overall body proportion and weight. This can be a positive aspect for those experiencing discomfort due to the weight of large breasts. However, it’s crucial to adjust to these new body proportions and understand how they may affect clothing fit and self-image.

Scarring and possibly the loss of nipple sensation

Like all surgical procedures, breast reduction leaves scars. Commonly used techniques include the anchor (or inverted T) incision, the vertical incision, and the periareolar (or doughnut) incision (rarely used in true breast reduction). The extent of scarring varies depending on the technique used and is mostly dictated by the size of the breast to begin with. Larger breats usually need the inverted T scar.

Some patients may experience changes in nipple sensation, which can be temporary or permanent.

Surgical risks

As with any surgery, there are inherent risks, including infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anaesthesia. Patients should discuss these risks with their surgeon.

May lose the ability to breastfeed

While not always the case, breast reduction surgery may affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed. Patients who plan to have children in the future should consider this.

The cost

Breast reduction with Stephen McCulley costs from £9,250. This price includes an in-depth pre-operative consultation and investigations, where medical tests may be undergone, and any questions about the surgery answered. The cost also consists of the operation, hospital stay and any further treatment required post-surgery. This involves all follow-up appointments, as well as any emergency treatments relating to the breast reduction within the first year.

Find out more about what is included in the breast reduction cost here.

Hard to get a breast reduction on the NHS

Due to NHS guidelines, those looking to undergo a breast reduction may need to meet specific criteria. This may also involve long waiting times due to high demand. Male breast reduction (gynaecomastia) is not normally available on the NHS.

Ensure you are speaking with your GP, who can advise you on your suitability for breast reduction on the NHS. In some cases, you may need to seek an alternative, such as paying for private treatment.

Find out more about breast reduction procedures with our expert guide here.

Are there any alternatives to breast reduction?

Before undergoing breast reduction surgery, patients may want to consider surgical and non-surgical alternatives.

For patients who are considering surgery due to discomfort, high-quality, supportive bras can help alleviate pain and reduce the appearance of breast size. They are particularly helpful for those who experience pain related to the weight of their breasts. Also, physical therapy exercises can strengthen the muscles that support the chest and back, potentially reducing pain and discomfort.

Other surgeries include a breast lift (mastopexy), which can help change the appearance of droopy breasts (ptosis), or liposuction, which treats areas that carry unwanted excess fat.

Ensure you are discussing your options with a specialist surgeon who will provide honest feedback and act with your best interests always in mind.

Stephen McCulley offers various surgical procedures and treatment options that address multiple issues.

Browse through all our procedures and treatments here.

How Stephen McCulley can help

The success and safety of breast reduction surgery depend significantly on choosing the right plastic surgeon. Ensure that you are comprehensively researching various specialist plastic and cosmetic surgeons with extensive breast reduction experience. Look at patient reviews and that the surgeon is board-certified in plastic surgery.

Stephen McCulley specialises in breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction, working extensively in cosmetic and plastic surgeries. Stephen and his medical team have performed various breast reduction surgeries, prioritising honesty to achieve realistic and aesthetically pleasing results.

Contact Stephen McCulley today to book your breast reduction consultation.

Frequently asked questions

What questions should you ask your plastic surgeon during the breast reduction surgery consultation?

During the breast reduction consultation, you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the surgery. Common queries include how long the surgery will take, what to wear before and after, and the best way to prepare for breast reduction surgery.

Find out more about how to prepare for breast reduction surgery here.

What is the difference between a breast reduction and a breast lift?

In both a mastopexy (breast lift) and a breast reduction, the nipple is raised, and the breast reshaped to appear more lifted. During both surgeries, there is a similar amount of scarring. No breast tissue is taken during a mastopexy; however, with a breast reduction, breast tissue is removed to reduce the size of the breast while maintaining the same pattern of scarring.

Find out more about a breast lift (mastopexy) here.

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