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The Truth About Breast Reduction

Busty woman's cleavage in a black and white striped topBreast reduction surgery, also known as “reduction mammaplasty,” is a highly effective procedure that removes excess breast tissue in order to alleviate the symptoms and manifestations of overly large breasts. These include neck, back, and shoulder pain, skin rashes, postural changes, and infections. Women often refrain from engaging in physical activities because of the discomfort or embarrassment resulting from overly large breasts. Although many desire to rid themselves of these ailments, some are afraid to seriously consider surgery for a variety of reasons.

Breast reduction surgery is an extremely satisfying procedure, both physically and mentally. So, to help potential patients understand the procedure better, here are answers to many of the frequently asked questions I hear regarding breast reduction surgery:

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

Candidates for breast reduction surgery are women who have overly large breasts that cause pain, discomfort, embarrassment, postural changes, and inhibit them from engaging in activities because of physical or emotional discomfort. Ideal candidates are in good health, not significantly overweight, and do not smoke.

Will insurance cover the cost of this surgery?

Most health insurance companies have coverage for breast reduction surgery, though the criteria for approval differs among them. Often there is a minimum weight needed to be removed from each breast that is related to a woman’s specific weight. Frequently, evidence of failed physical therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic treatments are required in order to be able to secure insurance approval.

Each policy is different, so patients should check with their insurance provider to determine their eligibility for coverage. Some health insurance policies have a specific exclusion for breast reduction coverage.

What type of anesthesia is used?

General anesthesia is usually used for breast reduction surgery.

How long does the surgery last?

Breast reduction surgery generally takes between two and four hours to perform depending on multiple factors, with the average around three hours.

Where are the incisions placed?

The incisions are usually in an inverted-T or anchor shape, extending from around the nipple down to the breast crease, and then along the crease. There are other approaches used less frequently, but, in my opinion, there are often substantial trade-offs in the overall aesthetic result.

How soon will I be able to return to work?

Most patients are able to return to work within four to seven days following surgery, though this is dependent on several factors, including the nature of the job and whether there are requirements for heavy lifting and intense physical work. Strenuous exercise and activities as well as heavy lifting should not be resumed until at least three to four weeks after surgery.

I strive to provide my breast reduction patients with breasts that have an attractive shape, size, and symmetry with minimal scarring. This is facilitated by a variety of factors in order to help them obtain the best possible outcomes.

For more information or to schedule a consultation at my Arizona practice, please call (480) 451-3000 or fill out our online contact form today.