Breast Reduction

About Breast Reduction

A breast reduction procedure is designed to reduce the size of large, heavy breasts by removing some of the breast tissue.

You may be contemplating breast reduction surgery if you feel your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body; if the weight of large breasts is causing medical problems such as back or neck pain, skin irritations, skeletal deformities, bad posture or breathing problems; or if large breasts are limiting your ability to do physical activity.

Whatever your reasons for considering a breast reduction, the outcome should mean smaller, lighter, firmer and more "lifted" breasts. This gives many women more confidence with the clothes they can wear and the activities they can enjoy. However, it is important that you are realistic about what you expect from this surgery and understand that results can vary significantly from patient to patient for a number of reasons.

Your Procedure

Surgical techniques are varied but the most common techniques used are either an "anchor" shaped or "lollipop" shaped incision that follows the natural contour of the breast. Excess skin and breast tissue is removed to produce a smaller, firmer breast and the nipple is often repositioned. The skin surrounding the nipple is then brought together to reshape the bust. Your stitches will usually be located around the nipple and in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple to the crease of the breast and in some cases along the length of the crease under the breast.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and normally takes 2 to 3 hours. Your total stay in hospital should be one to two days.

After Your Procedure

  • You may have drains from your breasts to help remove any excess fluid and aid the healing process. These are removed prior to your discharge from hospital.
  • Some pain or discomfort at your wound site and/or drain site can be expected. This will eventually settle and can be managed with oral pain medication.
  • To help with the prevention of blood clots forming in your legs, you will have been measured for TED stockings and compression sleeves (SCDs) prior to your operation. These are worn to the operating theatre and post-operatively. You are able to stop wearing the SCDs once you are comfortably mobile. The TED stockings are to be worn until you are discharged from hospital.
  • The garment for which you were measured up at your initial consultation will be put on you in theatre once your operation is complete. This must be worn continuously for six weeks to help keep the breasts supported.

At Home

  • You may notice some redness, swelling and bruising around the wound, which is normal.
  • You may have some pain around the wound sites, which is normal and will eventually settle. It can be managed with oral pain medication.
  • A small amount of discharge from the wounds is normal.
  • You will have dressings over your wound site. These should be left on until the two to three week post-op review. These dressings are waterproof, so there is no need to cover them to have a shower. However, if the dressings lift before the post-op review, please contact one of the clinic nurses.
  • You must continue to wear your garment for six weeks.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and unnecessary strain on your wounds for six weeks after surgery.
  • Make sure you remain mobile at home, going for short walks, etc.
  • Avoid driving for two weeks after surgery, and if necessary, only drive short distances until six weeks after surgery.
  • Post-operative lethargy is often experienced and can last for a month or more after your operation.
  • You should eat a nutritious diet high in vitamin C and drink plenty of water to help promote wound healing.
  • A post-op review will generally be carried out three weeks after your surgery.

Things To Look Out For

Surgery is not without its risks and we encourage all patients to be mindful of the warning signs that a complication may be developing. If you experience any of the following symptoms during your recovery, please contact us immediately.

  • Signs of infection such as; high temperature, heavy discharge from your wound site, an increase in redness or heat around your wound site, or a dramatic increase in pain that is not relieved by oral pain medication.
  • Increased swelling around your wound.
  • Nausea or vomiting which does not settle.

Outside of clinic hours, please contact your GP or closest emergency department.