|The Essential Facts*|
|Length of Procedure|
|3 – 4 hours|
|Day case or 1 night stay|
|Time off work|
|Getting back to normal/sport|
Really beautiful breasts are a rarity in the general population. But the media present these very exceptions as standard examples to us all.
Sagging breasts develop when a woman loses a lot of weight or breast feeds several children or after reaching menopause. The skin loses its elasticity and the glandular breast hangs down within its skin envelop. The reason for this is the temporary increase in breast volume which causes the skin to stretch. A ptotic or sagging breast refers to a breast where the nipple is located below the inframammary fold (the fold beneath the breast) with the patient standing up. Breast lifting removes the redundant skin and repositions the nipple-areola complex in a more “ideal” position. This remarkable procedure is designed to elevate and reshape the breast providing a youthful appearance. The price paid to achieve this lift is scars that are permanent although they usually become less obvious with time. A breast lift is sometimes performed in conjunction with breast augmentation.
A breast reduction operation is performed to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts and to enhance their shape so that they are more in proportion with her body. Breasts that are too large are not only an esthetic problem but a medical problem as patients with enormous breast suffer from chronic back and neck pain. Breast size and shape can affect a woman’s well being, self image, psyche and lifestyle. Although usually done for younger women, the operation may be done for women of any age.
How are these procedures performed?
There are twenty different surgical procedures for reduction and lifting. Preference is given to procedures that produce the least scars, preserve the nipple sensation and ability to breast feed.
The breast reduction procedure is performed in an operating theatre, almost always under general anaesthetic. You usually require a two day hospital stay, although for few patients, day case surgery is possible. The operation takes between three and four hours depending on what needs to be done. Prior to the operation, the incision lines and the new nipple and areolar position will be marked on your skin. Once asleep, the nipples and areolae will be moved to their new location, the excess breast tissue excised and the breasts shaped. The wounds are closed using dissolving stitches and a dressing applied. A small rubber drain may be used to remove any blood or fluid which may accumulate. An inverted T shape scar is the price paid for the reduction.
Breast Reduction and Lift : What are the possible complications?
Temporary side effects that may occur with both reductions and lifts include bruising, swelling, tightness or tenderness of the breasts, some degree of numbness and itching as the wounds heal. Most complications, if they occur, are usually minor and do not necessitate a return to the operating theatre.
For breast reduction there will be an inverted T shape scar, while for breast lifts a vertical scar is all what we usually produce. Both procedures create a fine scar around the areola. Usually, all scars gradually become less noticeable over six to twelve months after surgery.
The recovery period is about two to three weeks at which stage you can return to work. The breasts may be tender or numb for a few months after surgery. A tight-fitting bra must be worn for a few weeks. Sports activities should be avoided for two months and the patient must wear a sport bra for playing tennis, jogging or riding a bike. The effect of breast reduction and lifts are permanent and dramatic, but the breasts will continue to be subjected to the laws of gravity over many years to come.