What is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction is a procedure performed to make the breasts smaller, lighter, and more comfortable. This is accomplished by removing excess breast tissue, skin, and fat, allowing the breasts to be tightened and reshaped. While some women who consider breast reduction experience uncomfortable symptoms from their macromastia (excessive breast tissue), many individuals simply want more manageable breasts. As an adjunctive benefit of breast reduction, surgery can provide a “lifting” effect to some extent and make the bust look more youthful and rejuvenated.
On top of helping alleviate the burdens of large, heavy breasts, breast reduction also allows patients to attain a breast size that’s more proportional to their body frame. In this way, breast reduction can be performed for functional and/or cosmetic reasons depending on each person’s concerns. If your breast size is affecting your health or diminishing your quality of life, medical insurance can sometimes provide coverage for part (or all) of the procedure costs.
Why Do Women Choose Breast Reduction?
An excessively large breast size can be associated with a myriad of physical and psychological challenges. The extra weight from your breasts can make it difficult to lead an active life or prevent you from engaging in certain recreational activities due to discomfort. Among the physical burdens often caused by large breasts include:
- Neck and back pain
- Restriction of strenuous physical activity
- Breathing problems
- Shoulder pain from bra straps
- Irritation or rashes under the breasts
- Poor posture
In addition to physical problems, overly large breasts can cause mental and social concerns, such as:
- Low self-esteem
- Discomfort during intimacy
- Discomfort when your breasts are the first thing people notice about you
- A negative self-image
- Trouble finding clothes that fit comfortably or appropriately
Although the information above offers some of the most common reasons why patients choose to undergo breast reduction, the procedure can be performed even if you do not experience any of the preceding symptoms and simply want more proportional breast contours.
Who Is a Candidate for Breast Reduction?
You may be a good candidate for a breast reduction procedure if your breasts are the cause of significant discomfort as well as possible health problems. If you feel you’re being held back by your breast size, whether due to physical reasons or general self-consciousness, this can be an indication that you would benefit from breast reduction. In addition, those considering surgery should also be near their ideal weight and healthy enough to undergo the recovery period. If you smoke, it’s essential that you refrain from tobacco use for several weeks before and after your procedure. This helps ensure you receive the best quality of results from breast reduction and greatly reduces the risk of surgical complications.
What are the Potential Benefits of Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction surgery can be extremely rewarding. Many patients find that their chronic pain is significantly reduced or eliminated, and they feel much more comfortable going out in public and being intimate. In addition, clothes fit much better, and many women are excited to be able to wear things like tank tops, bandeau tops, and bikinis comfortably and confidently.
After a breast reduction surgery, women can expect to:
- Find bras that fit well much more easily
- Reduce pain from bra straps digging into shoulders
- Be able to lay on their stomachs more easily
- Achieve better posture and health
- Be able to exercise more comfortably
Being able to exercise easily and comfortably is a big step in leading a healthy lifestyle. With the reduced pain, increased mobility, and better posture that comes along with breast reduction, many women find that their overall health improves, leading to an improvement in overall quality of life as well. Take a look at some of our breast reduction before-and-after photos to see what kind of results you can expect.
How is the Breast Reduction Procedure Performed?
Breast reduction surgery in Philadelphia is performed under either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Dr. Bottger will discuss which option is best for you during your consultation.
During the procedure, excess fat, tissue, and skin is removed, and the nipple is repositioned higher on the breast. The breast is reshaped, and the incisions are closed. Dr. Bottger has years of experience performing breast reduction procedures, and he is able to create and close incisions in such a way as to result in scars that are as inconspicuous as possible.
After your breast reduction, your breasts will be swollen for a few weeks to a few months. After the swelling subsides, your breast size should remain stable. Factors that may cause your breasts to change in size after breast reduction can include:
- Significant weight gain or loss
To learn more about the breast reduction procedure, please ask Dr. Bottger during your consultation.
What is Recovery From Breast Reduction Like?
Dr. Bottger will monitor your recovery in regular follow-up appointments after your procedure. Although the nature of the healing process will vary for each patient, most women who undergo breast reduction report that their recovery period is very tolerable and feel strong enough to resume light daily activities within a few days.
After your breast surgery, you should follow all of Dr. Bottger’s instructions in order to ensure proper healing. Each individual heals at a different rate, but generally you can expect to return to work within a week. If your work is physically demanding, you may need to take more time off. It can take up to six months for all swelling to resolve after breast reduction, although the majority of inflammation should dissipate within a few weeks.
There will be some pain after breast reduction surgery, but this can be managed with the prescription medications Dr. Bottger will prescribe. Most patients only need these medications for three to five days following surgery.
Staying upright and sleeping at an angle can help manage swelling, although you should expect to be swollen for around two weeks before it starts to subside. Residual swelling from a breast reduction can last for a few months, but is nothing to worry about.
Exercise After Surgery
Dr. Bottger usually recommends light walking immediately after surgery. This helps improve blood circulation and can greatly assist the healing process. Most patients can resume light exercise after two weeks. Strenuous exercise and weight lifting can usually be resumed after four to six weeks, but you should check with Dr. Bottger first to make sure you are okay to resume a more intensive exercise routine.
If you are concerned about anything during any time during your breast reduction recovery in Philadelphia, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Bottger with any questions or to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure you are healing well.
5-Star Average Rating
Dr. Bottger made my breast reduction experience the best it could possibly be! I had the operation just two days ago and am already so impressed with the results. He and his team are incredibly kind, caring and professional. They do everything they can to answer any and all questions/concerns. I would recommend him to anyone!.
How Long Does Breast Reduction Last?
Breast reduction is designed to provide lifetime results, as the procedure permanently removes excess skin and glandular tissue. It’s important to remember that the natural aging process will continue and may affect the breast contours, but the appearance of the breasts should not change drastically as long as you maintain a stable weight. After breast reduction, patients are generally elated with their new, more comfortable breast size. It’s not uncommon for women to adopt a more active lifestyle after breast reduction, the positive effects of which can be enjoyed indefinitely. In many cases, the health concerns previously caused by overly large breasts are completely resolved.
Will I Have Noticeable Breast Reduction Scars?
As with any surgical procedure, breast reduction surgery does leave some scarring. However, Dr. Bottger always does his best to create minimal scars that will heal well, and the majority of women find that a small amount of scarring is worth the overall benefits of a breast reduction.
The breast reduction scar is typically an anchor shape, with the following components:
- A circular scar around the areola
- A vertical line from the areola to the lower breast fold
- A horizontal line in the fold which can vary in length depending on the technique used
Initially, breast reduction scars will appear red, but they will slowly fade over time until reaching their final appearance around a year after surgery. Most patients will end up with faint, barely noticeable scars, although there is always the possibility of more visible scars. If you are one of the few to end up with irregular scarring, there are options available to help reduce their appearance.
While you should expect somewhat visible scars, the benefits of breast reduction surgery generally outweigh the downside of scarring. Most women find their new breasts to be much more manageable and comfortable, with a greatly improved shape and firmness. Scars often seem minor in comparison to these benefits.
How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost?
While statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) list the national average surgeon’s fee for breast reduction as approximately $5,913, this figure does not represent the total costs of surgery. The price of breast reduction includes fees for the anesthesia, surgical facility, and similar expenses, and the overall cost is personalized based on:
- The type of incision and surgical techniques utilized to achieve your goals
- The extent of your concerns
- The overall complexity of your procedure
- Applicable insurance coverage
You will receive a cost estimate from our office after your consultation with Dr. Bottger. We invite you to ask about our plastic surgery financing options, which are accepted via CareCredit®. If you’re accepted through the quick application process, CareCredit® can allow qualified patients to pay for their breast reduction in low, interest-free installments. Please call our practice if you would like to learn more about the general cost of breast reduction.
Does the Nipple Need to Be Removed During Breast Reduction?
Generally, the nipple does not need to be removed during a breast reduction procedure. It is left attached to a mound of underlying breast tissue and repositioned a bit higher. However, in cases involving extreme breast size, it is often safer to use a technique in which the nipple is completely removed in order to reposition it.
If you are concerned about nipple removal during a breast reduction procedure, discuss your concerns with Dr. Bottger during your consultation. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Nipple Sensation Following Breast Reduction
Some women may experience a temporary change in nipple sensation following a breast reduction surgery. The nipple may become numb, or in some cases sensation may increase. This can last for anywhere between six weeks to six months.
Permanent partial or complete loss of sensation may occur, but it is very rare and most often happens when the nipple needs to be entirely removed during surgery.
Can You Breastfeed After a Breast Reduction?
Most patients will still be able to breast feed following a breast reduction surgery. As long as the nipple remains attached to a significant amount of breast tissue, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, the amount of tissue needing to be removed will vary from person to person, and it is possible in some cases to have difficulty breast feeding after surgery.
In rare cases involving very large removals, the nipple will need to be completely detached before being repositioned and reattached as a graft. If you require this type of breast reduction, then unfortunately you will not be able to breast feed afterward.
Is Breast Reduction Covered By Insurance?
Unlike most cosmetic surgery procedures, breast reduction can be covered by insurance. Check with your insurance company, as criteria for breast reduction coverage varies between insurance companies.
During your initial consultation, a detailed history is taken, examination performed, and photographs taken. A letter and photographs are then sent to your insurance carrier for approval. This approval can take up to a month, so be patient during this time.
Insurance companies are more likely to cover your breast reduction procedure if you can prove that it is being done for health reasons rather than cosmetic. Documented health conditions that can qualify as reasons for a breast reduction can include:
- Back and neck pain
- Grooves in your shoulders or back from bra straps
- Breathing problems
- Restriction of physical activity
- Irritation or rashes under the breasts
Schedule Your Breast Reduction Consultation Today
If your breasts are uncomfortably large and you’d like to reduce their size, contact Dr. Bottger at 610-355-1929 to schedule your initial consultation. He will walk you through your options and what to expect, and answer your questions.
Dr. Bottger serves patients in Newtown Square, Philadelphia, and other nearby areas of Pennsylvania.