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FAQ's Breast Reduction Surgery
How will I be assessed by my surgeon for the suitability of my breasts for a successful reduction? Dr Wilkinson will discuss your desired breast size and other improvements you may want made during the procedure with you during your personal consultation. At this point she will be able to give you an idea of how realistic and achievable your goals are, and advise you accordingly. Your breasts will be examined, measured and possibly photographed. She will take note of the size and shape of your breasts, skin quality and nipple and areola placement.
In addition you will be asked to disclose a full medical history including medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments, current medication and previous surgery. If you plan on losing a sufficient amount of weight Dr Wilkinson may advise you to book the procedure once your goal weight has been achieved.
Who is a good candidate? Breast reduction is not only performed for cosmetic improvement but is more commonly performed for physical relief of painful back, neck, shoulders and breasts. In most cases breast reduction isn't performed until a women's breasts are fully developed; however, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results.
What can I do to prepare myself for surgery? Dr Wilkinson will advise you to stop smoking if you are a smoker. You will also be advised to avoid certain medications which can increase bleeding prior to surgery. It is possible that she may recommend that you undergo a mammogram before the procedure is booked, especially in cases where there is risk factors for breast cancer such as a family history. Clinic staff will provide you with any additional pre-op instructions specific for your case. Enjoying a healthy eating and exercise regime before and after surgery will result in optimum results! (SEE GENERAL NOTES PREPARING FOR YOUR SURGERY)
How is the surgery performed? Your surgery will be performed at the Renaissance Surgical Clinic. Most patients are admitted as Day cases. Occasionally, the surgery may be done as an in-patient, in which case you can plan on staying for a day or two.
Breast reductionis performed under a conscious sedation, which will make you feel drowsy and relaxed, however you'll sleep through the entire operation and not be aware of the procedure. The advantage is however that you will wake up feeling refreshed without the side effects of a general anaesthesia. Occasionally I may use a general anaesthesia. In all cases a certified anaesthetist will be responsible for your wellbeing.
Breast reduction usually takes 2-4 hours. In the course of the procedure, fat, glandular tissue, and skin is removed from the breasts to make them smaller, lighter, and firmer. If necessary the size of the areola can be reduced for cosmetic reasons. The incisions are made around the pigmented nipple-areola complex, extending down below the nipple and into the breast fold. (anchor or lollipop incisions). Next, the nipple-areola complex is repositioned to the desired location and the incisions are covered with a light dressing. In some cases liposuction of the underarm region is performed to reduce excess fat deposits.
Following surgery you will be advised to wear a surgical bra to maintain symmetry during the initial healing period. While there may be some initial discomfort this is expected to decrease daily and oral medication can be used to manage this. You may anticipate that the scars will fade within 6 to 18 months. While you may still be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction this ability may be affected. Discuss any concerns you have regarding this with your surgeon during the consultation period.
When can I expect to resume normal activities? In most cases it is possible for patients to resume work within 2 weeks of breast surgery unless the nature of the work is excessively strenuous. You may also resume exercise, starting slowly, within a few weeks. Follow Dr. Wilkinson's advice. It is normal to experience mild discomfort periodically but severe pain must be reported immediately. Sexual activity may be resumed after a minimum one-week period but you will be advised to handle the breasts gently for the following six weeks. If you have any concerns or questions regarding specific activities and time frames, check with your surgeon.
How long can I expect the results to last? The new breast shape should remain constant for a number of years unless your weight changes dramatically. You should anticipate that aging and gravity will eventually impact all breasts and it is possible to undergo a breast uplift in later years to restore a more youthful contour of the figure.
What are the risks? The good news is that major complications following breast reductions are rare if performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. However there is always some risk with any form of surgery and it is important to be make an informed decision before going under the knife. Potential complications include bleeding, infection and negative reactions to anaesthetic medication. In addition your breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical and nipple height may vary slightly between the two breasts. It is worth remembering that natural breasts also show some variation. In rare instances a permanent loss of sensation may occur. Scarring fades but may permanently remain visible, however usually concealed by clothing. In the unlikely event of damage to or loss of the nipple and / or areola, these are usually reconstructed using skin grafts. Some patients may experience a change in sensation of their nipples. Also future breast feeds could be affected since the surgery removes some of the milk ducts Following the pre- and post-operative advice of Dr. Wilkinson will lower your risks of complications even further.
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