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Breast Reduction

(Reduction Mammaplasty)

What Is Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is a plastic surgery procedure designed to reduce the size of disproportionately large breasts by removing fat, glandular tissue, and excessive skin. Ultimately, patients are able to attain smaller, lighter, and firmer breasts that are better-shaped in proportion to the rest of the body. Breast reduction surgery is also commonly performed to restore symmetry between the breasts when one breast is much larger than the other. Following breast reduction, your breasts will be more proportional to the rest of your body, and clothes will fit you better.

Who Is a Candidate for Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Childbirth and breastfeeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts.

Typical breast reduction candidates have large, pendulous breasts that may cause them to potentially experience various medical problems caused by the excessive weight of the breast tissue. Problems with posture, skeletal deformities, back and neck pain, skin irritations, and breathing problems are common with this condition. Bra straps often leave indentations in the shoulder area.

Breast reduction usually can significantly improve these problems as well as improve the size and shape of your breasts. Because of the symptoms associated with very large breasts, the breast reduction procedure is generally considered a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure and may be covered by most insurance plans. Many women, especially teenage girls, are very self-conscious if they have disproportionately large breasts.

A consultation with Dr. Joseph DiBello will help you determine if you are a candidate for breast reduction surgery. At that time, our plastic surgeon will discuss your personal concerns involved in the surgery.

How Is the Breast Reduction Procedure Performed?

The goal of the breast reduction procedure is to not only reduce the overall size of the breast proportionate to the patient’s body, but also provide a lifting of the breast. To achieve this, Dr. DiBello will carefully place incisions around the areola and along the bottom portion of the breast. The precise incision technique used will be determined based on your individual case, but Dr. DiBello finds that some degree of a horizontal (“inverted T” or “anchor”) incision is usually required to provide more predictable shaping. A circular incision is made around the nipple and areola, resizing the areola as needed to be proportionate to the new breast size, but leaving the nipple attached to the original nerve and blood supply. During the procedure, excess skin, glandular tissue, and fat are removed. The nipple is raised to a higher, more youthful position, and remaining breast tissue is skillfully sculpted into an optimal shape. Dr. DiBello does not use liposuction to remove excess fat, but rather will directly, and more precisely, remove the excess side (axillary) fat for improved contour. This allows him to limit the length of the horizontal crease incision to stay within the borders of the breast, helping to avoid creating visible scars on the inner or outer side of the breast that can potentially be seen in the future while wearing a bra or bathing suit top. Skin is then tightened and closed, ultimately resulting in a circular incision around the areola, and a vertical incision extending down from the areola connecting to the horizontal incision in the fold.

If you are interested in learning more about how this procedure is performed, we encourage you to view our breast reduction 3D animation.

What Is Recovery from Breast Reduction Like?

Dr. DiBello performs all of his breast reduction surgeries at the hospital, and with the exception of cosmetic (and therefore smaller) reductions, which can be done as an outpatient, he will have you stay overnight. Spending the night at the hospital will allow you to have medication for pain you otherwise could not receive at home, and results in a dramatic reduction in the need for narcotics when you go home the next day. Drains are only occasionally required, but when used will be removed before you are discharged. There will be no stitches to be removed since all incisions are closed with absorbable sutures. You can shower within 48 hours, and usually drive within three days after surgery. Generally, one week off from work is adequate, except for patients whose jobs require heavy lifting or wearing special equipment. Most patients are able to return to light activities within their regular schedule approximately two weeks after breast reduction surgery. Dr. DiBello advises patients to avoid intense exercise or other strenuous activity for several additional weeks. Prior to surgery, he can provide you with more specific guidelines, according to your personalized treatment plan. Swelling and bruising can be expected, but these effects typically dissipate relatively quickly. The team at DiBello Plastic Surgery will give you information and instructions for applying compression to the side of the breast (axillary area), which is necessary to control swelling and aid in contouring. Any minor discomfort experienced during recovery should be able to be managed quite well with medication, as prescribed by Dr. DiBello.

To achieve the best possible results, it is imperative that you carefully follow Dr. DiBello’s aftercare instructions and return to our office for your scheduled follow-up appointments.

What Will My Breast Reduction Scars Look Like?

Scarring after breast reduction surgery is unavoidable—however, Dr. DiBello strategically places all necessary incisions in a way that can result in relatively inconspicuous scars. Although most breast reductions are performed with an “inverted T” or “anchor” incision (encircles the areola and moves vertically down the lower portion of breast, towards and connecting to a horizontal incision in the breast crease), Dr. DiBello will select the most appropriate incision pattern for your unique needs. Regardless of the technique employed for your breast reduction, heeding all post-operative care guidelines can help scars successfully fade and soften. Ultimately, though, most breast reduction patients are so happy with their results, they are not concerned about any residual scarring.

How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost?

Many health insurance plans cover breast reduction surgery if the breasts are disproportionately large and causing symptoms. At your initial consultation, if Dr. DiBello determines that you meet the criteria for insurance coverage, authorization from your insurer for the surgery will need to be obtained. This will require a letter and the submission of photographs. Once an authorization is obtained, you will be able to schedule your surgery. You will be responsible for any co-pays or deductible required by your insurer. If your health plan does not cover breast reduction, you may decide to pay for the surgery yourself.

The average starting cost of most non-insurance covered, or cosmetic, breast reduction surgeries performed by DiBello Plastic Surgery is approximately $7,000, but this price can vary depending on your individual treatment plan. This estimate includes several factors that can impact the overall cost, such as hospital fees, anesthesia, prescribed medications, pre-admission testing, Dr. DiBello’s fee, and more.

While conducting research on breast reduction cost, it is important to be aware that most websites only quote the surgeon’s fee. The average price noted above is based on the actual final cost, which includes many variables (as previously mentioned).

To obtain a more personalized price quote, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiBello.

Contact Us

Curious to see if you are a candidate for breast reduction? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiBello.

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