Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction Surgery

Renowned cosmetic surgeon Ronald Schuster, MD works with each patient to determine which options are appropriate for them. At his Baltimore area office, breast reduction patients can enjoy natural-looking, attractive results thanks to his advanced surgical skill and unique personal approach to treatment planning.*

Purpose of Breast Reduction Surgery:

  • To relieve back, neck, and shoulder pain if due to weight of breasts
  • To correct excess sagging and reduce breast size
  • To make it easier to examine breasts physically and by x-ray
  • To correct asymmetry of breasts

Breast Reduction Surgery Techniques and Limitations:

  • Breast reduction cannot be achieved without visible scars; however, every effort will be made to make your scars heal as discreetly as possible
  • Asymmetry – most women are at least slightly asymmetrical, and symmetry may not be achieved with the breast reduction procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Schuster can help you understand what to expect from surgery.
  • Generalized obesity cannot be corrected and stretch marks cannot be corrected
  • Back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by problems such as arthritis cannot be corrected

Recuperation After Breast Reduction Surgery:

  • The vast majority of patients at our Baltimore area center are extremely satisfied with their breast reduction surgery and experience minimal discomfort.
  • Temporary side effects may include discomfort (pain/sensitivity), discoloration/swelling, numbness, tightness, lumps/irregularities, restricted activities.
  • Permanent side effects may include scars, asymmetry (may be partially corrected with minor surgery), loss of function, nipple/areola may intentionally be made smaller
  • Subsequent breast sagging may occur as the result of aging, loss of skin elasticity, the effect of gravity in the remaining breast tissue, and weight gain or loss.
  • Re-development of breast tissue following reduction has been reported but is rare.

Breast Reduction Surgery Alternatives:

  • No treatment
  • Weight reduction (diet & exercise) – breast tissue usually not affected by weight loss
  • Support garments – usually help but do not correct basic problem
  • Liposuction (Suction lipectomy) – removes fat and some glandular tissue but skin does not usually shrink that much. As a result the appearance of the breast may not appear “lifted” as with traditional breast reduction surgery. Excellent option for older women who are less concerned about appearance of breast and primarily concerned about the pains that that the breasts are causing. Sometimes also an excellent choice for young women in their late teens or early 20’s whose skin is very “tight” and may shrink up nicely
  • Surgical resection – takes care of both the extra breast tissue and extra skin

General Breast Reduction Information:

  • Realistic expectations are the key to success
  • Discomfort and restriction of activity due to excessive size and weight of breasts are the most common complaints that cause patients to seek breast reduction
  • Appearance in mirror, photographs, and clothing are also important factors that can be improved with breast reduction surgery

Conditions/Diagnosis: Mammary Hypertrophy (disproportionately large & heavy breasts)

  • The breast is a complex combination of breast (milk producing) tissue, fat and skin
  • Size is affected by puberty/adolescent growth/pregnancy/menopause
  • Excess weight on chest may affect posture and cause back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Weight on bra straps may cause painful shoulder grooving
  • With normal aging, breast weight may become increasingly difficult to tolerate
  • Sagging may produce skin irritation
  • Difficulty in adequately examining breasts for cancer detection

Breast Reduction Surgery and Cancer:

  • No increase or decrease in incidence of breast cancer after reduction mammaplasty
  • Need for life-long follow up for cancer detection as usual
  • Mammogram may be recommended prior to surgery to determine if any areas of suspicion are present that should be biopsied (removed & examined microscopically) prior to or during breast reduction surgery
  • Mammogram usually recommended approximately one year after reduction to establish “base line” for later reference

Risks and Complications Associated with Breast Reduction Surgery:

  • Bleeding/blood collection – see breast reduction care instructions for more details
  • Asymmetry
  • Infection
  • Loss of pigmentation (skin/nipple/areola)
  • Wound separation (incisions do not heal) – there is an increased risk of wound separation in smokers. It is essential to eliminate smoking for 2 weeks before and after your breast reduction surgery
  • Numbness/pain in nipple or surrounding skin
  • Nipple retraction/poor contour
  • Tissue loss* (failure to survive surgery) – can include skin (small areas at juncture of incisions not uncommon – rarely larger areas), nipple/areola, and/or breast tissue (tissue inside breast – can cause asymmetry)
  • Breast lumps due to scarring or changes in fat (fat necrosis) which may require later removal
  • Excessive scarring (rare-elevated, “ropey”; improves with time but may take up to 2 years)
  • Delayed healing

EVEN THOUGH THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS CITED ABOVE OCCUR INFREQUENTLY, THEY ARE THE RISKS THAT ARE PECULIAR TO BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY OR OF GREATEST CONCERN. OTHER COMPLICATIONS AND RISKS CAN OCCUR BUT ARE EVEN MORE UNCOMMON. THE RISKS OF SURGERY ARE COMPARABLE TO THE RISKS YOU TAKE EVERYDAY WHEN DRIVING OR RIDING IN AN AUTOMOBILE.

ANY AND ALL OF THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS CAN RESULT IN:

  • Additional Surgery
  • Time Off From Work
  • Hospitalization
  • Expense to You

INSURANCE USUALLY COVERS BREAST REDUCTION. PRE-AUTHORIZATION WILL BE OBTAINED BY THE STAFF AT OUR BALTIMORE CENTER BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY.

Learn more about Breast Reduction care

Contact Baltimore plastic surgeon Ronald Schuster, MD to learn more about breast reduction surgery or to schedule an initial consultation.

*Individual results may vary