As the name suggests, breast reduction is designed to reduce the size of the breasts by removing excess skin and breast tissue. The procedure usually includes repositioning of the nipple and areola to give the finished breast a more natural look. Also known as reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction can be more than a cosmetic option for some women. Excessively large breasts can also cause uncomfortable physical symptoms like back and neck pain, skin irritation and discomfort during exercise.
Breast reduction offers the following benefits:
- Creates a more balanced body contour
- Reduces breasts to a more aesthetically pleasing size
- Creates a higher, firmer bust line
- Eliminates painful symptoms associated with very large breasts
Breast reduction may be performed alone or in combination with other procedures like abdominoplasty or liposuction to enhance the final result.
Breast Reduction Houston
How is Breast Reduction Performed?
Dr. Rappaport uses two different breast reduction incision techniques:
- The Wise pattern, also referred to as the anchor, involves an incision that circles the areola and extends vertically from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease. Another incision stretches horizontally across the breast crease.
- The circum-vertical or lollipop technique involves an incision that circles the areola and extends vertically from the areola to the breast crease.
Breast reduction is usually performed on an outpatient basis using general anesthesia. Through the selected incision, he will remove excess skin and tissue to create a smaller, more compact breast shape and size. The length of time for the procedure will vary, based on the amount of reduction to be done and whether other procedures will be performed at the same time.
What is the Recovery Like?
Breast reduction is considered more extensive surgery than an augmentation or lift. However, post-operative pain and swelling is minimal. You will receive a prescription for oral pain medication to keep you comfortable during the first few days. Your stitches will be removed one to two weeks after surgery. You can expect to go back to work within a few days, depending on the type of work you do. More strenuous activity is restricted longer to give the breasts ample time to heal.
Insurance Coverage for Breast Reduction Surgery
Although breast reduction is often considered cosmetic surgery, unlike other plastic surgery procedures, insurance coverage may be available for breast reduction. As a general rule, you must meet two conditions to qualify for breast reduction benefits:
- Breast reduction must be a covered expense under your insurance plan; and
- If your plan covers breast reduction, you must meet the plan’s criteria—and these requirements can vary greatly from one insurer to another.
Insurance companies will cover most procedures, including breast reduction, as long as it can be deemed “medically necessary.” However, criteria to determine medical necessity may vary from company to company. Some companies will base coverage decisions on how much tissue is removed from the breast in comparison to the patient’s actual size. Others require a minimum amount of tissue is removed for all patients, regardless of the patient’s body size.
The staff at Houston Center for Plastic Surgery can help you apply for insurance benefits prior to your breast reduction procedure. To help you get pre-certified for insurance benefits, we will measure your height and weight and calculate your body surface area. From that number, we will calculate the amount of tissue for the 22nd percentile and make a clinical judgment on whether we think you will meet the standard for coverage. We will then submit that information, along with required photographs, to your insurance company.
Dr. Rappaport Answers Questions about Breast Augmentation
How much scarring can I expect from breast reduction?
Breast reduction does produce more noticeable scars than breast augmentation, but the incision lines will fade over time. Because the scars are at the level of the nipples or below, they will be easily concealed under clothing—even under most swimsuits and low-cut tops.
Will my breasts ever grow big again?
Breast reduction is considered a permanent procedure. However, if you gain a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, it can affect the results of your surgery. It is very important to follow a healthy diet and exercise program after your breast reduction to help maintain your results.
Can a breast reduction improve nipple sensation?
In some cases, yes. The weight of a large, sagging breast can stretch the nerves to the point that there is no nipple sensation. If this is true for you, you might have sensation in your nipples after breast reduction surgery.
Can a nipple die?
Despite appropriate planning to maintain the circulation and nerve supply to the nipple when it is relocated, it is possible that the nipple can partially or completely die and/or sensation can be lost. This is very unlikely and if it did happen, there are reconstructive options.
Is there a minimum age for breast reduction?
No. Although there is no minimum age for breast reduction, it is a good idea to wait until a young woman’s breast growth is stabilized before having breast reduction surgery.
Breast reduction is a relatively common procedure that provides physical healing from painful symptoms as well as greater self-confidence. If breast reduction sounds like the right procedure for you, contact Houston Center for Plastic Surgery at 713-790-4500 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Rappaport.