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Breast reduction

Who typically has a breast reduction?

Mr Morritt most frequently performs breast reduction in Sheffield for patients:

  • who want to reduce the size of their large breasts
  • with differently sized breasts (breast asymmetry) to reduce the size of the larger breast
  • who have had breast reconstruction and want to improve the symmetry between their breasts

 

Common problems related to large breasts

Multiple factors influence the size of a persons breasts including genetics, hormones and body weight.  People with large breasts frequently experience a variety of problems related to the size of their breasts.

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Physical symptoms

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Breast pain
  • Breast drooping
  • Bra straps digging in and leaving grooves on the shoulders
  • Sweating in the crease under the breast causing skin irritation
  • Difficulty getting clothes to fit
  • Difficulty experienced in undertaking exercise or participating in sports

Emotional problems

  • Self consciousness about having large breasts
  • Experienced people ‘talking to’ their breasts and not to their faces
  • Due to unwanted attention or unpleasant comments relating to the size of the patient’s breasts
  • Low self esteem

 

Breast reduction – procedure

Mr Morritt performs breast reduction at the Claremont and Thornbury Private Hospitals in Sheffield. He also performs breast reduction for NHS patients at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. The are a number of different methods of performing a breast reduction depending on your size and shape.  The most common techniques used involve surgical removal of excess skin and breast tissue followed by reshaping and lifting of the breasts and nipples.

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The surgery is usually performed under General anaesthesia and involves on overnight stay (or in some cases 2 nights stay) in hospital. Generally the blood and nerve supply to the nipples is maintained by leaving a stalk of breast tissue attached to the chest wall (this is called the pedicle). The nipples are then lifted to their new higher position. The excess skin and breast tissue are removed and the remaining breast tissue reshaped and stitched together. In a few rare cases where patients are undergoing massive breast reductions it is sometimes necessary to completely separate the nipples from the body and then replace them in their new position (this is called a free nipple graft procedure).  Liposuction can be performed to remove excess fat from the armpit area if necessary.

 

The scars from the surgery can differ depending on how much excess skin and breast tissue are removed. There is always a scar around the areolar (because the size of the areolar is almost always reduced as part of a breast reduction) and a scar running from the areolar to the crease under the breast (this is often called a lollipop scar). In many patients who have larger breast reductions or have a lot of spare skin on their breasts, it is usually necessary to add an additional scar that runs in the crease under the breast (this is called an inverted ‘t’ scar or ‘anchor scar’).  Surgical drains are usually placed into each breast at the end of the procedure to help suck the tissues together and also to drain any blood or inflammatory fluid that may otherwise accumulate within the breast. The drains are generally removed before patients go home. Patients are given a support garment to wear for 6 weeks following the surgery in order to protect the breasts as they heal.

 

In some rare cases, patients who have very fatty breasts (typically the elderly) may be suitable for breast reduction using liposuction where fat is sucked out of the breasts to reduce their size. This avoids the typical scarring of the more commonly performed breast reduction procedures but is limited in that no skin is removed and the breasts themselves are therefore not lifted the same degree as when skin is removed.

 

Recovery after breast reduction

People heal at different rates with the young and fit usually healing faster than the elderly or those with other medical problems. It typically takes approximately two weeks to fully heal from breast reduction surgery and we therefore generally recommend taking two weeks off work as a minimum to allow time to heal from surgery. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for 6 weeks following surgery.

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The breasts immediately following surgery will be a different shape and slightly higher than their expected final shape and position which can take around 6 to 9 months to develop.  We advise patients to avoid wearing underwired bras until the feeling returns to the skin under the breast which is usually 6 to 8 weeks following surgery.

 

Breast reduction – frequently asked questions

Mr Morritt answers a number of frequently asked questions about breast reduction surgery on the Claremont Private Hospital, Sheffield website. Read more.

 

Can I breastfeed after breast reduction surgery?

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Some patients are able to breast feed after breast reduction surgery however, as the procedure itself involves removing part of the breast gland itself (where breast milk is made), it is not possible to guarantee that patients will be able to breastfeed after surgery.  If retaining the potential (some women who have not had surgery are unable to breastfeed) ability to breast feed is very important to you, we recommend delaying the surgery until you have completed your family.

 

Breast reduction – risks of surgery

Breast reduction is a very frequently performed procedure and the vast majority of patients having the surgery heal without significant problems.  Mr Morritt has incorporated a number of safety modifications into his practice to reduce the risks for patients having surgery.  Patients should understand that as with any other surgical procedure, there are potential risks with breast reduction surgery.

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Bleeding causing haematoma (a collection of blood) – this can affect up to 1 in 10 patients and occurs more frequently in patients with high blood pressure.

Poor scarring – thickened & raised (hypertrophic/keloid) scars, stretched

Altered nipple sensitivity – includes permanent numbness

Nipple loss – very rare but more common in smokers

Delayed wound healing

Breast/nipple asymmetry

Overcorrection/undercorrection

Fat necrosis (lumpiness)

Numbness

DVT/PE

Risks of general anaesthesia

Cup size – it is impossible to guarantee a particular Bra cup size following surgery

 

Breast reduction useful links

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