Excessive breast volume (hypermastia) can cause some patients an incredible amount of pain and discomfort. Breast Reduction is a reconstructive procedure, which has significant cosmetic benefits because it includes not only reduction of excess breast tissue, skin, and downsizing of areolar complexes but also a lift, which can produce breasts which are more attractive and in proportion to your frame. Proportionate breasts allow for a more active lifestyle, resulting in patients who are healthier and happier, and who are excited that their clothes begin to fit better too.
Candidates for a breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty) most likely have a history of experiencing functional impairment of the following systems:
- Musculoskeletal: shoulder, neck, arm, back pain
- Dermatological: heat rash and/or friction from the weight of the breasts over the rib cage and/or bra strap grooving
- Respiratory: postural changes and loading of heavy breasts may impede breathing, which in turn limits physical activity
- Psychological: dissatisfaction with body image because of limitation of clothing & decreased self-esteem.
Breast reduction techniques have improved vastly and can be offered to any woman, provided she enjoys good health, is not obese, is a nonsmoker, and has realistic expectations. Younger women are advised that they may experience “regrowth” of their breasts after pregnancy and their ability to lactate should not be compromised.
Reduction mammoplasty are scheduled under monitored anesthesia care (when scheduled in our private Newport Beach surgical suite) or general anesthesia (for those cases scheduled for surgery at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach). This procedure generally requires four hours. Goals include:
- Preservation of the blood and nerve supply to the nipple-areolar complex;
- Reduction of excess breast tissue and skin; c) reduction of areolar complex diameter;
- Equalization of volumes of breasts & position of nipples;
- Creation of a more attractive, rounder, higher breast mound;
- Providing acceptable scars;
- Minimizing the risk of fat necrosis;
- Sending resected breast tissue to Pathology for analysis. Drains are rarely used.
Patients are pleasantly surprised that post-op pain isn’t as extensive as they may have imagined. Generally, most patients wean off pain medications, within 3-5-days. We make recommendations for activity restriction, wound care, and supportive bras, which should be worn for a minimum of 2-4 weeks, postoperatively. No external sutures are utilized. The average time to return to normal activity 7-10 days and full exercise 30 days.
Dr. Lavinia K. Chong is deeply committed to providing optimal care for her patients to ensure that they are able to make informed decisions and understand all of the options available. She will be happy to personally consult with you to help guide you to the best treatment plan to fulfill your goals.
Breast Reduction FAQS
Can I view photos of other breast reduction patients?
Yes! Some patients have allowed their photos to be viewed online in our Before & After Breast Reduction Gallery. Additional photos are available to view at our Newport Beach office during your breast consultation with Dr. Chong.
Can you guarantee my cup size?
Cup size varies according to bra manufacturer and guaranteeing a cup size is impractical if not impossible. Ideally, a breast reduction will resolve symptoms, reshape the breast & be proportionate with the patient’s build.
Can you change the size/ location of my nipples?
Yes. The diameter of the NAC (nipple-areolar complex), as well as the location of the nipples, are positioned to a more superior position in a breast reduction. There are at least 4 different techniques for breast reduction, which are based on conserving both the nerve and blood supply.
Will my breasts grow again?
Generally, the female breasts develop under hormonal stimulation, which occurs during puberty, pregnancy/lactation, and menopause. It is always advisable to inform breast reduction patients that they may experience a certain amount of “regrowth” during these phases, as well as periods of weight gain.
Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Orange County patients must understand that insurance companies generally will only cover surgeries to correct congenital anomalies, traumatic, post-oncologic (cancer), and functionally impacting conditions. Breast reduction surgery is intended to alleviate “symptomatic macromastia”, however, this diagnosis must be established by patient history, physical exam, letters of support from other physicians (Dermatologists, Orthopedic surgeons, Pain management), and verification of “failure” of conservative measures, such as Chiropractor, Massage therapy and/or use of supportive bras. Pre-authorization letters, including photos, must be submitted and acknowledged, prior to scheduling surgery. Any procedures being covered by insurance (whether with an in-network or out-of-network designation) will be performed as an outpatient surgery through Hoag Memorial Hospital of Newport Beach. Please advise your patient coordinator of insurance information at the time of scheduling your consultation.
Can you see if I have breast cancer?
Not really, although all excess breast tissue is sent to Pathology to be examined for breast cancer. It is impossible to completely inventory and clear the breast tissue, which is reshaped during a breast reduction, without interrupting blood and nerve supply. Occult breast cancers are rarely encountered unless the breast reduction is in excess of 700gm/side.
Will I be able to breastfeed?
Conservation of lactation potential is done by preserving blood, nerve, and lactiferous duct structure by careful design and surgical technique.
When can/should I get a mammogram?
Pre-op mammograms are recommended for women who are over 40, have a family history of breast cancer, and/or have discrete palpable masses. Post-op mammograms should be delayed at least a year. Occasionally palpable masses may be appreciated, post-op; these usually represent areas of fat, which have lost their blood supply, fat necrosis. The body will routinely “dissolve” these masses, however, ultrasound is useful to make the diagnosis and document resolution. Any required breast imaging should be scheduled prior to your pre-operative appointment. If you are in need of a referral to an Orange County breast imaging center, please advise our patient coordinator at the time of scheduling your surgery.
Do you always do a lift with a reduction?
Yes. Breast reduction removes excess breast tissue and reshapes the breast to a higher position on the chest wall.
How long do I have to sleep on my back?
Sleeping at a 30-degree incline is recommended for a week post-op to facilitate resolution of swelling and getting out of bed.
Call (949) 644-1400 today to schedule your private breast reduction consultation with female plastic surgeon Dr. Lavinia K. Chong at her office in Newport Beach. Or request a private, HIPAA-compliant online consultation by clicking the link below!