What is a Breast reduction?
Breast reduction, or Reduction mammaplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess skin and fatty tissue, lifting the breasts and making them smaller. Because it’s commonly used to relieve pain associated with having large breasts, it is considered reconstructive surgery and is often covered by medical insurance.
Plastic surgeons perform the procedure with a variety of techniques. Each technique will result in a different location of the scar. Scars will typically be either an inverted T scar, or a vertical scar. Patients should discuss technique with their surgeon prior to the surgery.
What problems does a Breast reduction address?
My breasts are so large that I have back pain.
a Baltimore patient
Breast reduction surgery is used to alleviate symptoms caused by having large breasts. Symptoms often include:
- back pain
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- breast pain
- emotional/self-image issues
Who benefits most from the Breast reduction procedure?
If your breasts sag, but you are happy with the size when wearing a bra, you are better off with a Breast lift or Mastopexy. If you feel like your breasts are too large or uneven, causing back or neck pain, or if you have a difficult time finding clothes that fit or discomfort when playing sports, then you are an ideal candidate for Breast reduction.
How is a Breast reduction performed?
I prefer to perform the procedure under monitored IV anesthesia, instead of General anesthesia, because it eliminates much of the nausea in the postoperative period. During the procedure, excess skin and breast tissue is removed. The nipple is left attached to remaining breast tissue and moved to a new position to match the new, smaller breast size.
To close and lift the breast I commonly use the vertical technique. I do not use the 'inverted T' scar (or Weiss pattern) for skin closure because this technique makes the breast flatter, with less projection because of the horizontal scar. The horizontal scars underneath the breasts are not only unattractive, but they also have a tendency to broaden, or become thick.
Instead, I always use the vertical scar, or lollipop incision. I've been performing this vertical breast reduction technique since 1989, after visiting Dr. Claude Lassus in France, who developed the vertical scar technique procedure beginning in 1964. He is well known French Plastic Surgeon located in Nice, France who performed thousands of vertical scar breast reductions during his career. In the 70's and 80's French women were known to frolic topless on southern French beaches such as Nice, France, and minimum scarring was crucial to them. With Dr. Lassus' technique, there is less scarring and also a more youthful, perkier shape over the long term.
What exactly is the vertical breast reduction technique?
This technique carefully provides for the minimum amount of scarring, with no horizontal scars at all. The vertical incision also gives a much better shape to the final breast reduction result. The reason the vertical technique works so well is because it works much like a wire rim bra. Learn more about why the single vertical scar technique is superior to the traditional Weiss breast reduction technique in this blog post about breast reduction scars.
What are the preoperative requirements?
After your consultation, you'll be able to work with our patient coordinator to schedule your Breast reduction procedure. It will be determined whether an insurance claim will be filed based on the amount of tissue expected to be removed. The pre-op requirements are as follows:
- We require all of our patients to get medical clearance within 30 days of your surgery date. For this clearance, an H&P (history and physical) and a CBC blood test are the minimum requirements for healthy adults. This can be done by your primary care doctor or a walk in clinic if you do not have a primary care provider. However, the clearance must be signed by an M.D.
- Read the informed consent document for your procedure. Write down any remaining questions you may have.
- Schedule a pre-op appointment with Dr. Rodriguez to review the surgical plan, get the prescriptions, ask questions, and sign the Informed Consent forms.
- STOP smoking 2 weeks prior to your surgery.
- Do not take aspirin, motrin, or herbal products two weeks prior to surgery.
- On the night before your surgery, do not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
What is Breast reduction Post-Op recovery like?
- Patients should plan to take off one to two weeks of time from work.
- For the first 2 days you should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
- Drain removal at approximately 2-3 days postoperatively in the office.
- Do not drive for the first week post operatively.
- Exercise can usually resume after 4 weeks, but you will receive specific instructions following your surgery.
What are the risks and possible complications?
All surgery poses some level of risk and potential complications. Following a Breast reduction, these include, but are not limited to, the following:
- fluid accumulation
- skin discolorations
- bruising and swelling
How much does a Breast reduction cost?
The approximate total cost for Breast reduction surgery throughout 2023 in our AAAASF accredited outpatient surgery center is $8,700. This total cost includes surgeon's fee, operating room fee, and anesthesia fee for a 4 hour procedure. In our facility anesthesia is administered by only board certified anesthesiologist M.D.s, and not CRNAs.
Does insurance cover a Breast reduction?
In most cases, insurance carriers will reimburse the majority of the cost of the procedure as long as a certain amount of breast tissue is removed. On average, insurance companies are looking for a removal of at least 500cc of breast tissue from each breast in order to be considered a covered procedure. Dr. Rodriguez does not participate with insurance, but he will submit the claim after the surgery, so that your insurance company can reimburse you directly.
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Board Certified Plastic Surgery, ASPS Member
Patients depicted in our before and after galleries have provided their written consent to display their photos online. Every patient is unique, and surgical results may vary. Please contact us if you have any questions.