If you’re considering breast reduction surgery, knowing what will happen in the days and weeks that follow your procedure will help you make your decision with confidence. In this article New Jersey plastic surgeons Gary D. Breslow and Jordan P. Farkas answer some frequently asked questions on breast reduction surgery recovery and results.
Does breast reduction help with weight loss?
Breast reduction surgery isn’t a weight loss procedure. At the very most, you can expect to lose 2 or 3 lbs. of breast tissue — maybe a little more following a large resection. In some cases, swelling can actually cause patients to gain some weight after the procedure, although things generally return to normal within a few days or weeks.
However, breast reduction surgery does have one secondary benefit: many patients find that their new, more proportionate physique makes it easier for them to perform physical activities such as jogging, swimming, and yoga, which in turn can help them get back into shape.
Do breast reduction scars ever go away?
Breast lift scars are generally located around the nipple, straight down to the inframammary fold, and in the fold itself.
A lot of patients ask if they can expect the scars to disappear entirely. With time the scars will fade considerably, but unfortunately they will always be somewhat visible. The good news is that the scars will be in spots easily hidden by a bra or swimsuit, so most of the people you encounter will never know that you have them.
Can breast reduction surgery reduce back pain?
Back pain is a common symptom of having large breasts, as the stress they put on your spine can cause mild or severe discomfort. With time, large breasts can affect your posture, making your shoulders roll forward and compressing the nerve fibers. The forward strain may also cause migraines and pain in the lower neck.
If your back pain isn’t caused by an unrelated issue, breast reduction surgery can alleviate much of these symptoms.
Does insurance cover breast reduction?
Unfortunately, not all insurance companies cover the cost of breast reduction surgery. Whether or not you can expect help will depend on your policy and your ability to explain how breast reduction can improve your health.
You can increase your odds of success by getting your plastic surgeon, general practitioner, and even a chiropractor to write letters that explain how your breast size is impacting your health and causing back pain.
Note that while more significant reductions of one pound or more in each breast stand a higher chance of being covered, we do not recommend that you get more reduction than you actually need simply to satisfy your insurance company’s guidelines.
Does breast reduction affect breast-feeding?
Women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant often fear that breast reduction surgery will affect their ability to breast-feed. Even though losing the ability to produce milk is possible, it’s a rare side effect about which most women won’t need to worry.
You might, however, experience a decrease in your milk production that could prevent you from providing your baby with enough nourishment. Your ability to produce milk will depend on how much glandular tissue was removed and the impact of the procedure on the milk ducts and nerve pathways. In general, the longer it’s been since the surgery, the more sensation you’ll have and the more milk you’re likely to produce.
If you have a baby or plan to breast-feed, speaking with your doctor before you have surgery is important.
Is breast reduction surgery extremely painful?
Those who opt for breast reduction surgery can expect mild pain and discomfort that can last for several weeks. Everybody is different and won’t always heal at the same pace, but you can expect improvements within the first week. While some women face extreme pain after they have underwent breast reduction surgery, this is quite uncommon.
You will be given specific instructions for breast reduction recovery that may include oral medications to alleviate discomfort, aid healing and reduce the risk of infection.
How long will it take for me to return to work?
This is a very common question — patients often worry that they won’t be able to return to work for an extended period, or that their employers won’t let them use their sick days to recover. Even if the company for which you work will compensate you while you are away, being stuck at home isn’t always fun.
While some people heal within the first week, most patients require two to three weeks to report back to work.
How long will I need bandages and stitches?
Bandages and stitches are an unavoidable result of breast reduction surgery, and will need to stay in place for at least one week. While wanting to get rid of your bandages and stitches is normal, taking them off too soon can cause problems that you will want to avoid.
What are the risks and side effects?
Persistent pain, loss of sensation in the nipples and infections are some of the potential complications following breast reduction surgery.
Luckily, the risk of severe side effects is so low that the vast majority of women will never need to worry about them. Your plastic surgeon will explain in detail the risks associated with the procedure, and you will be asked to sign a consent form to ensure that you fully understand what breast reduction surgery entails.
Our board certified breast reduction surgeons in Northern New Jersey are recognized for their years of experience and outstanding results. Contact them for a private consultation today!