Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Benefiting from Breast Reduction

Benefiting from Breast Reduction
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
Most people would agree that what is inside a person is more important than what is on the outside. Increasingly, however, we're learning that the outside is important too. How you look can have a direct impact on how you feel about yourself. If you are unhappy about some aspect of your appearance, it can make you feel self-conscious, unconfident and unhappy.

This especially seems to be the case for women who have overly large, pendulous breasts. Large-breasted women may suffer emotional and social consequences of their breast size, and they often suffer painful physical symptoms.

A breast reduction procedure often provides freedom to women who have been plagued by a lifetime of discomfort from bras that never fit properly, painful shoulder muscles, a stooped posture and heat rashes. In addition, it can improve the self-image of women who are embarrassed by their oversized breasts.

Reduction surgery also relieves concerns some women may have about accurate mammogram results; studies have shown that it may be more difficult to diagnose a small lump in a woman with very large breasts

As we age, the composition of our breasts change. Younger women's breasts consist of 20 to 30 percent fatty tissue, as compared to older women's breasts, which may be up to 70 percent fat, as a result of hormonal changes.

So, while a 20-year-old can gain a few pounds without altering the size of her breasts, an older woman may find that gaining weight goes directly to her chest, increasing her bust size. Breast reduction can remove excess fat and breast tissue to provide a more proportionate look. The amount of tissue removed depends on the desired size.

Breast reduction may be done as an outpatient procedure or with an overnight stay in the hospital. The surgery takes two-and-a-half to four hours, depending on how much tissue is removed.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes an anchor-shaped incision around the areola, which extends down and follows the curve of the crease under the breast.

The nipples remain attached to the underlying breast tissue and nerves. The nipple and areola are moved into their new position and skin is pulled around the areola to shape the new breast. If the breasts are very large or pendulous, the nipple and areola may have to be completely removed and grafted into a higher position, resulting in a loss of feeling in the nipple and areola.

After surgery, the breasts are wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. A day or two following surgery, the bandages are removed, although a surgical bra is worn for several weeks or until the swelling and bruising subside. Stitches are removed in five to 10 days following surgery.

Routine exercise and physical activity can be resumed about four weeks after surgery. Breast reduction allows women increased mobility to play sports, exercise and move more freely than before. It allows women the physical freedom to be more involved with life.

The procedure may be covered by insurance if it will alleviate discomfort such as back and neck pain. It may also prove to be medically necessary, if a certain amount of breast tissue is removed.

Before proceeding with a breast reduction, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the options available and potential risks associated with surgery. Discuss any questions or concerns you might have with your doctor.

For a Dallas area cosmetic surgeon please see Doctor Diane Gibby at http://www.drgibby.com

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