Modern beauty standards often make larger breasts seem like a desirable trait, which leads many people to trivialize breast reduction surgery as something no woman would ever want. But women who have breasts that are too large for their body type know that they can be a great burden — both physically and mentally. Disproportionately large breasts can cause chronic neck and back pain, and even a condition called intertrigo — chronic rashes or infections under the breasts. They can also cause extreme self-consciousness and decreased confidence. The combination of these problems leads many women to seek definitive relief with a breast reduction surgery, despite what beauty standards say about breast size.
Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery offers high-quality breast reductions in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, Iowa to help women with excessively large breasts alleviate their pain, intertrigo and loss of confidence. Also known as reduction mammoplasty, this procedure can make breasts smaller and lighter by removing unwanted tissue. In addition to removing excess breast tissue, breast reduction can also lift the sagging breast to a perkier or more youthful location on the chest wall.
Your journey to relief from large breasts begins with a consultation with our expert, board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kahlil Andrews. When you come in for this face-to-face, individual meeting, Dr. Andrews will first get to know you and your background. You will discuss topics like why you are seeking a breast reduction, what kind of lifestyle you currently lead, your health history and your goals for your breasts. He will then take precise measurements and examine your breasts for factors such as the size and shape of your breasts as well as the location of your nipples. This evaluation will help Dr. Andrews develop a surgical plan that will meet your individual needs.
This consultation is also used to discuss any specific medical conditions you have, as well as any medications you are currently taking and any prior surgeries. We will also ask about any family history of breast cancer and evaluate the results of your previous mammograms. These pre-surgical requirements are essential in determining if you are an ideal candidate for a breast reduction and whether the surgery will be safe for you.
During this initial visit, we encourage you to ask many questions so we can properly address your unique concerns. Finally, Dr. Andrews will thoroughly explain the breast reduction procedure to you to ensure you are informed and comfortable prior to surgery. It’s important to us that you feel confident and at ease throughout the entire process of your breast reduction. Not only will we make sure you have all the information you need to have a successful surgery and recovery, but Dr. Andrews and the rest of our staff pride ourselves on being compassionate, friendly and supportive of our clients’ aesthetic goals — we love helping people love their appearance every day.
When you arrive for your surgery, you will be able to check in and ask any remaining questions you might have about your procedure or recovery. After our team makes sure you are comfortable, Dr. Andrews will mark your breasts with lines that guide the location of your incisions. Then, general anesthesia will be administered, and you will be able to rest and remain unaware of the surgery until it is complete.
Typically, a breast reduction surgery takes between two and three hours to complete. The surgery begins with Dr. Andrews making incisions along the pre-marked guides. Excess skin, fat and breast tissue will be carefully removed to reduce the overall volume of your breasts while keeping them symmetrical. If necessary, Dr. Andrews will raise your nipples and areolas to a more appropriate location. Finally, your incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, and you will be left with the smaller, shapelier breasts you desire.
Depending on your individual needs, you may receive surgical drains in your breasts to prevent fluid build-up after the procedure. Surgical tape (Steri Strips) or skin glue is placed on the incisions to keep them in place and sterile until they dissolve. You will also be placed in a specialized compression bra to help support your newly-shaped breasts as they heal.
After a short stay in the recovery room while you awaken from your anesthesia, you will be released to return home and begin the healing process. You will need a trusted friend or family member to pick you up and drive you home, since anesthesia will prevent you from doing so yourself. Preferably, this person will be someone who will be at your side throughout your recovery — such as a parent, roommate or spouse — because Dr. Andrews may need to brief them on some of your post-op needs while you are recovering from your surgery.
Patients who require breast reduction have a constellation of symptoms that are addressed by the reduction procedure. This characteristic group of symptoms is called symptomatic macromastia, which may be identified by the following symptoms:
- Pain in the shoulders, neck and back
- Deep, painful bra strap indentations
- Rashes and infections at the inframammary fold (the fold where the breast meets the chest wall)
- Numbness in the hands and fingers
- Difficulty fitting into clothing, particularly finding undergarments that fit properly
Additionally, a breast reduction may improve comfort with exercise. Women with large, heavy breasts may find it difficult to find a bra that is supportive enough. Jogging, running and jumping during a workout may be not only uncomfortable and painful, but also embarrassing if you are around other people. This can lead to overweight or obesity for women who want to be in shape but are unable to work out due to their breast size. Breast reduction will improve your ability to exercise and can dramatically improve a woman’s health and self-esteem.
Patients who struggle with symptoms like these are usually good candidates to have their breast reduction covered by their health insurance plan. In some cases, your insurance will require that a certain amount of breast tissue is removed. You will need to work with your provider to find out what costs you can expect from your surgery.
You may also choose to have a breast reduction surgery for cosmetic reasons, as long as you have enough natural breast tissue to warrant the procedure. If you are not experiencing symptomatic macromastia but are unhappy with the size of your breasts, you should schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Andrews to talk about your options and whether a breast reduction can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.
You will also need to be in overall good health — the usual requirements are that you are not a smoker and you do not have a history of surgical complications or blood disorders. Breast reduction is a relatively simple surgery with very high safety ratings, but it is still a surgical procedure that comes with certain risks. If your health history means these risks are too great, Dr. Andrews may advise against a breast reduction until the potential problems can be resolved.
Breast Reduction Before and After Photos
Breast Reduction Recovery
A reduction mammoplasty is done on an outpatient basis, so you can expect to return home the same day. As you heal, you can expect some mild to moderate swelling and bruising. These are normal and will subside over the next few days to weeks.
Prior to discharge, you will be given specific care instructions and pain medication to help manage any discomfort. If drains are placed, you will be taught how to manage the drains prior to discharge. In some instances, external sutures may be necessary in addition to dissolvable sutures. If this is the case, you will have them removed at a follow-up appointment a week or two after the surgery.
We typically recommend planning for three weeks away from work, school or other daily responsibilities. You may feel able to return sooner than this, but you should check with Dr. Andrews before doing so. You will need to allow your newly-shaped breasts plenty of time to recover, and it’s important not to strain yourself as this may jeopardize your health and your long-term results. Aside from sedentary work, mild exercise or day-to-day activities, we suggest limiting any strenuous exercises and heavy lifting for several weeks post-op. You will have several postoperative follow-up appointments with Dr. Andrews over the first few months after your surgery, so he can clear you to resume certain activities if he deems you ready. You can also use these appointments to address any questions or concerns you may have. If at any point you feel like you may be experiencing problems with your recovery, you will be able to reach our office to find out your best course of action.
Contact Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery
If you are interested in a breast reduction surgery in the Cedar Rapids or Coralville, Iowa area, contact Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery. Our team is here to help you navigate the procedure and make sure that your safety and satisfaction are prioritized throughout the process. Call us today at 319-382-8230 to schedule your consultation or ask any other questions you may have.