Breast Reduction & Mastopexy
What is the problem?
The common reasons that people choose to have a breast reduction:
- Women who have large, heavy or pendulous breasts or if breasts are disproportionate to their body frame.
- It may alleviate pain in the neck, shoulders or back and improve posture.
- To enable greater freedom in physical activity
- Repositioning of downward pointing nipples and areolas
- Reduction of skin irritation in breast folds
- To promote self-confidence
The common reasons that people choose to have mastopexy (breast lift):
- To improve shape and contour of sagging breasts. Mastopexy for heavy breasts may not last as long.
- Repositioning of downward pointing nipples and areolas or to reduce the size of areolas.
- Removal of excess skin can improve breast firmness.
What is the cause?
Breast size is determined by genetic factors from not only your mother but also your father's side and extended family line. Hormonal changes impact breast development, and breasts also increase in size during pregnancy and lactation.
Sagging breasts can be caused by a few different things. Ligaments in the breast stretch as we age and gravity eventually causes them to sag. Gravity also causes heavy larger breasts to sag. During pregnancy, hormones cause milk ducts to shrink and expand which can be another cause. Another common cause is significant weight loss which may result in loose skin, thus resulting in saggy breasts.
Why it can be a problem for patients
Large or sagging breasts causes many women to feel insecure. We hear from women that their discomfort with their breasts makes them avoid certain activities, clothes and even holiday destinations.
It is also becoming more common for parents with teenage daughters (age 16+) to seek an opinion from Dr Sian Fairbank regarding surgical correction of large breasts. These parents report that their daughter has previously been passionate about activities such as sport or even drama, but now refrain from this sort of activity due to their insecurities. Of course, the decision to proceed with surgical breast reduction requires careful consideration, and all risk factors will be explained by Dr Fairbank in your initial consultation.
What we can do about it
Dr Sian Fairbank is very experienced in performing breast reduction mammaplasty and mastopexy (breast lift), and these procedures are often performed in combination with abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or brachiaplasty (arm lift). If you are experiencing discomfort, pain or psychological distress from the size of your breasts, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction or breast lift. If you would like to know more, go to your GP to obtain a referral and phone to schedule a consultation.
What can surgery do for me?
Surgery may improve any issues you have with your appearance, and may also alleviate discomfort from back pain, head aches that may have been caused by the weight of your breasts.
How do I decide whether surgery is best for my situation?
Deciding to have breast reduction or mastopexy surgery should be done after careful consideration. You should ensure that you know the answers to all of your questions, and that you feel satisfied with the information provided to you by Dr Fairbank.
Before procedures, we recommend you attend for an initial consultation and you will be asked by Dr Fairbank to attend a pre-operative appointment a few weeks prior to the arranged surgery date. In between these appointments, you may wish to see the doctor again, and this is pretty common for this type of surgery. You will usually be sent for a breast ultrasound to ensure that your breast tissue is free from abnormalities.
You may be eligible for a rebate from Medicare and your health fund, and the eligibility criteria is determined by Medicare. Dr Fairbank will let you know at your consultation if you should consider your case as cosmetic, which will mean that your surgery is out-of-pocket.
Informed consent and risks of breast reduction mammaplasty & mastopexy
Regardless of maintaining the highest surgical practice, complications can occur. Dr Fairbank will educate you regarding the general risks of surgery including:
- Post operative pain
- Haematoma or seroma (blood or fluid collection under the skin) may require surgical drainage.
- Blood clots or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- General anaesthesia can cause a chest infection
- Hypertrophic (raised and thickened) scarring is usually influenced by hereditary factors. Most scars heal and flatten without complication, however, some may become keloids. This can be treated with injection treatments, scar therapy, or additional surgery.
Specific risks of breast reduction & mastopexy:
- Potential issues breast feeding in future
- Potential loss of sensation or total loss of nipple or areola
- Breast asymmetry
- Allergies to sutures, tape, and other topical preparations
- Potential further surgery.
If you choose to proceed with breast reduction or mastopexy surgery, Dr Fairbank will ask you to sign a written consent form. She will ask you to read through and ask any questions before signing.
About my procedure and my recovery
There are different methods to perform breast reduction and breast lift surgery. Before you attend your initial consultation with Dr Sian Fairbank, you may research these different methods and prefer one over the other. When you attend your initial consultation, Dr Fairbank will assess your breasts and this will allow her to determine the appropriate technique to achieve the best result for you. Ensure that you voice your preference of technique during this consultation as she may be able to accommodate this or she will be able to explain why it would not be as effective so that you can be assured that your cosmetic outcome is optimal.
On the day of surgery, Dr Fairbank will take measurements and mark her incision lines. The procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours, and you may stay in hospital for 1-3 nights, depending on your recovery from the anaesthetic. Your incisions will be protected by steri-strips and gauze dressing and you will have an elastic dressing or surgical bra on to protect your breast. You will keep this in tact until your post-operative appointment one week later.
Dr Sian Fairbank will advise you on the appropriate time to take off work and may range from 2-4 weeks depending on your employment environment. In the months to year following surgery, it is common for people to consult with Dr Fairbank to have scar revision of puckering or 'dog ears' at the outside edges of the incision and this is a simple procedure.
Your recovery is very important to Dr Sian Fairbank and her team. You will be given her mobile number following surgery so that any of your concerns can be answered.