Large and heavy breasts, or “hypermastia”, can result in aesthetic and physical problems for women. Some women may be embarrassed about the size of their breasts, have difficulty finding clothing that fits properly, or they simply desire a more proportional bust line. Physically, large breasts can cause neck and back pain. Bra straps can leave painful indentations on the shoulders. Uncomfortable rashes may form beneath the breasts. Patients with excessively large breasts may also have difficulty engaging in activities such as sports and other forms of exercise. To address these problems, Dr. John R. Griffin can perform breast reduction surgery for his Bay Area patients.
Candidates and Insurance Coverage
Suitable candidates for breast reduction surgery desire smaller breasts. While just about any women with large breasts can undergo breast reduction surgery, insurance coverage will only be approved for women who can show that the procedure is medically necessary. To be approved, patients must:
- Show that a significant amount of breast tissue will be removed
- Allow photos of the breasts from the neck down to be sent to the insurance company
- Provide height and weight information
- Provide evidence and documentation of the physical problems that have resulted from hypermastia
Dr. Griffin and his staff are happy to assist appropriate candidates in filing insurance claims for breast reduction surgery.
Patients should also be in good health, non-smokers, and have realistic expectations regarding the outcome of treatment.
There are three breast reduction techniques that can be performed:
- Lollipop incision: The lollipop approach is also called the vertical technique. This allows for a good amount of tissue and skin removal. The incisions are made around the circumference of the areola, and then down the center of the breast. Through these incisions, Dr. Griffin can remove excess tissue and skin, and move the nipple up higher on the breast mound. The size of the areola can also be reduced.
- Anchor or wise pattern: The anchor incision allows for the greatest amount of tissue and skin removal. This approach involves the creation of the lollipop incision, but an additional horizontal incision is made along the inframammary crease. Once these incisions are made, Dr. Griffin can remove tissue and skin, reposition the nipple, and reduce the size of the areola.
The breast reduction procedure proceeds as follows:
- The breast’s incision lines are marked with a surgical pen
- General anesthesia is used to sedate the patient
- Antibacterial solution is applied to the breasts
- The incisions are made
- Excess breast tissue is removed
- The skin envelope is tightened so it is compressed up against the underlying tissue
- Excess skin is removed
- The nipple is moved to a higher location on the breast mound
- The size of the areola is reduced
- The incisions are closed
- Bandages are applied to promote healing
Breast reduction patients typically take one to three weeks off of work to recover from surgery. During the first week, patients should rest with the head elevated, take pain medication as directed, and take short, light walks to keep blood flowing.
A week to 10 days after surgery, patients will return to Dr. Griffin’s office to have the stitches removed. He will check for signs of problems and complications, and update patients on instructions for the remainder of the recovery period.
For six weeks after surgery, patients should wear a surgical bra and avoid strenuous activity. Patients can take walks that gradually increase in time, and maintain a healthy diet during this period.
The side effects of breast reduction include discomfort, bruising, swelling, and itching and numbness of the incision site. Discomfort and bruising typically go away two to three weeks after surgery. The remaining side effects may take a couple of months to fade.
The risks of breast reduction surgery include:
- Allergic reaction
- Permanent nipple numbness
- Excessive bleeding
- Asymmetry of the breasts
- Poor or delayed wound healing
- Unfavorable scarring
The results of breast reduction surgery are visible when the bandages come off. However, swelling can last for two months, so the breasts will continue to go down in size during this timeframe.
With a proper diet and exercise routine, the results of breast reduction surgery can be expected to last for 10 years or more.
To schedule your breast reduction consultation, contact Dr. Griffin’s practice today.