Despite what the media tries to tell us, some women are actually born with breasts that are too large. They can not only throw off the aesthetic contour of your torso, making you look heavier than you are, but having overly large breasts can be emotionally traumatizing. Most potential breast reduction patients developed their breasts early. They spent much of their youth, when kids can be so cruel, being teased and made to feel incredibly self-conscious. Heavy, pendulous breasts may also lead to significant physical issues such as back, neck and shoulder pain. A breast reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of your breasts and improve their overall shape and contour. The result is a chest that is lifted and more proportional to the rest of your body.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Doherty is an expert in all aspects of breast surgery. He loves his job, particularly breast reduction surgery because it is one of those procedures that can totally transform a patient’s life. In fact, breast reduction surgery has one of the highest patient satisfaction ratings of any cosmetic procedure.
Breast Reduction Surgery Consultation
If you are bothered by the size and/or shape of your breasts, schedule a breast reduction consultation with Dr. Doherty at one of his Boston area offices to be assessed in person. Any cosmetic procedure must be tailored to the individual anatomy of the patient. This is crucial for a successful outcome. During your meeting, Dr. Doherty will listen carefully to what bothers you about your breasts. For some patients, it’s the overall size. For others who may have asymmetrical breasts, it’s the shape. For most, it’s a combination of the two. Next, he will perform a thorough physical exam to assess your nipple position in relation to the inframammary fold or crease beneath your breast, skin tone and elasticity as well as the “weight” of your breast tissue. Together, you will come up with a treatment plan that suits your body, your goals and your lifestyle.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for a Breast Reduction?
Any patient who is in good overall health, close to their ideal weight, doesn’t smoke and is self-conscious about the size and shape of her breasts may be a candidate for a breast reduction. Most breast reduction patients experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- persistent back, neck or shoulder pain
- frequent headaches
- shoulder grooving or indentations caused by tight bra straps
- skin irritation underneath your breasts
- redness or chaffing along your bra strap lines
- reluctance to participate in certain activities such as sports
- difficulty finding clothes that fit or flatter your chest
- debilitating self-consciousness
Dr. Doherty recently performed a breast reduction and I wouldn't trust any other doctor. From the moment I stepped into his office for my first consultation to now, Dr. Doherty has exhibited nothing but honesty and compassion and is a true artist! I lived my entire life hating my large breasts, buying bra’s, tops and bathing suits was a nightmare! Now, I wake up everyday with happy with my breast size and feel so much more comfortable. Dr. Doherty's is kind, thoughtful, and skilled. He spent a lot of time with me, explaining the surgery and what to expect. He was there for me the whole recovery period (even after I couldn’t stop crying from anesthesia), anytime I called or emailed, he got back to me immediately. He is one of a kind!
Breast Reduction Procedure
Dr. Doherty’s goal with any breast reduction surgery is to strategically excise the exact right amount of skin and volume in order to create your perfect sized breasts. He begins by making an anchor incision that goes around the areola, down the lower front of the breast, and along the inframammary fold or crease beneath your breast. He then removes your excess breast tissue. This will often entail taking more from one side than the other in order to fix any breast asymmetry.
Almost all women have one breast that is bigger than the other or that sits a little higher than the other. One of the many advantages of a breast reduction is that it allows the surgeon to create a pair of breasts that are more evenly matched. Once Dr. Doherty has achieved the right symmetry and size, he will tighten up your breast envelope. This lifts the breasts to a higher point on your chest wall. He will then clear away any excess skin, and reposition your nipple so that it is centered on your newly relocated breast mound. Last, he will close your incisions.
Breast Reduction Scars Totally Worth It
As with any surgery, the scars from a breast reduction will be permanent. This can sound worse than it actually is. For starters, the scar underneath the breast is hidden in the fold of your breast. In addition, scars on the breast heal incredibly well. Dr. Doherty is a perfectionist who utilizes precise surgical techniques to reduce any tension on the skin that can lead to a thick or heavy scar.
You will ultimately be able to wear your choice of lingerie, swimsuit, or low-cut gowns with no visible scars. However, immediately following your surgery, your scars will be very dynamic. They may be slightly raised, and red or pink in color. Don’t panic. This will last for at least 4-6 weeks before beginning to fade. Generally, at three weeks post surgery, Dr. Doherty has his breast reduction patients start using a silicone topical treatment such as Silagen or Biocorneum and/or an energy-based treatment like laser resurfacing or micro-needling. His goal is for your incision lines to be as smooth and inconspicuous as possible. Many patients either don’t notice or aren’t even bothered by their incision lines a year out from their surgery.
Breast Reduction Recovery
Dr. Doherty performs his breast reduction surgeries under general anesthesia at a local hospital or accredited surgical facility. Some patients may wish to recover overnight in the hospital, but most go home that same day. Dr. Doherty likes to see his breast reduction patients 48 hours after surgery to check that all is healing well. He will prescribe antibiotics and pain medicine for the first few days.
After your breast reduction procedure, your chest will be wrapped in gauze. You will have two drains, one on either side of your chest. These are typically removed at the first post-operative visit. You will be sore for the first few days after your surgery and will need to be conscious about limiting your upper body movement for the first 2-3 weeks so no reaching across the table for the salt or lifting anything heavier than a couple of pounds. Most patients describe their recovery as more uncomfortable than painful, and manage this post-operative discomfort with over the counter medications.
There will be swelling and bruising for the first two weeks, but patients can typically return to most normal activities at 1-2 weeks after surgery. Breast reduction patients will need to wear a surgical bra for compression for the first week after the initial bandages are removed. Patients may begin light exercise and cardio at 2 weeks after surgery, and more aggressive workouts at 3 weeks. However, Dr. Doherty asks that his breast reduction patients wait at least 4-6 weeks before returning to upper body workouts.
While it may take anywhere from 3-6 months for your swelling to completely resolve, you will notice an improvement in your contour immediately.
To find out more about a breast reduction with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.
What size will I be after my breast reduction?
It will depend on your goals and your anatomy. Most patients are so frustrated by their large breasts that they just want them to be small. However, it’s never a good idea to focus on a cup size. The important thing is to create breasts that are proportional to your anatomy. This will help to rejuvenate your entire torso. Since Dr. Doherty takes a 360° approach with every cosmetic procedure that he performs, this is always his ultimate goal.
Will my breasts get bigger again?
Assuming that your weight remains stable, no. Once the breast tissue is gone, it’s gone for good. However, the remaining fat cells in your back can grow larger if you gain more than about 10 pounds. This may push you into a bigger bra size, but your actual breast volume will stay relatively stable.
Will I lose sensation in my nipples?
Every patient is different. Most retain some nipple sensation although generally, your nipples will not be as sensitive as they were before surgery. The heaviest scarring is in the bottom half of the breast so this area will feel numb for a while, but the nipple and top half of the breast do typically return to normal.
What’s the difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction?
The former really only address the shape of the breast, not the size. A breast reduction will also reduce your actual breast volume in addition to improving their shape.
Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction?
Again, it depends on the patient. Most can. But if you are dead set on breastfeeding, you may want to wait to have your breast reduction until after you finish having children as there is no guarantee.
Will insurance cover this procedure?
While some insurance companies do cover a breast reduction procedure assuming that you have enough breast volume removed to meet their criteria, Dr. Doherty does not participate in any insurance program.
I am worried about the scars. Will they be really noticeable?
If you talk to any breast reduction patient, she will tell you that the scars are completely worth it. They are really not that big a deal. And even in those patients who are genetically inclined towards heavy scars, they are still happy that they had the procedure. The benefits far outweigh the scars.
Is the recovery painful?
Not really. Most patients don’t even need any prescription pain medications after the first day. It is uncomfortable. But as long as you follow Dr. Doherty’s post-op instructions carefully and limit your upper body movements, you should be fine.