Breast Reduction (also known as reduction mammaplasty) is a type of reconstructive surgery to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts. The procedure is usually done under general anaesthetic and takes about 2 to 5 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Breast Reduction Incision
There are different techniques which can be used. The incision can be made either vertically, around the nipple (periareola technique) or in a ‘T’ shape. The anchor incision is seldom used these days. However, if the amount of tissue being removed is over 1000 grams then the anchor/T incision is preferred. The maximum breast which can be removed using the vertical method is 1000 grams and 500g with the nipple incision.
Breast Reduction Recovery
Recovery from breast reduction is painful and uncomfortable. You will need to stay in hospital for one or two nights. The pain will be at its worst during the first two days. Even coughing and slight movement will hurt. You will most likely need pain killers for the first one to two weeks.
When you get home, avoid any heaving lifting or over-head arm movements. Lifting your arms will cause pain. The dressings are removed after about a week at which stage you’ll be able to wash yourself. The stitches are removed approximately two weeks following the surgery. You will need to wear a soft bra at all times for the first month after the dressings come off. The swelling and bruising will remain for a few weeks.
Brest Reduction Risks
Breast reduction surgery can have potential risks including:
- Loss of sensation – this can occur in the nipple and/or your breasts. This may be temporary, long term or permanent.
- Uneven or inappropriate nipple placement – this can be avoided if the operation is performed correctly.
- Skin wrinkling and collecting at the incision site. This should resolve itself.
- Scarring - Scar revision surgery may be required at a later time if the vertical or periareola incisions are used. This often outweighs the large scarring used by the anchor incision method.
- Heamatoma – may require drainage.
- Infection – drained and treated with antibiotics. If the skin becomes infected, it may need to be removed.
Breast Reduction Medicare
Medicare used to only cover breast reduction surgery if only one breast was being reduced in order to correct asymmetry. These days Medicare can cover breast reduction if your oversized breasts are causing you medical problems such as pain and limited activity. If your reasons are purely cosmetic, Medicare won’t cover any part of the cost.
To be eligible, you need to see a plastic surgeon that has public hospital rights. Medicare will usually cover all the cost if your operation is performed in the public hospital system. Waiting times apply. If you wish to choose your own surgeon or have the procedure performed in a private hospital or at the surgeon’s clinic or if you don’t want to wait out the public hospital waiting period, then you will need to have the procedure privately. In this circumstance, you will need to pay for some or all of the costs even if the operation is being done for medical and not cosmetic reasons.
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