While constantly emphasising "the bigger the better," thanks to societal definition of what's good, we often forget the baggage that might come along with it.
The idea of bigger breasts feels quite appealing to many, but it isn't always a blessing. Huge breasts, also called macromastia, often come along with various physical health issues that range from pain to migraines.
But there is a solution for it too – reduction mammoplasty – the surgical procedure for reducing the size of breasts.
FIT spoke to Dr (Col) Mala Mathur Sharma, Clinical Professor, General Surgery, Breast Diseases Division, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, and Dr Shraddha Deshpande, Consultant, Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals, to find out more about reduction mammoplasty.
What is breast size reduction surgery?
Breast size reduction surgery is a procedure for reducing/decreasing the size of breasts. The procedure involves surgical techniques usually performed by plastic surgeons and breast surgeons.
According to Dr Shraddha Deshpande, "This is done specially in women with very large breasts which are causing them shoulder and back pain due to the weight of the breasts."
Who would be an appropriate candidate for this surgery?
Dr (Col) Mala Mathur Sharma says, "These surgeries are usually done on females who have very large and heavy breasts causing severe discomfort, pain, postural changes, and backache to the patients."
But she adds that anyone with breasts can undergo these surgeries as a cosmetic procedure.
The surgeries can be performed on both breasts in case of bilateral enlargement or on one side in case of breast asymmetry.
The surgery can also be performed in young males in case of excessive breast enlargement. The common candidates who desire this surgery are either young girls or middle-aged women.
Are there different types of breast reduction surgeries?
There are different types of techniques used for breast reduction depending on the shape of the breasts, the degree of ptosis (hanging) of the breasts, the size of the breasts, and the patient’s preferences and expectations from the surgery.
However, all the procedures require a surgical resection of part of the breast under general anesthesia, with repositioning of the nipple and areola.
"The techniques require different types of pedicles on which the nipple is moved but those are technicalities for surgeons, as far as the patients are concerned, there is no difference in preparation or convalescence."Dr (Col) Mala Mathur Sharma
What is the pre and post operative care like?
According to Dr Shraddha Deshpande, "It is always helpful that one is in an optimum health condition when we talk about pre operative care." She mentions that "the patient should be near their ideal body weight, eating healthy food, and exercising regularly."
"For pre-operative care, patients need to clean the area around the breasts and to take treatment for any bacterial infections, boils, or fungal infection around and under the breasts."Dr (Col) Mala Mathur Sharma
Post surgery, the patient should wear a garment providing ample support or a well-fitting sports brassiere, keep the operated area clean. The patient should also apply some moisturizing and antibiotic ointments.
In addition to this, they should also eat a healthy and protein-rich diet and avoid vigorous activities like weight training, skipping, etc, for at least six weeks.
Breast size reduction surgery, when done right, provides great relief from backache and heaviness, and definitely improves the quality of life for the patients who suffer from macromastia or gigantomastia.
What are the pros and cons of this surgery?
Breast reduction surgery is not a procedure to be taken lightly and comes with its own complications.
The decision of breast size reduction should not be a hasty one. It should be made after multiple counseling sessions and a lot of thought. One should not go for this surgery because of any social or emotional compulsion.
The pros of this surgery are:
Improved shape of breasts
Decrease in neck, shoulder, and back pain
Ability to indulge in sports activities with ease
Improved social outlook and confidence
The cons may include:
Chances of complications like haematoma, infections
Wound dehiscence (bursting of a wound) which might increase the period of recovery
Scars on the breast
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