Breast Reduction

How is breast reduction done?

Depending on your personal situation, the procedure can be performed in an outpatient facility or you may have to stay at least one night in the hospital. In either case, you will be given general anesthesia, which means you will sleep through for the procedure. It's important to have someone with you who can drive you home and stay with you at least the first night if you're not staying in the hospital.

The surgery itself will take about three to five hours. Your surgeon will make an incision around your nipple, then downward on the breast, in a keyhole form. The excess skin, tissue and fat are removed and your nipple is relocated for cosmetic purposes. Your surgeon may use drainage tubes and the incision site is then sutured. Your breasts will be wrapped in special gauze. If required, you may also wear a surgical bra.

How to prepare for the breast reduction

You need to be in good physical shape to ensure proper healing, so follow your surgeon's instructions on vitamins you can take before and after the surgery. Likewise, it's very important to eat well-balanced meals. This is no time for a diet!

During your preoperative consultation, your surgeon will ask about your habits, including whether you smoke or what medications you take. You may have to quit smoking for a period before and after surgery to ensure proper healing. You may also be asked to lose weight because being overweight can increase your risk for complications after breast reduction.

Likewise, you also may have to cease taking certain medications, such as aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin or Aleve. Your surgeon will instruct you on this.

Before you undergo surgery, you'll need to get your home ready for your recovery. This should include:

  • Plenty of ice
  • Gauze and clean washcloths and towels
  • Loose, comfortable t-shirts and blouses
  • Soft bras. Your surgeon can recommend where to buy these
  • Special ointments or creams as recommended by your surgeon for incision site
  • Telephone within reaching distance of your primary rest area
  • Magazines, movies, or other quiet forms of relaxation.

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