Breasts which are too large, too heavy or sag may cause physical pain and psychological stress.
Problems are caused by both the excessive size of the breasts and their weight. Persistently being pulled forwards and downwards by the breasts can lead to hunched shoulders and the development of poor posture, causing back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as pain in the upper part of the breasts and sometimes even difficulty breathing.
It is a struggle to find correctly fitting bras and the weight of the breasts often leads to bra straps cutting into the skin and the underwire causing chafing. Physical activities such as jogging require a lot of effort and patients often give up practicing them all together. Many patients have already sought physiotherapy to ease back and neck pain but this is mostly only successful in the short term or not at all.
Covering of costs by health insurance providers
The cost of this treatment is often covered by the patients’ health insurance provider. This is a matter that patients need to clarify during a consultation with their doctor.
In principle, there are two forms of breast reduction: The first is a standard technique in which one incision is made around the areola, a second runs vertically from the areola to the crease underneath the breast and a third along the breast crease itself.
The second, more modern reduction technique does not require any incisions to be made along the breast crease. This method is, however, only recommended to patients with good skin elasticity.
In both methods the nipple is displaced to a higher position and reduced in size so that it is in proportion with the new shape of the breast. Patients can choose to have the operation on an outpatient basis or to stay overnight in hospital. The procedure is always performed under anesthesia. The large surface area of the wound and the resultant blood loss sometimes means that a blood transfusion is necessary. To avoid the risk of contracting an infection from a blood transfusion using donated blood, it is recommended that some of the patient’s own blood is taken before the operation.
Aftercare and risks
Following the operation, a compression bra must be worn day and night for up to six weeks. Patients are able to return to work after two to three weeks at the latest and should only begin to exercise again four to six weeks after the operation.
Like all surgery, breast reduction procedures carry certain risks. In rare cases, wound healing disorders may result in it taking longer for the wound to heal. Infections, postoperative bleeding (hematoma) and unattractive scars also occur rarely. The operation may affect the patient’s ability to breastfeed. A temporary loss of nipple sensitivity is normal, yet seldom permanent.
Choose an appropriate specialist
An improperly performed operation could result in irreparable changes. This operation should therefore only be carried out by a qualified specialist in plastic surgery.