Breast Surgery

Breast Reduction

Reducing Discomfort and Restoring Confidence

The size of a woman’s breasts is determined by a combination of factors, including genetics, weight and hormonal influences. Disproportionately large breasts can be responsible for psychological as well as physical issues. From a psychological point of view, dissatisfaction with breast size can increase self consciousness and anxiety. Physically, large breasts can cause back and neck pain, grooves in the shoulders from bra straps and rashes under the breasts. Other problems can include reduced clothing choice and discomfort during sport. Women sometimes also try to take postures to disguise or hide their large breasts, again leading to aches and pains from poor posture.

In the case where a woman is unhappy with the shape, weight or droop of her breasts, breast reduction surgery makes the breast smaller and improve the shape.

Types of Breast Reduction

The "Anchor" Breast Reduction

The most common type of breast reduction is the anchor or inverted T reduction. This involves and incision around the nipple, a vertical cut from here down to the crease under the breast (the inframammary fold), and a further incision in the inframammary fold. These incisions form a T or anchor shape.

Relocating the Nipple

A key part of this operation is the relocation of the nipple to a new position. In order to do this, the nipple remains attached on a ‘stalk’ of tissue (pedicle). Extra skin and breast tissue is then cut away. The skin and tissue that is left is reshaped into a smaller, higher breast and the nipple is positioned appropriately.


Is there an alternative?

The primary reason for considering a breast reduction is often the discomfort from large and heavy breasts. Alternative solutions to this issue can include wearing a properly fitted bra and lifestyle changes to lose weight.

What are the scars like?

The latest dissolving stitches are used to close the wounds as they provoke almost no inflammatory reaction as they are dissolved and therefore minimise any scarring. In a breast reduction, the scars run along the skin crease under the breast, with an additional scar running vertically from this fold to the areola (ring of colour around the nipple) which then curves around it.

They usually heal nicely with little redness and start to fade within a few weeks, but as with any scar it may take several months to look its best. In an absolute minority of patients the scars may become red and itchy and form hypertrophic (enlarged) or keloid (fibrous) scars. This may require treatment with silicone patches or steroid injections.

How painful is it?

The majority of the discomfort settles within 24 hours, during this time patients are in hospital and can have very powerful painkillers if necessary. Patients are offered a short course of painkiller tablets on discharge from hospital.

What happens after surgery?

Breast reduction cases are usually a one or two night stay. The wounds are protected with a soft dressing for two weeks after which time the dressings are removed in the clinic and patients can usually return to bathing or showering normally. At three months post-operatively a further routine follow up appointment is made to check that everything is healing well and post-operative photographs are taken.


First Steps?

Your Consultation

Your first step is to book a consultion with one of our experienced plastic surgeons. On your first visit, your surgeon will listen to what procedure you are interested in undertaking and will answer your questions. Your surgeon will explain the alternatives that are available to you in order to achieve the result you desire.

Should you decide to proceed, our Patient Coordinator will then be able to provide you with a price and date for surgery, with options to personalise your stay.

You will be provided will practical information about what you will need to know about before, during and after the operation. Your surgeon will be available to discuss any queries you have prior to surgery.


On the Day?

Your Surgery

On arrival, you will be greeted by one of our team and taken up to your ward room. This is where you will be based during your stay with us.

You will meet your surgeon and your anaesthetist on the morning of your operation. Your surgeon will mark up the surgery area and take photographs of this. Once you are asleep, surgery begins infiltration of the breast with local anaesthetic and vasoconstrictor to reduce pain and minimise blood loss respectively. The surgical team define the pedicle (the strip of tissue which is left intact to provide circulation to the nipple) . This is then protected and the excessive breast tissue is removed. Haemostasis is achieved and wounds are closed over drains which stay in for 24h and removed prior to discharge. Depending on the extent of the procedure, your breast reduction will take between 2 to 2.5 hours and is always performed under general anaesthesia.

And Afterwards?

Your Recovery

You will stay on the ward for one night or two nights, depending on the procedure. You will need to wear a soft bra for the first weeks after the operation. You will need to attend a follow-up consultation approximately a week after surgery for an initial check up.

Depending on the extent of the surgery, you will need to remain off work for between one to two weeks and to refrain from exercise and heavy lifting for the first six to eight weeks.