Breast Reduction - Female

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Big is beautiful but large can be labourious. If you bear a cup that overfloweth a little too much, breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty as it’s referred to in medical terms, may be the option for you.

Although it does mean going under the knife, this treatment is offered by the NHS and you can be referred to a surgeon via your GP, so if your bust is causing you discomfort and pain but you have hang-ups about cosmetic surgery, this really is more of a medical procedure. It will rid you of back, neck and shoulder pain, and stop rashes and sores developing under the breasts. And as an added extra, your bangers will be transformed into a pert and peachy bosom.

How does it work?

Although a GP may refer you, breast reductions do tend to take place at cosmetic surgery clinics. In your initial consultation, your breasts will be examined and the surgeon will quiz you on your medical history. In some cases, a blood test or breast x-ray may be required.

Your surgeon will also tell you how to prepare for the operation. For example, if you smoke, you may be asked to quit as it can increase your risk of getting a chest infection and will slow your recovery. You will also be asked to stop taking the contraceptive pill as it may amplify your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis during the operation.

On the big day, you won’t be allowed to eat or drink for about 6 hours before the procedure as it's performed under general anaesthetic, so make sure you stock up on snacks beforehand and make the most of your last meal before the marathon fast begins.

Before you’re transported off to the land of nod, the surgeon will come and discuss the procedure with you and mark areas of the skin where incisions will be made and to show the planned shape and size. If you have any last minute questions at all, this is the time to ask!

The operation usually takes between two and four hours and typically the excess breast tissue and fat is removed through cuts in the lower part of the breasts. In most women, this is similar to liposuction where a small vacuum is moved around under the skin to suck out fat cells. The nipples are then repositioned to suit the new shape and the skin is reshaped. Once the cuts are closed with stitches, your breasts are wrapped in a special supportive dressing or support bra and fine plastic tubes may be left in each breast for up to 48 hours to allow blood and fluids to drain into a bag.

After 1-3 days, the tubes are removed and you’ll be able to go home. You’ll also be put on a course of painkillers and will need to wear a sports bra to keep your new bust in tip-top condition. Then, when you’re back in the comfort of your own surroundings, it’s time to kick back and relax for up to 6 weeks, so make sure there’s someone on standby to give you plenty of TLC.

Is it for me?

Large breasts can affect you both physically and emotionally. If you suffer from backache, neck and shoulder pain, poor posture, excessive sweating, infections and the inability to partake in sports activities, breast reduction will not only help your physique but improve how you go about your daily business. It can also be a massive confidence booster for women who feel disheartened by their appearance.

As with all surgery, the operation does have a degree of risk and the main disadvantage is that you’ll be left with permanent scarring. However the severity of the scarring will be minimal and unnoticeable when you’re skipping along the beach in a skimpy swimsuit!

Some women may also lose some sensation in their nipples, but this is more likely to happen if you’re a heavy smoker or suffer from poor circulation.

Good to know

Breast size is determined by genes, hormones, body frame and weight. The problem of overly large breasts can develop during adolescence because the breasts are over sensitive to the female hormone – oestrogen. Alternatively, you may suddenly have a growth spurt in later life following the menopause or as a result of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

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