All About Breast Reduction

Introduction to Breast Reduction


Breast Reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is designed to remove excess breast tissue in very large breasted women who experience symptoms of neck pain, headache, back pain, shoulder pain, and rashes underneath the breasts. If you or your friend are considering Breast Reduction or if you are only interested in more information about the procedure, please call us at (714) 500-0050 for a consultation with Dr. Luu Doan. You can also email us by clicking here to schedule a consultation or to get answers to any of your questions regarding the procedure.

Breast hypertrophy is the development of excessively large breasts which hang pendulously and lead to the development of significant physical problems. These problems include headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper and lower back pain, rashes under the breasts, and deep skin grooves in the shoulders from the bra straps. Women can also feel extremely self-conscious in public settings.

One of the most satisfied patients in plastic surgery is the woman who has had a breast reduction. People who don't have large breasts don't understand the tremendous inconvenience and pain associated with them. The average person thinks that large breasts are a blessing, something that most women would want. In reality, large breasts can actually be a significant handicap. Often, they prevent the woman from wearing normal clothing, cause annoying physical pain, make it difficult or impossible to exercise, and create a whole host of other problems.


Breast Reduction surgery removes the excess breast tissue and immediately relieves these symptoms. In addition to relieving the weight of the breasts, breast reduction surgery also incorporates a breast lift to rejuvenate the breast shape and narrows the areola diameter to a more attractive size. The breast is made smaller, lighter, firmer, and overall more attractive. Most importantly, the physical symptoms can be relieved almost overnight. 


After a Breast Reduction, the patient feels as if a burden has literally been lifted off her shoulders. Gone are the bra strap marks across the shoulder, the rashes, and the burden of carrying around all that extra weight. It is a tremendous relief.

The Breast Reduction Surgery


The Breast Reduction surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in our medicare-accredited, state-of-the-art Newport Coast Surgical Center. The duration of the surgery is approximately two hours. The patient is monitored by an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure.


The Breast Reduction procedure involves an inverted T-shaped, also called an anchor, incision that encircles the new smaller areola, extends vertically downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease of the breast. Excess breast tissue and skin is removed and the new areola along with a bridge of underlying breast tissue is elevated to a higher position. The surgeon then brings the skin from both sides of the breast down and around the areola to shape the new contour of the breast. A drainage tube will sometimes need to be inserted into each breast to remove excess blood and fluid during the recovery phase. The amount of breast tissue removed is determined by the preoperative size of the breast and the desired final size of the breast as discussed between you and Dr. Doan.

Only a thorough and candid discussion between you and Dr. Doan can determine the best options for you. Doctor Doan will discuss with you in detail every step of the procedure and he will review with you the possible complications of the operation.


Recovery From Breast Reduction Surgery


You will likely feel achy pain over your chest for several days after the surgery. You should be up and about the next day to prevent blood clots from developing in the veins of the legs. You will be prescribed medication to control the pain and nausea. You will also be prescribed antibiotic pills to prevent infection. You need to wear a soft surgical bra for six weeks. The sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed. If drainage tubes are placed, they will be removed the day after surgery. Most women will be able to return to work in 5 to 7 days and will be able to return to their normal exercise routine by six weeks after surgery. Complete healing with resolution of the swelling takes 2 to 3 months. The scar requires 12 to 18 months to fade, flatten, and soften. Doctor Doan and his staff will guide you through the entire recovery period to make sure that it is as smooth as possible.


Complications of Breast Reduction Surgery


If you are a healthy candidate with no pre-existing disorders or diseases which may inhibit healing, the general risks for Breast Reduction surgery are low. However, since it is indeed surgery, there are inherent risks you must consider before choosing to undergo a procedure such as this.  Potential complications associated with Breast Reduction surgery may include the following:

  • Infection: Infection can occur if bacteria are introduced intraoperatively by using unsterile equipment, or contaminated implants or instruments, or if normal skin surface bacteria survived the anti-microbial scrubbing of the skin. Infection can also occur when bacteria if bacteria is introduced either through the open incision, either due to improper care or opportunistic and antibiotic resistant bacteria, or from pre-existing infections in the body (including disruption of mouth plaque)

  • Bleeding:  Bleeding may occur 48 hours after breast augmentation if a blood vessel opens up spontaneously and begins to bleed.  The other possibility is that the muscle or capsule is torn by sudden heavy lifting and begins to fill the breast pocket with blood.

  • Wound Separation:  The separation of the wound edges may be an issue in some cases. If this occurs, keep the area very clean and contact your surgeon immediately. Revision surgeries are rarely necessary but can be in some cases. The healing process will take longer for a patient with wound separation than it would with a patient with normal wound healing.

  • Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars:  This is usually hereditary and is based on your genetic potential for healing. This is when the scar tissue forms outside the edges of the incision. It can result in thick, elevated, wide scars.

  • Asymmetry, where one breast or nipple may appear higher, or larger than the other. Although your surgeon will attempt to make your breasts as even in volume and height as possible, the body is not made of modeling clay. The body also heals differently from patient to patient. Your areola may not be completely round, edges may appear jagged or the areola may appear oval in shape.

  • Loss of Sensitivity or Numbness:  Loss of sensitivity is common, although temporary. Nerve endings are severed during this surgery, so you must be patient until they regenerate and sensations begin to return. This can take several months, however permanent sensation loss in the areola (nipple) area or breasts, in general, can and may happen.

  • Nipple Necrosis:  In very rare circumstances, the nipple can lose enough blood supply that it quickly turns from pale pink to dark blue-purple and then to black within days after surgery.  It will eventually form a crusty scab that needs to be removed.  The wound will heal from the bottom up.  A nipple reconstruction will need to be performed many months down the road.