It’s often said that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. When it comes to breasts, this couldn’t be more true.
Some women are so top-heavy that their breasts feel embarrassing or cumbersome (or both), and it can affect everything from their self-esteem to their overall quality of life. For these ladies, breast reduction surgery can, quite literally, be a weight off their chests. But not all procedures–or doctors–are made equal.
Here are the top five things you should know if you’re trying to decide if breast reduction surgery is right for you.
1. If your doctor suggests anything other than the lollipop technique, get a second opinion.
While there is more than one way to make an incision during a breast reduction procedure, the lollipop technique is the one that provides the most comfortable recovery and the least amount of scarring. The procedure begins with an incision encircling the areola, just inside the pigmented area, so the scar will be almost invisible. A second incision is added vertically, down the lower portion of the breast.
An anchor-pattern reduction, on the other hand, is an older method that often results in a boxy breast, rather than one that is a natural, tear-shape. Furthermore, it adds a curved horizontal scar that is quite noticeable. At Barrett Plastic Surgery, we believe the lollipop technique is the best and only method that should be used.
2. Insurance may cover you, but you will need to do some legwork.
Breast reduction is one of the few cosmetic surgeries that is also considered reconstructive and, therefore, eligible for insurance coverage. However, obtaining that coverage can be a complicated process.
Insurance providers will typically ask for documentation of physical symptoms–like back and neck pain–in order to prove that the surgery is medically necessary. They also use a complicated formula to determine whether your breasts are large enough to be problematic, which is based on your current measurements and the amount of tissue your doctor plans to remove.
Your best bet is to talk to your insurance provider before your consultation. That way, if you’re potentially eligible, you can determine the steps required to obtain coverage. This often means trying a treatment plan for pain and other symptoms before resorting to surgery.
3. The benefits of breast reduction go way beyond a smaller cup size.
Besides walking out of the office with a more proportional physique and better breast symmetry, a reduction can reduce back and neck pain and eliminate rashes under the breast line and grooving in the shoulders. Your clothes will likely fit better and most patients report increased confidence and the ability to do activities that were previously too difficult or uncomfortable.
And there’s more! A breast reduction can improve numbness in the hands and arms due to nerve compression, poor posture and breathing problems resulting from pressure on the chest wall. Some women have even found relief from migraines, as it’s believed that massive breasts can put undue strain on the nerves and muscles in the neck, causing the excruciating headaches.
4. Layered incisions help reduce scarring.
At Barrett Plastic Surgery, we use layered suturing techniques that reduce tension on the incision. That means that each incision is closed in five precise layers without using reactive sutures that can cause scarring. This method is critical to ensuring a smooth healing process. An external tape is applied over the sutures, and a surgical bra is sometimes put in place to give breasts the necessary support during recovery.
Dr. Barrett also puts his patients on a 12-week silicone scar gel program to encourage healthy healing and further minimize scarring. The scars will fade over time, although it may take up to a year. It’s essential to protect the area from direct sun exposure until this happens, as UV rays can adversely affect healing and cause the scar to discolor. Fortunately, scars can usually be concealed by a bra or a bathing suit during the healing process.
5. Recovery is often more comfortable than patients expect.
In fact, you’ll return home the same day as your procedure and most likely be back to your daily routine within a week or less. Often, patients experience instant relief from pain in the back, neck or shoulders, while also finding they can breathe easier without the extra weight on their chest.
At Barrett Plastic Surgery, our breast reduction patients are hands down our happiest patients. We think it’s because Dr. Barrett tailors his breast reduction procedures to each patient to ensure their curves make them feel comfortable in their own skin. Dr. Barrett sees fewer patients each day so that he can take the time necessary to intimately understand your concerns and aesthetic goals. After your procedure, he will see you personally at regular intervals to monitor your recovery. During that time, he’ll advise you when you can return to specific activities based on your progress.
Ready to see for yourself how a board-certified plastic surgeon can turn “too much of a good thing” into the curves you’ve always wanted? Call Barrett Plastic Surgery at 310-598-2648 today to find out if breast reduction surgery is right for you.
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She currently writes for Elite, a plastic surgeon in Tampa that focuses on rhinoplasty.