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Breast Reduction: 5 Important Facts You Should Know

March 16th, 2015

Women graphic walkingThere are five most important facts every woman should know about breast reduction surgery. Breast reduction surgery removes excess skin and breast tissue to achieve a breast appearance in proportion with your body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts. During the procedure, once the skin and breast tissue is removed, the nipple is repositioned higher on the chest.

In our recent blogs, we discussed insurance coverage for breast reduction surgery and how a woman’s weight can be a factor in the coverage decision made by your insurance carrier.  We want you to be as informed as possible before you choose to have breast reduction surgery at the Bashioum Cosmetic Surgery Center, Ltd., so if you or a loved one is considering it, continue reading this blog! We hope these quick facts will help you better prepare for a consultation with your board certified plastic surgeon.

1.  Will there be scars after surgery?

Scars are a product of all surgeries, but it is important to understand where breast reduction scars will appear.. Our breast reduction scars are located around the nipple, straight down to the fold beneath the breast and in the fold itself. They are the shape of a keyhole or anchor. They are inconspicuous and can be easily covered with clothing. However, when your breasts are uncovered, the scars will be visible. There are procedures which leave shorter or less scars, but in my opinion, these do not give as natural a breast shape once healed.

2.  Will I lose feeling in my nipples?

Although rare, complete loss of nipple feeling can occur due to nerve injury. This may interfere with sexual arousal and breast-feeding. Ten to fifteen percent of patients experience some change in breast feeling. This can include loss of nipple sensation.

There are risks with any surgery. Infection, excessive bleeding, abnormal scarring, poor healing, slow healing, skin loss, changes in skin sensation, muscle or nerve injury, although uncommon, can occur. Although rare, loss of a nipple is possible. Fortunately, most problems resulting from such complications are correctable with additional surgery. You must completely understand your risk of complications before you choose to have breast reduction surgery.

3.  How old do I have to be to have this surgery?

Breast development can continue into the early twenties. When breast reduction surgery is done before this time, there is a chance the surgery will have to be repeated. In addition, it may be emotionally difficult to adjust to the surgery during teen years. For these reasons, many insurance carriers will not cover the cost of a breast reduction if a woman is younger than eighteen years of age.

4.  How long must I wait after breast-feeding before I can have breast reduction surgery?

You must wait for three to six months after breast-feeding before you can proceed with breast reduction surgery. This is due to an increased risk of blood and/or milk collections. In addition, it is impossible to predict what the size of your breasts will be until all the milk formation has passed.

5.  Will breast reduction surgery increase my risks of breast cancer?

Breast reduction does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. However, all women are at risk for breast cancer and one in eight women in the US will be diagnosed with a new breast cancer. If you have family members who have had breast cancer, your risk is increased. Examine your breasts monthly and have mammograms as suggested by your primary care physician. Remember that breast cancer can occur at any age and a physician must properly evaluate all breast lumps.

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Breast Asymmetry: What to do about it?

January 13th, 2015

breast asymmetry

Breast asymmetry is a very common concern among women, adolescents and adults alike. No one is born with perfectly symmetric breasts and mild to moderate differences in breast shape, size (1-2 cup size difference) and position in the developing adolescent are to be expected. Moreover, breast asymmetries that persist beyond puberty affect more than half of all women! In fact, one study in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, out of 100 women who wanted breast augmentation with implants found that 88 percent had natural asymmetries. At a time when our body and mind are changing rapidly, when is breast asymmetry a cause for concern? Having uneven breasts may impact a young woman’s body image. Let’s review the pros and cons of surgical intervention with an emphasis on newer techniques such as using liposuctioned fat to correct asymmetry, called fat transfer.

A recent study published in the December issue of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal highlights the psychological impact of breast asymmetry on adolescents. The study suggests that patients with breast asymmetry have poorer emotional well-being and lower self esteem than their female peers. This is not a surprising revelation given that high rates of breast dissatisfaction have been reported within the adolescent female population, especially during early adolescence when there is greater variance among peers. Psychological issues are important in this group of young women, and these issues include social embarrassment, low self-esteem, depression and isolation from classmates. Problems that occur relate to sexual relationships and cultural beliefs. The majority of these patients are young, healthy individuals, and the psychological and social impact of these conditions is significant. Physicians and parents should be aware that seemingly small differences to an examiner’s eye might have a considerable impact on the sometimes fragile psyche of an adolescent.

Surgical options for correction exist. These include improving breast symmetry by combining different techniques using implants, autologous (your own) fat transfer, liposuction, breast reduction and/or myocutaneous flaps. Correction of breast asymmetry often involves multiple surgical procedures. The best policy is early intervention with education, support and counseling. The key steps in successful management are diagnosis, appropriate referral, counseling, optimal timing of surgery and avoiding unnecessary surgery in a developing young adult. In the rare instance that the asymmetry causes such distress that your doctor recommends surgery, please consult with an experienced plastic surgeon about your options for surgery.

Newer techniques such as autologous fat transfer, offer a less invasive way to correct breast asymmetry with more natural appearing results. Fat grafting is natural, flexible and versatile. It allows the plastic surgeon to gradually sculpt and reconstruct the breast to a natural looking shape and feel. Like other reconstructive techniques, fat grafting is a staged procedure with results achieved over time. Fat is harvested from the abdomen, flanks and thighs and then is injected into the breasts through small incisions. This is an outpatient procedure, with each stage carried out every 3 to 6 months. The number of stages required for completion varies on an individual basis. The results are long lasting and the patient also receives the added benefit of liposuction at the donor sites.

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