Chicago Breast Reduction – Northwestern Plastic Surgery

Oversized, heavy breasts can have uncomfortable physical and psychological side effects; the weight of the breasts can cause chronic neck and back pain, and the appearance of large breasts can cause feelings of shame and embarrassment. Breast reduction is a procedure in which excess breast tissue, fat and skin is removed to bring the breasts into better proportion with the rest of the body.

Breast Reduction Candidates

You may be an appropriate breast reduction candidate if you are in good physical health, do not smoke and feel that your oversized breasts interfere with your physical activity and level of personal comfort. For example, you may have indentations on your shoulders from your bra straps, or skin irritation below the crease of your breasts. You may also be a good candidate for breast reduction if your breasts hang low or your nipples rest below your breast crease when not supported.

Preparing for Breast Reduction

To prepare for breast reduction surgery, you’ll need to meet with our surgical team to discuss the procedure and what it entails. Together, you will come up with a treatment plan that addresses the concerns you have with your breasts. Our surgeons will discuss your options and recommend the best course of treatment. They may ask you to undergo some lab testing, a medical evaluation or a mammogram prior to surgery. They may also ask you to stop taking certain medications that can increase your risk of bleeding after surgery (e.g., aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements).

The Day of Surgery

Breast reduction is an outpatient procedure performed at our surgical center. When you arrive at our facility you will be escorted to the operating room. An anesthesiologist will administer medication so you remain comfortable throughout the procedure. Our plastic surgeon will make an incision in one of the following patterns:

  • A circular pattern around the areola
  • A keyhole-shaped pattern around the areola and vertically down to the crease of the breast
  • An inverted T or anchor-shaped pattern

Through the incision, our surgeon will remove excess breast tissue and reshape and lift the remaining tissue. The nipple will be repositioned higher on the breast (while staying attached to its original blood/nerve supple), and the areola may be reduced in size if necessary. In cases of extremely large or pendulous breasts, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and repositioned higher on the breast.

Once he is satisfied with the smaller breasts, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures and bandage the breasts. You will rest in our recovery suite for a few hours before being released into the care of a loved one.

Recovering from Breast Reduction

You will need someone to assist you for the first 24 hours following your procedure. As you recover from breast reduction, your breasts will feel sore and swollen; this will disappear over time. You should refrain from bending, lifting or straining, as this can affect your healing.

Breast Reduction Risks

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. Potential breast reduction complications include bleeding, infection, anesthesia-related complications, unfavorable scarring, changes / loss of sensation in the nipple or breast, and blood clots. Your plastic surgeon will discuss these risks in greater detail with you during your surgical consultation.

Other Considerations

Some women like to combine their breast reduction with body sculpting surgery to tighten and tone other areas of their bodies. For example, you may be interested in combining breast reduction with liposuction or tummy tuck. These procedures may be performed on the same day, or split up and performed several weeks or months apart. The result is breasts that are more proportional to your figure; and a more youthful-looking figure.

Another consideration is that you will not be able to lift or pick up your children during your surgical recovery. Be sure to coordinate with a loved one to handle childcare and other household responsibilities, so you can concentrate on your recovery.

Contact Northwestern Plastic Surgery

For more information about breast reduction, please contact the plastic surgery Chicago office of Northwestern Plastic Surgery. Call or email us to set up a consultation with our plastic surgeons and discuss your options. We look forward to meeting you and developing a treatment plan to address your concerns.