Breast Reduction Q&A with Dr. Jayesh Panchal

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How do I know if the symptoms I’m experiencing are related to my breast size?
I think it’s not so much about breast size as much as it is symptoms to be aware of. The heavier and bigger the breasts are, the more symptoms they cause. However, some smaller breasts are very dense, which can also cause issues. You should be aware of pain in your lower neck and your upper back. Also notice if your bra straps are digging into your shoulders or if your posture is stooping forward. You may also consider a reduction if you have difficulties playing sports or experience swelling after activity.

Are there non-surgical ways to reduce breast size?

No, at least not any that can provide consistent results.

At what size is it appropriate to get a breast reduction?
I think this is a very personal choice. Breast size becomes more of an issue with age because the older a person gets, the weaker the spine and back muscles will get. If you are at an F-G cup, these are common sizes that need reduction for comfort.

What are the most common sizes you reduce breasts to?

My goal is to make them a size that is proportional to the body profile. It’s difficult to gauge exactly what size they will be after the healing process as well.

How do you choose between a breast reduction and a breast lift?
If your primary issue is sagging, which is mainly related to skin, you will want a breast lift. If your primary issue is weight and volume, you’ll want a breast reduction.

Will my insurance cover a breast reduction?
Some insurances may cover the surgery, but only if the patient meets specific criteria. Another issue with insurance paying for a breast reduction is that the amount to be removed must be determined before surgery. This makes it difficult to estimate shape because the surgeon is compelled to measure by grams, without knowing the breast tissue composition. This estimate may not be accurate and can actually cause patient dissatisfaction if too many grams are removed.

After a breast reduction, will my breasts remain full?
This depends on how the breasts were before surgery. If they were empty in the upper pole before surgery (the top half, or upper part of the breast), they will still be empty afterward. For example, a young person with large breasts will have a reasonable amount of breast volume in the upper pole, so the breasts will be fuller after the reduction in comparison to a woman after child-bearing age. As you age, the breasts become longer in the lower pole (underneath, or lower half of breast) and stretch out the upper pole.

Will a breast reduction alter milk production?
Yes. Unfortunately you will not be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction because it cuts into your milk-delivery tissue. This is why reductions are most commonly performed on women after child-bearing age.

What is the most common age for a breast reduction? Is there an age minimum?

There is not an age minimum for a breast reduction. We will do a reduction for 14-16 year olds if their breasts are extremely large. Often they can’t do physical activity at school and they are embarrassed. Outside of special circumstances, the most common age for a breast reduction is typically after child birthing years around 40-42.

Can breast tissue grow back after a reduction?
Yes, if you gain weight after a breast reduction your breasts may increase in size. Also, some contraceptive have hormones that can increase breast tissue. Becoming pregnant after a breast reduction can also increase breast size, regardless of milk production abilities.

What is breast reduction recovery like? How long is the healing process?
A breast reduction surgery is longer than an augmentation by a week or so, but it is not a painful procedure. You should take similar precautions to any surgery: eat well, drink well, walk around, keep the area clean and no exercise for 10-12 weeks.

Are there any unusual risks for a breast reduction surgery (compared to other common surgical risks)?
One risk of breast reduction surgery is loss of sensation in the nipple as well as loss of blood supply to nipple. This is caused by replacing nipple from one area to the next. Also, as I mentioned above, milk production is eliminated, so you will not be able to breastfeed after breast reduction.

A breast reduction is the most satisfying procedure for the patient on the quality of life scale. Most of my patients immediately have back pain relief within 48 hours of the surgery.
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Edmond Plastic Surgeon