Highlighting your reduced headlights

Highlighting your reduced headlights


All about breast reduction surgery

Do your breasts hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? If you don’t have the jingle to this song playing in your head right now, go take a quick nip at YouTube for the full effect. Maybe you can identify with the animals in the video.

If you don’t feel like singing, we will just cut to the chase and let it all hang out: sometimes our breasts are extremely saggy or have excessive skin. This low-hanging fruit could be genetic. Or maybe we’ve breastfed babies, gained and lost weight, or have a rare case of gigantomastia. Now we’re left with what feels like the weight of the world on our shoulders.

While other plastic surgery patients are seeking enhancement in terms of breast implants and lifts, all we want is some relief. Sometimes less breast is best. Our backs hurt, our bras dig into our shoulders and we’ve gone tits up in the fashion department. What do we need? Breast reduction surgery! When do we need it? Yesterday!

This article is the seventh in a series highlighting some of the most popular plastic surgery procedures. In the Highlighting series, we tell you ALL the alternative names of the surgery so you learn the medical terminology as well as develop a little street cred with slang terms. We share a little history of the procedure and describe the general process. We mention possible complications and give you an idea of the typical recovery time.

Also known as/similar or related names are:

Anchor breast reduction, boob job, breast ptosis, breast reconstruction, breast reshaping, gigantomastia, gynecomastia surgery, lollipop breast reduction, mastopexy, mastoplasty, mammoplasty, reduction mammoplasty, sagging/saggy breasts.

First recorded breast reduction

Let’s take a minute to remember that breast reduction isn’t just for the ladies. The history of this procedure is intertwined with that of gynecomastia. Byzantine surgeon Paulus of Aegina first documented gynecomastia-related characteristics he’d witnessed between 625-690 AD. Later he was the first to attempt surgery to correct it.

Fast forward to 1897 when surgeons Theodor Billroth and Alfred Pousson - who preferred complete removal instead of reduction in their technique - paid no attention to aesthetics. It wasn’t until 1903 when a French doctor named Guinard made some small incisions that led to big advancements in the history of the procedure. The South African Journal of Surgery published a titillating and comprehensive list of dates and improvements made in the development of breast reduction surgery throughout history.

General process

Once you’ve researched your surgeon and maybe took our advice before making your decision, you may have some responsibilities before showing up for your surgery. A mammogram will most likely be required prior to this type of plastic surgery. You may be asked to submit any breast images you’ve had done in the past. Your doctor may also have specific guidelines for you to follow regarding other areas of your life. A general pre-surgery plan can be found here.

As with many plastic surgery procedures, you start with a nap under general anesthesia. Once you’re asleep, your surgeon will make incisions to remove excessive skin and fatty tissue. Liposuction may be used. Your breasts may need to be reshaped and your nipples might be relocated. Your surgeon should discuss these details with you while you’re making your plastic surgery plan.

What could go wrong?

Complications that may occur include:
  • Hematoma - when blood can’t drain properly, it can collect under the skin. A medical professional can remove these collections with a syringe if your drains didn’t do a sufficient job.
  • Loss of nipple or areola - if your nipples have been removed due to a large reduction of tissue, there is a chance they won’t successfully reattach.
  • Possible inability to breastfeed - related to the removal and reattachment of the nipple, this function could be negatively affected. Many women wait to have this surgery until after they are done bearing children.

What could go right?

Look down at those funbags and think about:
  • Standing up straight with a relaxed back. Just the thought makes you feel perky, doesn’t it?
  • Wearing tighter, more complimentary shirts. You don’t need to enshroud the mountains in cotton now!
  • Feeling better inside your own skin with a more proportionate body composition. You don’t look top-heavy at all. Just ask all the people admiring your new shape.

Recovery time

You will wake up in the appropriately-sized post-surgical bra, possibly the smallest bra you’ve worn in years. This magical garment helps your breasts heal. Depending on your surgery and your surgeon’s plan, you might wear your new lingerie home the day of your surgery. You will experience discomfort and swelling. If you have post-surgical drains, you can’t shower until they’ve been removed.

All that time you lugged those puppies around will be a distant mammary while you recover. You won’t be picking up anything heavy for around 4-6 weeks. Many patients start to feel “normal” again after six months.

The last stitch

While you’re recovering, you might as well read. Here is our advice for the most effective way to heal after plastic surgery. Do you have support while you’re recuperating? If so, let your caretaker read this for advice on best meeting your needs. If you’re flying solo - many patients do and kudos to you - be careful holding that Kindle above your head to read. Your chest needs some time to relax. And so do you.


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