Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction is one of the most common breast surgeries performed by Shaw Plastic Surgery. The surgery is usually covered by insurance, and there is an approval process to go through before the surgery can be scheduled. The exception to this approval process is patients that have Medicare. There is not approval process for Medicare. Generally it is a covered procedure, but Medicare cannot tell you ahead of time whether or not they will pay for it.
Large, heavy breasts can cause chronic pain in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Often there are skin rashes below the breasts especially during warmer weather. In addition, there may be interference with work, exercises and normal activities, and buying clothes and bras that fit properly can be very difficult.
Some of the happiest patients we see at Shaw Plastic Surgery are those who have just undergone breast reduction surgery. The most common comment after surgery is, “I wish I had done this sooner.” There is not a particular age range for breast reduction patients. Often, I see women come in when they are done having children. If a patient is having significant discomfort from heavy breasts, there is no advantage to postponing surgery. The situation typically worsens with aging and gravity.
Breast reduction and breast lift are nearly the same surgery. The difference is the amount of tissue removed. The insurance company will dictate a minimum amount of breast tissue to be removed in order to meet their criteria for approval. Breast lift surgery is not covered by insurance so there are no restrictions. However, breast reduction surgery does include lifting, repositioning the nipple and making the nipple area smaller.
The surgery is performed by James M. Shaw, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, under general anesthesia. Patients go home the same day. You will need a responsible adult present to drive you home. Postoperative pain is typically less than the patient anticipated. Many say the pain they had every day from the weight of their breasts was worse than the temporary post-operative pain. You will have a prescription for pain medicine to use after surgery. Ice packs often work even better than the pain meds and the fewer pain meds, the less chance for side effects.
The first week after breast surgery should be spent at home with minimal activity. After one week, most women are ready to return to work or school and running errands. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first month following breast surgery.