There are several reasons why women may seek a breast reduction, such as to relieve neck, shoulder, and back pain. But even though this procedure is very common, many women who are interested in this treatment have many questions about the surgery and the surgical process. At Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI, we know that patients who have a reliable source of knowledge can make the best decisions about their health and aesthetic goals. Learn more about the most frequently asked questions related to this procedure before you call to schedule your consultation with Dr. Elluru.
What Is the Best Age To Get a Breast Reduction?
One of the most commonly-asked questions is about the best age to have a breast reduction. The truth is, as long as the patient desires a breast reduction, there is no “best” age for this procedure. There are several stages in life where a woman may want or need a reduction procedure. Ultimately, the best way to determine if you are at the right age to have this procedure is to attend a consultation with a plastic surgeon. That said, some of the most common age groups for this procedure include:
During puberty, secondary sex characteristics such as the breasts begin to develop, sometimes as early as age 11 or 12. Over the next several years, the size of the mammary tissue will grow in relation to genetics, weight gain, and hormones. However, many women younger than 18 struggle with overly large breasts and may desire a reduction before they become adults. Some girls as young as 15 or 16 may petition parents for permission to have this procedure.
However, while some surgeons may perform this procedure for girls younger than 18, most surgeons will not because the body is still developing. Additionally, because parental consent is necessary for any plastic surgery on a patient who is not a legal adult, the surgeon, patient, and parents will need to work together to determine whether or not surgery is a good idea. Many girls who want early reduction surgery will be encouraged to wait until they are at least 18.
Young women aged between 18 and 30 are one of the biggest groups to seek a reduction procedure or other breast augmentation procedures for that matter. By the time women are in their 20s, the overall shape of their body and the development of their breasts will be complete, so unless there is a drastic change in body weight, the size of the breasts is likely to be static. For some, this is an ideal age to have this surgery.
Pregnancy can drastically change the shape of a woman’s body, particularly her breasts. After breastfeeding, some women have breasts that are still enlarged with excess fat from the pregnancy. Many women like to have a reduction surgery after they have finished breastfeeding to restore the shape of the body to a pre-pregnancy form. That said, if you plan to have more children in the near future, it may make sense to postpone your procedure.
Women over the age of 40 also seek this procedure to refine the shape of their bodies. Many women experience changes in their body proportions related to aging, such as loss of volume in some areas of the body and gaining volume from fat in other areas. A reduction may be a good option to reduce the weight of the breasts, particularly for women who want to correct new body proportions.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Do Women Want Breast Reductions?
Women of all ages seek a reduction procedure for several reasons. For example, some women site shoulder, neck, and back pain as being a primary motivator for having this procedure. Overly-large breasts can place stress on the spine and the muscles of the back, which can cause physical discomfort over time.
Other women may want to correct the size of their breasts for the sake of convenience. Large breasts can feel cumbersome during exercise or basic household chores, and it may be difficult to find bras that fit correctly. By reducing the size of the breasts, women will be able to have an easier time in multiple areas of life.
The Importance of Confidence
Beyond all the practical reasons women may seek to have a reduction surgery, perhaps the most prominent motivation for this procedure is to improve self-confidence. A poor self-image related to the body can have long-lasting psychological impacts. Women who feel self-conscious about the size of their breasts for any reason may not feel comfortable in public wearing certain clothes and may even take great steps to not draw attention to themselves.
By reducing the size of the breasts, women may begin to feel more confident about themselves. With more confidence may come more happiness or even a new willingness to make healthier lifestyle choices. The importance of confidence is tied to having a positive sense of well-being, so there may be no greater reason to have this procedure than wanting to feel better about yourself.
2. Are There Signs You May Need a Reduction?
Although the decision to have reduction surgery will depend on your aesthetic goals, some signs may indicate a reduction will be a good idea for your health. For example, if you have chronic pain in the back, neck, or shoulder that requires pain medication, patches, or other at-home therapies for pain relief, you may want to consider a reduction.
Women may also want to consider a reduction procedure if they frequently have grooves from bra straps on the neck and shoulders. Rashes and skin irritation beneath the breasts are another common sign that your breasts may be too large. Difficulty sleeping, exercising, or performing daily activities can also be signs that a reduction is in your best interest.
3. Can You Breastfeed After Reduction Surgery?
Some women who have not had children or who plan to have more children in the future may worry about their ability to breastfeed after a breast procedure. Like most other breast procedures, there should be no issue with breastfeeding in the future. In fact, the techniques used for a reduction are the most friendly to future breastfeeding. Please be sure to bring up your concerns about future breastfeeding during your consultation with Dr. Elluru.
4. Is Anesthesia Required?
Yes, general anesthesia is required for this procedure. It will take a few hours to complete your reduction surgery, so you will be administered anesthesia by a certified anesthesiologist so you will be unconscious for the duration of the procedure. After your surgery is complete, you may feel groggy as the anesthesia wears off. As long as you are generally healthy and pass certain labs and exams, then you should be approved for surgery using general anesthesia.
5. How Should You Prepare for Surgery?
There are a few things you will need to do before you can have breast reduction surgery. For example, you may need to complete certain labs, exams, or medical evaluations to determine whether or not you are healthy enough for the procedure. You may need to adjust the dosage of certain medications or temporarily discontinue blood-thinning medications one to two weeks before your surgery. It’s also recommended that you complete a mammogram before your procedure to establish a baseline for your current breast tissue.
6. What Should You Do After Surgery?
Your recovery period will take about two to six weeks before you can resume normal activities, such as exercise. Most women will be able to resume light activity within one week of their procedure, meaning they can return to work after one to two weeks. During your recovery period, you will be required to wear a special bra for 24 hours a day for four weeks to encourage good healing. When you have fully recovered from the procedure, it’s recommended to have a mammogram to assess your breast tissue and establish a new baseline.
Feel More Confident Today
Large breasts can be difficult to cope with, especially when it becomes difficult to wear clothes or perform certain activities. Some women with overly large breasts may even experience chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. While there is no “best” age to have reduction surgery, most surgeons require their patients to be at least 18 years or older. Contact us at Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI to schedule your consultation today.