Large breasts can place a heavy burden on your body and self-image, and place excess weight on the back, chest and neck. Without the muscle infrastructure to support this weight, results can include chronic pain, and even malformations of the spinal cord.
Until recently, surgical breast reduction has been the main option available for breast reduction. This involves cutting out a section of breast and repositioning the nipple to elevate the breast.
An alternative treatment is tumescent liposuction, which provides the benefits of breast reduction surgery without the significant discomfort of the bruising, pain, scarring, loss of nipple sensation and risks of infection associated with excision-based breast reduction surgery.
A surgical (as in, scalpel-based) breast reduction procedure is called a mammoplasty. A mammoplasty requires the cutting out of sections of breast, relocating the nipple, and removing loose skin. It is extremely invasive, and is in essence redistributing the entire chest tissue in a new shape. This is very useful in some scenarios and may be the only option, but if we can avoid this level of interference in our flesh, we will. Liposuction breast reductions then become our preference.
Scarring is absolutely minimal from a liposuction breast reduction surgery, because we only need to make very small incisions to get the cannula into the breast. The incisions are hardly visible. Scarring from a traditional breast reduction surgery is much more visible.
The procedure is performed via very small incisions, about 1mm in diameter, so the tiny tube can fit through. We make these tiny incisions using what’s known as a punch, which also does biopsies. The hole is so tiny it heals over with virtually no visible scarring. During the procedure, the hole stretches, but it goes back to its usual skin elasticity once the procedure is over. Breast tissue, as is necessary for its many functions, is very flexible. Think of how many times your breasts may change over a lifetime.
There may be up to 10 tiny holes on each breast, but there are no incisions or other scars. Those with darker skin tones can have some increased pigmentation at the incision spot, but this tends to disappear.
Liposuction breast reduction surgery is considered to be a very safe procedure, since it does not involve general anaesthetic, improving the safety profile immediately. The special fluid injection also reduces infection risks and quells bleeding. There is no cutting involved at all, and a slight breast lift is experienced due to the skin naturally retracting. The entire procedure is completely different – but with a similar outcome – to traditional breast reduction surgery.
If you are considering breast reduction surgery, liposuction needs to be discussed as an option.
There is plenty of evidence that normal breastfeeding can continue as usual after liposuction breast reduction surgery. Long-term studies have not been conducted, however, so speak to your surgeon about the risks.
Essentially, you are not removing any ducting, only fat, so breastfeeding can – at least in theory – continue as normal.
There are some risks, but each of you will need to discuss those with Dr Rich extensively prior to surgery to establish if the outcome is worth the risks. Any surgery to the breast could result in the inadvertent injury to your ducts, despite this being rare, but it could also make breastfeeding a lot less painful to your back and set you up better for carrying a baby around. The pros and cons need to be balanced.
Things to consider with very large breasts include that lactating and breastfeeding are only going to make your breasts bigger and heavier, so having the surgery well before you want to breastfeed may be a smart idea.
There is minimal trauma to glandular breast tissue (which produces milk), and any inflammation resolves itself during the natural healing process. The norm is for a post-op mammogram to show a completely normal breast, and we do not have any reason to expect issues with breastfeeding.
The amount of fat in your breasts has no impact whatsoever on your ability to breastfeed your baby.
Because pregnancy results in breast changes, it is inadvisable to get pregnant soon after a liposuction breast reduction procedure. Your body needs time to settle down and feel completely normal before you should consider pregnancy. Your surgeon will discuss this with you but make your plans around leaving at least six months – to get your post-op mammogram at least – before allowing for the possibility.
This procedure is a day surgery, so you will need at least a few days off work depending what sort of job you have and what your normal activities require of your body. You will be required to wear special compression garments for several weeks, with bathing the only time you take it off.
Dr Rich performs all of our liposuction, so he will advise you regarding what you can and can’t do, including when you can exercise.
It isn’t always very clear who can and can’t get liposuction breast reduction surgery – it certainly isn’t for everyone. The best candidates for liposuction breast reduction surgery are:
As you can see, fatty breasts win the liposuction breast reduction surgery prize – otherwise, the procedure simply doesn’t work. Liposuction is a fat-removal procedure, so any breasts that don’t fit this bill will not be good candidates for liposuction breast reduction surgery.
Breast reduction surgery via liposuction requires a mammogram prior to the surgery, because any growths must be ruled out or examined before any procedure is carried out. Breast cancer risk must be deemed low at the outset.
A family history of breast cancer requires careful consideration with detailed a consent in place – the risks of aggravating cancer with this procedure exist.
Mammograms look for calcification in breast tissue, which on the image look like tiny white flecks. Breast surgery can result in tiny white flecks of calcification too, but these are not cancerous. This means breast surgery can interfere with the detection of a real breast cancer in the future, so a baseline mammogram must be taken so we can see the changes of the before and after surgery.
A comparison mammogram means better safety in terms of breast cancer detection, and conversely, knowing when not to worry. The breast tissue will differ in both mammograms, so learning just how that has manifested is important. Post-operation, another mammogram must be taken no more than six months later as the new baseline. There is no evidence that breast reduction surgery increases the risk of breast cancer development.
After the surgical realignment of the breast, small nodules can develop – these are known as pseudocysts (fake cysts), but they are actually fat-filled sacs. The surgical excision method of a breast reduction results in more calcifications in breast tissue. Liposuction, due to it not causing damage to tissue, rarely presents these calcifications, nodules, or changes.
Glandular tissue is spared in liposuction, so the natural structure of the ducting of the breast remains intact – this allows for milk production and delivery as per usual.
Postmenopausal women tend to have more fat in their breasts than other women due to a reduction in oestrogen. This leaves less glandular tissue in the breast. The result of liposuction breast reduction surgery in older women tends to be excellent, since younger women’s breasts tend to be more fibrous and glandular, making the operation harder and with less impressive results.
Contact us to discuss your breast reduction surgery at our Armadale clinic in Melbourne.
*Results may vary from person to person
If you are considering reducing the size of your breasts, contact us for a comprehensive, personal consultation with Dr Rich, as well as for a full medical and aesthetic assessment.
Liposuction of the breast is a straightforward day surgery performed with a local anaesthetic, usually seeing a fast recovery. Traditional breast reduction surgery comes with a lot more healing, rearrangement of tissue, and recovery than liposuction due to the way it is performed. But, not everyone is a good candidate for liposuction, as it depends on the breast containing a large portion of fatty tissue, rather than fibrous tissue.
Using liposuction means the entire breast stays completely intact at all times, including milk ducting. When we remove fatty tissue from the breast using liposuction, a special fluid is injected into the breast that not only anaesthetises the whole area, but softens the fat to make it easier to systematically remove via suction – leaving just the right amount for a shapely breast.
Because liposuction has some limitations in terms of how much fat tissue can actually be removed due to accessibility, about half the breast fat volume can be removed. This may not be appropriate for everyone.
Results will vary between women – every breast has its own unique features, and every woman wants different outcomes. The most common breast reduction is of one or two cup sizes.
This is not the case with traditional breast reduction surgery, since the whole process tends to sever milk ducting systems or cause scarring that blocks ducts. Scalpels are used to remove a lot of breast tissue, including glands and ducts, making milk production generally an impossibility. This is one of the reasons that newer liposuction techniques are so useful – providing viable options for women who want smaller breasts, but who still want to breastfeed babies in the future.