Breast Reduction: 3 Ways on How Surgeons Do It
- 01 June 2016
- Dr. Mark Broudo
If your large breasts are giving you a hard time and preventing you from doing even the simplest of your daily activities, then you should consider getting a breast reduction. This surgery can do wonders in your life, especially if you are suffering from back, neck, and shoulder pain because of the weight of your breasts.
It can even make you less self-conscious about the size of your breasts, allowing you to wear a wider variety of clothing styles than what you were used to before.
While breast reduction basically involves the reduction of excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with your body, cosmetic surgeons use various surgical techniques to achieve its desired results.
Depending on the patient’s existing breast anatomy, type and amount of tissue to be removed, and the patient’s desired outcome, here are the three techniques that surgeons use for breast reduction surgery.
Anchor Pattern Technique
Dubbed as the most common type of breast reduction surgery, the traditional anchor pattern technique is best for women with extremely large breasts, as well as those with considerable sagging and asymmetry. It is also used for women whose breasts have more glandular tissue than fat, which often the case for women who are thin, with highly dense breast tissue, and have not yet reached menopause.
It involves extensive incisions horizontally under the breast in the crease and then extended vertically up and around the nipple, hence creating an anchor pattern. It is also called an inverted-T breast reduction because of the pattern that the incisions create.
The large incisions allow for a lot of breast tissue to be removed both vertically and horizontally, hence maximizing the results of breast reduction. It also removes excess skin, hence creating a smooth appearance of the breasts within a month after surgery.
But though the anchor pattern technique is very effective in reducing the size of the breasts, it also produces the most amount of scarring. The good thing is that the resulting breast reduction scars typically fade within a year after surgery. They can also be easily hidden by bathing suits and even low-cut tops.
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Another possible problem is when the nipples get completely detached from blood vessels and milk ducts during surgery. In this case, there is an increased risk for loss of sensation and loss of breastfeeding ability after breast reduction surgery.
Patients who undergo this technique find that their breasts appear wider and flatter after surgery, so it is important to take a look at breast reduction before and after photos to see if these are the results that you want to achieve.
Vertical Incision Technique
Popularly known as the “lollipop” technique, vertical breast reduction is best for women who only need a moderate reduction in breast size and have noticeable breast sagging. It typically results in shapelier breasts and less scarring compared to the anchor pattern technique. Because of this, it is also referred to as the “short scar” technique. Some also call it the Lejour breast reduction, named after Prof. Madeleine Lejour, a professor of plastic surgery at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, because of her contributions to the development of this technique.
Incisions in the vertical technique extend around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease, creating a lollipop-shaped pattern. This incision pattern allows the cosmetic surgeon to remove excess fat, skin, and breast tissue, reshape the new smaller breasts internally, and lift the breast into a more youthful position. It eliminates the need for a horizontal incision along the breast crease similar to the anchor pattern technique, hence resulting in much less scarring that can be easily hidden by a bra or bikini top.
Aside from less breast reduction scars, the vertical incision technique is also less invasive and less disruptive to glandular breast tissue than the traditional inverted-T breast reduction. Surgery and recovery time is also shorter, as well as the amount of anesthesia used.
There is also less risk of permanently losing the sensation of the nipples and the surrounding skin since it makes use of the pedicle method in repositioning the nipples. This allows the nipple to remain attached to a strip of tissue, hence keeping most blood vessels and milk ducts intact. It also increases the chances of preserving breastfeeding ability.
However, breasts may appear lumpy and wrinkled for several months after breast reduction since excess skin is not removed during the surgery. Instead, it is pleated up, tightened, and smoothened out over time.
Breast reduction can also be done by liposuction alone. Since liposuction involves the reduction of the amount of fatty tissue in the breasts, women whose breasts have more fatty tissue than glandular tissue are the ideal candidates. It is also being done among men with gynecomastia—an abnormal enlargement of breasts in men.
In the liposuction technique, the surgeon makes a small incision under the armpit or in the crease beneath the breast. A surgical tube—known as a cannula—is inserted into the breast through this incision and is used to break up and remove fatty tissues from the breast. This differs from other breast reduction techniques because connective tissues rather than fatty tissues are more affected in those incisions.
The great thing about liposuction is that it leaves little scarring, as only one small and inconspicuously placed incision is needed for each breast. Since it does not remove glandular or connective tissues, there is no risk of losing sensation in the nipple area or breast skin. Milk ducts are also not affected, hence making breastfeeding possible after quick breast reduction recovery.
However, this is not the best choice for women with excessively large breasts and a lot of glandular tissue. It is also not a good technique if you are also having problems with stretched skin and sagging and asymmetrical breasts. This technique does not affect the shape of the breasts—only the volume—so taking a look at breast reduction before and after results can help you determine if this is the look that you want to get.
Before you undergo breast reduction surgery, make sure that you are well-informed of your options. Schedule a consultation with one of our qualified board-certified cosmetic surgeons here at Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery and we will help you select the best breast reduction technique that is right for you.