What is Breast Reduction?Breast reduction is a surgery to remove excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts in order to ease discomfort. When women have unusually large breasts, the weight of the breast tissue can cause significant pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. If the breast tissue pulls the shoulders down in a certain way, nerve problems can result, leading to a feeling of pins and needles in the arms and hands. The skin underneath large breasts can suffer from rashes. Women with unusually large or heavy breasts might not be able to participate in sports or other activities that they would like to do. Large breasts can also lead to unwanted attention and a significant loss of self-esteem for many women. Some men may also seek to have breast reduction surgery. Due to certain hormonal disorders, men can sometimes develop enlarged breast tissue, called gynecomastia. This condition can be a source of great emotional distress. During a breast reduction surgery, the patient is usually 'put to sleep' with general anesthesia. An incision is made around the areola, the dark area around the nipple, and sometimes down the underside of the breast as well. Through this incision, the breast tissue is removed, lifted, and shaped. The areola and nipple are repositioned higher on the breast. Then the new breast is sutured, or sewn closed. The entire procedure takes between two and five hours. For several weeks after the reduction, the new breasts will be swollen from surgery, and their size will continue to change until healing is complete. Scars are usually small but visible right after surgery, but they fade after several months. In order to be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, a patient must be in good general health, not significantly overweight, not a smoker (or able to stop smoking temporarily), and old enough that the patient's breasts have finished developing. Although there are several good reasons to undergo breast reduction surgery, there are risks as well. Some of these risks are related to surgery in general, such as risks for anesthesia or blood clots. Others are specific to breast reduction surgery, and they include the risk of asymmetrical breasts, decreased sensation in the breasts, or an inability to breastfeed in the future.
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