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Women who benefit from breast reduction are usually those with D cup breasts or larger. They may have neck, shoulder and back pain, along with pain from their bra straps and possibly rashes under the breasts. These symptoms are significantly improved by breast reduction. Other women choose breast reduction for psychological or aesthetic reasons. Breast reduction can improve the ability to exercise, if this has been restricted by the size of your breasts.
Breast lift, or mastopexy, is always performed at the time of breast reduction.
Many studies have shown that breast reduction has a significant effect on quality of life in patients with large breasts. Studies quote satisfaction rates of 95%. One of the commonest comments after breast reduction is "I wish I had done this years ago."
Mr. Kenton-Smith will not perform breast reduction on smokers. Patients need to have stopped smoking for at least three weeks prior to surgery and continue not smoking for at least three weeks after surgery - preferably forever. Smoking is not permitted because it significantly increases the risk of wound healing problems and nipple loss.
Reducing the size of the breasts does result in scars. Most women will have a scar that goes around the nipple, drops straight down from the nipple to the breast fold and then continues along the breast fold. Examples of typical scars will be shown at consultation and may also be viewed on page in the before and after photo's. It is possible to perform breast reduction by liposuction only, however this rarely gives an attractive shape.
The surgery is performed at St Georges Hospital or Southern Cross Hospital in Christchurch. Mr. Kenton-Smith will see you on the Ward prior to surgery to discuss any last minute questions and concerns. He will mark up your breasts and you will then be taken to Theatre. The surgery lasts approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. You will then be taken to Recovery and will awaken with dressings on your breasts. Most patients spend a single night in hospital and are reviewed the following morning by Mr. Kenton-Smith, before returning home. Follow-up appointments are made at that stage.
The risks of breast reduction include returning to theatre the same day because of bleeding. This is rare. There is an approximately 1% risk of nipple loss, although this is higher if you smoke. Whilst every effort is made to perfectly match the two breasts, a variation between the two sides can occur. (Most breasts are not symmetrical to start with and breasts generally become more symmetrical following surgery.) Infection in the breasts can also occur, typically 2 or 3 weeks after surgery.
Mr. Kenton-Smith and his staff will advise you to use Mefix or Micropore tape for 4-6 months following surgery, until scars turn from red to white. This can help minimise the appearance of scars. The tape is left on for 4-5 days at a time and simply replaced when it falls off. During this time it is fine to shower.
Most people take two weeks off work following surgery. The first week they are advised to take it very easy at home. They can then gradually increase their activities.
The cost of breast reduction, including surgeon's fees, anaesthetic and hospital fees, is approximately $13,500-14,500.
Most insurance companies will not cover the full cost of breast reduction surgery. They may be willing to make a part payment, after a report is sent by Mr Kenton-Smith. In the case of Southern Cross Insurance, depending on your policy, this may be up to $5,000.