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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, 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. If lifting up your own breasts (manually) relieves your symptoms you may well be a good candidate for this surgery.
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%. Mr Kenton-Smith has observed that the satisfaction rate in his breast reduction patients is even higher than this!
One of the commonest comments after breast reduction is: "I wish I had done this years ago".
The surgery is performed at St Georges Hospital, Southern Cross Hospital or Forte Health in Christchurch. These are 3 private hospitals that deliver very high quality health care. The surgery lasts approximately 2 hours. 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.
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is always performed at the time of breast reduction surgery. There is no extra charge for this.
Mr Kenton-Smith includes some liposuction in almost all of his breast reduction operations. However, it is rare that liposuction alone would be a suitable technique because, without skin reduction and lifting of the breast, the breast becomes an empty sack without shape.
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 your consultation and may also be viewed on this website in the before and after photos. Your individual result will depend on various factors and these will be discussed at your consultation. Most women feel so relieved after a breast reduction that scarring is not something that concerns them post operatively.
Mr Kenton-Smith and his staff will advise you how to manage the scarring. Essentially, you would use Mefix or Micropore tape for 4-6 months following surgery until scars turn from red to white. 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. Use of tape in this way can help minimise the outcome of scars.
The risks of breast reduction include returning to theatre the same day because of bleeding. This is rare. There is also approximately a 1% risk of nipple loss; this risk is much higher if you smoke. Whilst every effort is made to perfectly match the two breasts, a variation between the two sides can occur. However, most breasts are not symmetrical to start with and breasts generally become more symmetrical following surgery. Infection in the breasts can also occur, again this is rare, typically 2 or 3 weeks after surgery.
Have your surgery performed by a reputable surgeon with many years of experience
Choose a New Zealand Accredited hospital with high standards of care
Ensure you will have an experienced consultant anaesthetist performing your anaesthetic
Carefully follow the after-care instructions you are given and ensure you rest and avoid doing too much too soon
Avoid long distance plane travel within the 2 weeks either side of surgery. This significantly increases the chances of DVT (deep venous thrombosis)
Ensure you are fit and healthy prior to the surgery
Walk daily after your surgery as soon as your surgeon allows
There are a number of things to consider here. Recovering from surgery is not a holiday. Whilst it may be appealing to have surgery and a holiday at the same time, you will need to recover after surgery and this is often best done at home with the support of your family/friends. The total cost of surgery abroad, including flights and accommodation, for you and your support person may not be much cheaper than simply having the surgery closer to home by a surgeon you trust and know the reputation of. Post operatively, Mr Kenton-smith’s patients are well looked after whereas, when surgery is carried out overseas follow up care is generally lacking. We too see the adverts and programs showing the success stories of surgery abroad but, sadly, we have a regular stream of patients coming to us for help after their surgery has not gone well abroad. It is often very difficult to help them much at this point as the damage has usually been done and is hard or impossible to reverse.
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. Smoking is not permitted because it significantly increases the risk of wound healing problems and nipple loss.
Most people take 2 weeks off work following surgery. The first week patients are advised to take it very easy at home. They can then, gradually, increase their activities. The precise amount of time off work will depend on your age and occupation e.g. office workers will generally be back at work at 2 weeks whereas someone who has a more physical job will probably not. Your individual expected recovery time can be discussed during your consultation.
The cost of breast reduction, including surgeon's fees, anaesthetic and hospital fees, is approximately $13,500-14,500.
It is a good idea to check with your insurance company prior to making an appointment to see what you are covered for. Many insurance policies cover part of the cost of breast reduction surgery but it is rare for a policy to cover the full cost, although some do. Mr Kenton-Smith usually writes a letter to insurance companies to support your claim. As we are Affiliated Providers for Southern Cross, your consultation should be covered and often patients receive up to $5,000 towards the operation.