Excessively large, heavy breasts can be an imposing burden and the source of numerous physical problems for many women, including chronic back and neck pain, skin irritation, a limited range of motion, numbness in the hands and fingers, shortness of breath, and more. While temporary relief from these ailments can often be achieved via medication, physical therapy, or ergonomic modifications, these remedies are typically just that—temporary. Furthermore, they do nothing to address self-consciousness and/or any other non-physical issues that might also stem from having overly large breasts.
For women seeking a more effective, long-term solution to concerns created by oversized breasts, breast reduction surgery is usually an excellent option.
What Is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction surgery (or reduction mammaplasty) is designed to decrease the weight and size of large breasts while also improving their shape, symmetry, and position on the chest wall. These enhancements are achieved through the meticulous removal of excess breast tissue, recontouring of remaining tissue, and tightening of the skin.
Regarded as one of the top plastic surgeons in Austin, Dr. Steven Holzman is both skilled and experienced in customizing breast reductions to create exceptional, natural-looking results. His patients generally experience a drastic reduction in back and neck pain, as well as increased self-confidence after surgery. In addition, they often find their ability to exercise and perform certain tasks improves, they have the freedom to dress in clothing and undergarments they were formerly unable to wear, and their overall quality of life gets much better after a breast reduction. It is most rewarding for both patient and doctor.
Who Is a Candidate for Breast Reduction?
Ideal candidates for breast reduction generally include females who are bothered by one or more of the concerns listed below:
- Breasts that are disproportionately large for one’s frame
- Overly large breasts that droop overtop of the abdomen
- Chronic pain or discomfort in the back, neck and/or shoulders
- Lingering skin rashes and/or irritation underneath the breasts
- Deep, painful shoulder grooves created by bra strap pressure
- Unwanted attention caused by the appearance of the breasts
- Inability to participate in certain sports or physical activities due to breast discomfort
- Difficulty finding bras, swimsuits, and various articles of clothing that fit properly
Additional factors that can impact candidacy include smoking and weight loss goals. If you are currently a smoker, Dr. Holzman will likely advise that you quit at least four weeks prior to surgery (ideally with no intention of resuming the habit afterwards), as smoking can negatively affect healing. Additionally, if you have plans to lose a significant amount of weight, he may recommend putting treatment off until you are at—or very near—your desired weight in order to ensure a long-lasting outcome.
At the time of your consultation, Dr. Holzman will extensively cover all candidacy requirements, as well as perform a thorough examination to determine if breast reduction is right for you.
What Happens During the Breast Reduction Consultation?
During your breast reduction consultation, essential elements of your symptoms and any pertinent breast history are documented. Previous surgeries, medications, injections, history of breastfeeding, pregnancies, family history, and mammogram history will be discussed, and a physical exam focused on the breasts, shoulders, and back will be performed—including measurements of the breasts. Generally, no additional studies—such as CT scans or MRIs—are needed.
Dr. Holzman will then determine the ideal breast size for your frame, identify the amount of tissue to be removed, and formulate a customized plan for reducing the breasts that results in the least amount of scarring while producing symmetrical, proportional results. If necessary, he might also recommend liposuction to the sides of the chest to eliminate excess fat hanging out over the bra near the armpits—an aesthetic concern known as bra bulge or bra rolls. This supplemental liposuction is considered entirely cosmetic (and is therefore not covered by insurance), but in the right candidates it can result in an improved, slimmer appearance for the entire region. Additionally, bra bulge liposuction can typically be performed through the same incisions utilized for breast reduction often resulting in no additional scarring.
It is very rewarding for Dr. Holzman to meet and evaluate breast reduction patients, as he is confident that virtually all who undergo this treatment will be happy with their results, achieving a nice improvement in size and excellent relief of their symptoms.
What Bra and Breast Size Will I Be After Breast Reduction?
Although he has been performing this procedure successfully for many years, Dr. Holzman has yet to find the perfect way to describe to patients the exact size that will be created from the surgery. He considers himself a breast surgeon but not a bra-fitter. In general, Dr. Holzman prefers to make a breast size that is reasonable and proportionate to each patient’s body size. Your bra size will be determined approximately one month after the surgery, once most of the swelling has resolved. At this time, you can then visit your favorite bra store to get fitted and sized for your new bras. If you have only been able to get custom-sized bras beforehand, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that most off-the-shelf bras will be quite satisfactory. Sometimes, Dr. Holzman jokes that the real cost of the breast reduction procedure is the expense generated by the new wardrobe that is required to fit your new body!
What Does the Breast Reduction Procedure Entail?
Breast reduction is one of the most common procedures Dr. Holzman performs. During surgery, he will make an initial incision around the outside of the nipple and vertically down the underside of the breast. He will then remove the appropriate amount of excess breast and fat tissue before carefully reforming the breasts and suturing the incisions closed. The sutures are placed under the skin and do not require removal. If liposuction is utilized to eliminate fat on the sides of the chest—bra bulge—this will typically be done prior to incision closure. Lastly, Dr. Holzman will reposition the areola and the nipple to ensure the most natural-looking results.
On average, breast reduction takes two to three hours to complete, and general anesthesia is typically utilized. Generally performed as an outpatient operation, most patients are able to return home later the same day with the aid of a friend or family member.
What Will Recovery from Breast Reduction Be Like?
Recovery from breast reduction surgery varies from patient to patient, though most women are able to return to non-strenuous daily routines after about one week. Some extent of bruising and/or tenderness can be expected initially, though these symptoms should fade over time. Postoperative breast swelling is also common but should gradually dissipate over the course of several months. To help facilitate healing and ensure an optimal final outcome, vigorous exercise, physical sports, and other strenuous activities will need to be avoided for a minimum of a few weeks—after which time all restrictions are usually lifted.
Will I Have Breast Reduction Scars?
Any surgical procedure involving incisions will result in some degree of scarring—and breast reduction is no exception. That said, the incision pattern typically utilized by Dr. Holzman to perform breast reduction can usually be concealed by most bras, bikinis, and blouses. In addition, the prominence of scarring tends to fade naturally over time, and Dr. Holzman can provide several recommendations for scar care throughout the healing process to help improve the final appearance. Ultimately, virtually every patient reports that the numerous benefits of breast reduction surgery are completely worth any post-surgical marks that appear on the breasts.
How Much Does a Breast Reduction Cost?
According to the most recent data provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average cost of breast reduction is approximately $5,700.* It is important to note, however, that this expense is only representative of the average surgeon’s fee in the United States—supplementary costs are not included. Exact pricing for your procedure will be impacted by the skill and experience of your plastic surgeon, the geographic location of their practice, how complex your surgery is, hospital and anesthesia fees, whether or not your insurance provides any coverage, and various other elements unique to your treatment.
To obtain a personalized quote for breast reduction, you will need to schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Holzman, at which time he can break down all potential costs associated with your care after customizing a treatment plan based on an extensive evaluation of your case. If price is a limiting factor in your decision to pursue breast reduction, we do offer plastic surgery financing to help make the procedure as affordable as possible for virtually any budget.
*This price was taken from research published by ASPS and is not representative of the exact cost of breast reduction surgery at Dr. Holzman’s practice. A personal consultation is needed to determine specific pricing for your treatment.
Contact Our Practice
If you have further questions regarding breast reduction surgery, or if you are considering this procedure and wish to book a consultation with Dr. Holzman, please feel free to get in touch with our practice online or by telephone today. We are happy to help!