Women with overly large, heavy breasts can experience a range of symptoms, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, or rashes. When the breast tissue is too large for the woman’s frame and figure, it can lead to more personal issues, including embarrassment, trouble finding clothing that fits, and worries about drawing unwanted attention. Breast reduction surgery reshapes the breasts, so they are in proportion to the figure.
What is breast reduction surgery?
Our Washington DC breast reduction surgery is a custom procedure that involves removing excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, reshaping the breast mound, relocating the nipples, and creating a pleasing physical balance.
Because breast reduction surgery is designed to correct a physical concern in addition to a cosmetic improvement, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) places breast reduction in the category of reconstructive surgery, as opposed to cosmetic surgery. Breasts that are too big or heavy for your frame and are out of proportion with your figure can cause back, neck and shoulder pain, posture problems, difficulty with exercise and other issues.
Breast reduction surgery provides a balanced, shapely breast size that’s in proportion with your body. Your surgery can alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with overly large breasts. And breast reduction surgery provides dramatic cosmetic enhancement, and often greatly improves confidence and self-esteem.
What to expect during your breast reduction?
Before your breast reduction surgery, you will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Chang. Dr. Chang will examine your breasts, review your medical history, and ask what your goals are for your breasts. You’ll have a chance to have your questions answered, and you’ll be walked through the steps of your breast reduction surgery in detail.
Your surgery will begin with general anesthesia. When this has taken effect, Dr. Chang will carefully make incisions around the areola, and vertically downward from the center of the breast mound to the crease. In some cases, a further incision will also be made in the natural breast crease.
Once the incisions are made, Dr. Chang will remove excess fat, tissue and skin to reduce the size of the breasts, lift and reshape them. He will create a higher, more aesthetically pleasing form, then reposition the nipples so that they point upward to achieve a more youthful, perkier look. Dr. Chang will layer sutures deep within the tissue to support your newly sculpted breasts, and the incisions will be closed.
Am I a candidate for breast reduction?
If you are living with any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery:
- Chronic pain: The weight of heavy breasts can cause a strain on the neck, back, and shoulders, resulting in chronic pain.
- Poor posture: Heavy breasts can cause poor posture, including rolling the shoulders forward, which can put pressure on the thoracic outlet (blood vessels and nerves between the collarbone and the first rib), compress nerves and blood vessels, and cause pain and tingling in the upper extremities.
- Shoulder grooves: The weight of heavy breasts pulling on the bra straps, day after day, can cut deep, painful, grooves in the shoulders.
- Skin irritation: Rashes and skin irritation underneath the breasts, including heat rash, are common in very large-breasted women. It is difficult to keep the area under the breasts cool and dry when sweat cannot evaporate. Spillage out of a bra cup can also cause chafing on the sides of the breasts.
Breast reduction costs in Northern Virginia
Your Northern Virginia breast reduction surgery can vary in cost, based on the extent of the procedure.
Breast reduction incisions
A breast reduction can be performed with several types of incisions.
- Lollipop: The incisions are placed around the areola, and vertically downward from the center of the breast mound to the crease.
- Anchor: The incisions are around the areola, vertically down the lower portion of the breast mound, and in the natural breast crease.
Breast reduction scars
As the surgery involves incisions, you will have scars. They are carefully placed so they are hidden from view, even in low-cut tops, bras, or bikinis.
Recovery timeline for breast reduction surgery
If you are going to undergo breast reduction in Northern VA, understanding what to expect in your recovery is an important issue.
Breast reduction surgery timeline
Day of surgery
You will be prepped for surgery and put under anesthesia.
Immediately after surgery
After surgery, you will be monitored by medical personnel until given the okay to return home under the care of another adult. You will be wearing a surgical bra over your bandages.
Week after surgery
The week after your surgery, swelling, bruising, and shape issues are starting to resolve. You must still avoid lifting, stretching, bending, or any vigorous motions. Your activities are limited during the first week. No smoking or alcoholic beverages to be consumed.
Two weeks after surgery
The swelling has significantly reduced at the two-week mark. Stitches are typically removed at ten days to two weeks. You will still need to wear the compression bra, but are starting to feel like yourself, and able to return to work or other activities. No exercise other than walking.
One month after surgery
Your breasts have taken on their new shape and are starting to look as they will when finally healed. You should feel well enough to return to your usual social activities, but not vigorous exercise.
Three months after surgery
At three months, your breasts look natural and beautiful, but your scars have not fully faded, appearing as a red line on your skin. They are invisible when wearing bras, swimsuits, or revealing clothing.
Six months after surgery
Your breasts look beautiful, round, and balanced, and you are far more comfortable with your figure and sensitivity and numbness has faded away.
One year after surgery
At one year after your surgery you are enjoying your new figure, your scars are fading to match your skin, and you are able to engage in all activities you missed due to overly-large breasts, including vigorous exercise, jogging, or others. Life is good.
You will be provided extensive post-op instructions that must be carefully followed. The basics of your instructions include:
- Take all prescribed medications as directed, and ensure you complete the full course of antibiotics.
- Do not remove the bra or bandages until instructed by our surgeon.
- No smoking or drinking alcohol during recovery.
- Rest as much as possible so your body can use its energy to heal.
- Plan on ten days off work.
- Watch for signs of infection, including swelling, redness, or pain more significant in one breast, bleeding, or foul-smelling discharge from incisions, or fever over 101 degrees.
- Sleep on your back.
- Take frequent short walks to increase circulation.
- Use ice packs to control swelling.
- Bathe only as directed.
Risks and complications
All surgeries carry some risk. In breast reduction, the risks can include reactions to anesthesia, infection, excessive bleeding, uneven results, blood clots, poor wound healing, changes in sensation, excessive scarring, among others.
Why choose Dr. Chang for breast reduction in Northern Virginia?
Not all plastic surgeons can claim the outstanding education and level of professional experience that Dr. Change brings to breast reduction surgery. A graduate of Harvard, New York University, Yale, and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Chang received many awards and honors, and gained experience at leading institutions including Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Yale University School of Medicine.
Breast reduction FAQDoes insurance cover a breast reduction? What kind of anesthesia is used? Are results permanent? What should I eat after? When can I smoke after? When can I return to work? When can I do intense exercise again? How long does the surgery take? Can I drive home after surgery? When can I wear a bathing suit in public after? When are my final results? When can I wear a real bra? Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction? When can I have sex after a breast reduction? Does breast reduction surgery affect breast sensitivity? Will I lose nipple sensitivity? Will breast reduction surgery cause me to lose cleavage? When can I have alcohol after? Will my tattoo get damaged? How long should I wait to fly on an airplane? When can I submerge in water? Am I too old for breast reduction? Is there a cut-off age?
Frequently asked questions
Q: Does insurance cover a breast reduction?
A: Breast reduction surgery is often covered by insurance due to the pain and discomfort that the condition brings.
Q: What kind of anesthesia is used?
A: This procedure is most often performed under general anesthesia but may be performed with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.
Q: Are results permanent?
A: The surgery does not halt the aging process, but if you maintain a healthy weight, your breast should look plump and natural for many, many years.
Q: What should I eat after?
A: The effects of anesthesia can impact your digestion, so stay hydrated and eat easy to digest, soft foods in the early stages.
Q: When can I smoke after?
A: It is best to end the smoking habit, but if you plan to smoke following surgery, you must wait at least two months.
Q: When can I return to work?
A: Most patients can return to work within ten days to two weeks after their Washington DC breast reduction, while some feel well enough to return in one work.
Q: When can I do intense exercise again?
A: You can return to intense exercise in about six weeks.
Q: How long does the surgery take?
A: The surgery varies but takes between two to five hours to complete.
Q: Can I drive home after surgery?
A: You cannot drive after surgery, and cannot until your incisions have healed, and you are off any pain medication.
Q: When can I wear a bathing suit in public after?
A: You should feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit in about six weeks, or earlier.
Q: When are my final results?
A: Full results in shape is achieved at about three months, with full scar fading taking up to a year.
Q: When can I wear a real bra?
A: You should be able to wear a regular bra at about six weeks.
Q: Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction?
A: If you plan to breastfeed in the future, the surgery will be planned to protect that ability.
Q: When can I have sex after a breast reduction?
A: It is advised that you wait at least two weeks to have sex or engage in any vigorous physical activities.
Q: Does breast reduction surgery affect breast sensitivity?
A: You may experience changes in sensitivity, which typically resolves over time.
Q: Will I lose nipple sensitivity?
A: Your nipples may feel less sensitive for a time, but in most cases, sensation returns over time.
Q: Will breast reduction surgery cause me to lose cleavage?
A: You will still have cleavage, but much less. If your breasts are more widely spaced naturally, you may have almost no cleavage.
Q: When can I have alcohol after?
A: It is best to avoid alcohol for at least one month, or loner.
Q: Will my tattoo get damaged?
A: If your tattoo is on the breast skin, it could be affected by breast reduction.
Q: How long should I wait to fly on an airplane?
A: For a short trip, you must wait at least two weeks. For a longer flight, wait six weeks.
Q: When can I submerge in water?
A: You will need okay from our surgeon, but generally you can submerge your breasts in two to four weeks after surgery.
Q: Am I too old for breast reduction? Is there a cut-off age?
A: There is no cut-off age for breast reduction, as such. The decision about surgery will be based on your general health and safety to undergo surgery.
"I have never felt so confident. Dr. Chang completely changed how I saw myself in the mirror. I was terribly self conscious of my nose from my youth and finally decided to go through with the surgery. Not only was it inexpensive compared to the other three doctors I contacted, the before and after pictures of patients were also much better looking than the others! The whole process of surgery and recovery was quick and pretty much painless. I would definitely recommend him to anyone wanting cosmetic surgery. It really made me a happier person." - Catherine M.
"My son was in a terrible accident with most of the bones in his face and skull broken... I don't know what I would have done without Dr Chang!! My son is fully recovered and back to his old self again. I love Dr Chang, he will be in my prayers for the rest of my life. Thank you!" - Elizabeth A.
"I cannot say enough about my surgery with Dr. Chang! I had full facial Rejuvenation including a facelift brow lift and upper eyelids done 4 months ago. I also had a chemical peel to my lower eyelids and mouth. They was barely any pain and I was back to work the next week! I am so thrilled and my friends are so impressed. I cannot say enough about my experience! He is both caring and an amazing surgeon! Thank you so much!" - Cathy W.
The entire experience and outcome was everything I hoped for and I cannot thank Dr. Chang enough! He is a true pro and I recommend 100% without reservation!" - Ashley R.
"I went to Dr. Chang to correct the damage done to my breasts from pregnancy and breastfeeding. He went above and beyond to make me comfortable and to explain exactly what the procedures (lift + implants) would entail. He was extremely responsive and truly understood the look that I was trying to achieve - full, natural for my frame, and with minimal scarring. I'm only two days out from surgery and I'm already loving my results. I am so glad that I chose Dr. Chang to restore my chest to its pre-baby appearance. I actually think they are going to be better than they ever were before I had kids!" - Emily L.