Breast Surgery

Breast Surgery

Breast Surgery Basics

There are many instances in which breast surgery may need to be performed. Among the most common types of breast surgery are breast biopsies for suspected cancerous lumps, lumpectomies or mastectomies to cut out a known breast cancer, and cosmetic breast surgery including breast lift, breast augmentation and breast reduction.

Nearly all cases of breast surgery are considered “elective” which means that the surgeon and patient have time to discuss the problem and schedule the surgery for a convenient time. Consideration must be given to the expected outcome, both in terms of curing disease and preserving appearance of the breast.

Let’s examine some of the most common types of breast surgery.

Breast surgery can consist of a simple biopsy, in which a small incision is made near a suspicious mass, and the mass is cut out. If cancer is confirmed by biopsy, more extensive breast surgery may be required. This breast surgery could consist of: lumpectomy, in which only a portion of the breast including all of the cancerous mass, is removed; simple mastectomy in which the entire breast and nothing else is removed; modified radical mastectomy in which the breast and some underlying tissue is removed; or radical mastectomy in which lymph nodes and underlying muscle are also removed.

After any type of mastectomy, further breast surgery in the form of breast reconstruction is commonly required. In this type of breast surgery, muscle tissue from near the breast is taken and used to reconstruct the are to appear similar to a normal breast.

This type of breast surgery is one of several types of cosmetic breast surgery. Breast lift is a type of breast surgery in which excess fat is removed and the overlying skin tightened in order to lift and improve the appearance of the breast. This type of breast surgery is similar to breast reduction in which oversized breasts are reduced in size; and breast augmentation, in which silicon or saline filled sacks are implanted to enlarge the breasts.

Breast size and appearance are important, both for psychological reasons of self-esteem as well as for orthopedic considerations such as posture (oversized breasts can cause damage to the spine). For these reasons, careful consideration should be given before undertaking breast surgery.

Breast Augmentation Surgery

For a woman whose breasts are too small for their liking, breast augmentation surgery may be the answer. Breasts that are too small may have a significant psychological impact on a woman’s self-esteem; these psychological effects are real, so breast augmentation surgery should not be discarded as a “vain” or “superficial” solution to the problem. In addition, some women may have breasts that are unequal in size and weight, creating a serious strain on the back that may lead to an abnormal curvature. So there are a number of legitimate medical reasons for breast augmentation surgery.

Breast augmentation surgery, simply put, is surgery to increase the size of the breasts.

This is accomplished by the placement of a silicon “sack” or implant behind the breast, underneath the skin. These implants consist of either a silicon gel or a saline (salt-water) solution inside of a thin silicon shell. There has been considerable debate over the safety of silicon gel type implants; believe it or not, this is still an open question. Unless you are participating in a formal study, however, the saline implants currently are the only available option.

During breast augmentation surgery, an incision is made in one of several inconspicuous locations: in the crease underneath; in the armpit; or around the nipple. The breast is opened up, the implant is placed underneath the natural breast tissue, and the breast is sutured with fine suture to minimize scarring. Breast augmentation surgery is most commonly performed by a plastic surgeon.

When considering breast augmentation surgery, it is important to evaluate your reasons for wanting it and to maintain realistic expectations about its outcome. Many plastic surgeons will refuse to perform breast augmentation surgery on a woman with an unrealistically negative body image, or one striving for “perfection.” Breast augmentation can increase breast size by one or more cup sizes. It cannot make a body “perfect” because that is a purely subjective impression.

It is also important to know that, as with any surgery, negative outcomes are a very real (though infrequent) possibility. Breasts can become hard due to excessive scar tissue formation; infection or bleeding can result; and the resulting appearance may not be satisfactory. For these and many other reasons, careful consideration should be given prior to breast augmentation surgery.

Breast Reduction Surgery

If your back is always hurting or you just feel so self conscious about the size of your breasts, then breast reduction surgery is the way to go. The size of your breasts are determined by your genes, as well as your weight and even your hormones. You may have experienced large breasts in early childhood or even during menopause. You also might choose to have breast reduction surgery done because one breast is larger than the other.

If any of those reasons hit close to home for you, breast reduction may be the answer you are looking for. Under normal circumstances, there will be minimal scarring, but individual results may vary. If your nipples are drooping or looking downward, they can be surgically corrected during the surgery as well.

First things first, contact you primary care doctor to see if you would make a good candidate for breast reduction. They will then refer you to a qualified surgeon. If you feel this is more than a health issue, but a then a cosmetic one, you will have to meet not only with a surgeon, but you will also be advised to speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist as well. There are various places that will do the reduction surgery on your breasts privately, but it is always better to go through your primary care doctor so your health remains the number one issue.

Now, before you make this kind of body image decision, consider what you are trying to achieve. If it is a radical reduction, remember, this will change to whole silhouette of your body. If your reasons are for better all around health, then a large breast reduction, may be the best thing.

Breast size goes hand in hand with your body weight, so maintain a regular weight. Your breasts won’t grow after the surgery, but they will fill in with fat, if you gain, or get smaller, if you lose. Also, gravity eventually takes over for all of us, so some drooping will occur as you age. If you are a young woman, the surgeon may recommend you waiting till they are done growing.

Breast reduction surgery is done under general anaesthetic. You will stay overnight or maybe longer depending on some factors that both you and the surgeon went over before the procedure. You will wear a supportive bra for a few weeks after the operation.

You will be given self care instructions before you leave the hospital. There will be some pain and discomfort for a short period of time, some people only experience discomfort for a couple of days, while others hurt for weeks. Your breasts will be tender and even lumpy for a few weeks. Some scarring is normal, but usually fades with time. You may lose some sensation to your nipples is another common factor in breast reduction surgery

You will need 6 to 8 weeks of recovery time depending on your healing process. You will meet with the surgeon for a follow up appointment to make sure all is going well. If this all sounds like what you are looking for, then breast reduction surgery is differently the right thing to do for yourself.


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