Many women seek breast reduction surgery due to neck and back pain, difficulty with physical activity and severe skin irritation caused by overly large breasts.
Also known as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction is a highly successful plastic surgery procedure performed regularly by Dr Lim — it is one of his specialties. Breast reduction produces pleasing cosmetic results and is a recommended solution to the physical problems that large, heavy breasts can cause women.
Women with very large breasts commonly suffer from poor posture, resulting in neck and back pain. This can make physical activity difficult and may even cause psychological discomfort and embarrassment. Severe skin irritation can also occur as infections or rashes develop in the folds underneath the breasts or the indentations from bra straps. The procedure can also be used to match reconstructed breasts following a mastectomy.
Regardless of your reasons for seeking breast reduction surgery, the procedure can have a dramatic impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The procedure not only reduces the size of the breast but also lifts the breast to a better shape and position. During your consultation, experienced plastic surgeon Dr Lim will take you through the possible benefits and outcome of a reduction mammaplasty. Dr Lim will plan the procedure based on discussion with you and your desired breast shape and size.
Breast reduction surgery involves the removal of excess skin, fatty tissue and breast tissue, restoring the balance between the woman’s breast size and her body. Following the removal of the breast tissue, the nipples and areolas are then repositioned so that they suit the new size and shape of the breasts.
The procedure can be performed at any age after breast development has completed. However, repositioning of the nipples may result in the inability to breastfeed – please take this into account and discuss with Dr Lim if you are planning to have children in the future. We advise you to maintain a stable weight prior to your procedure, as weight loss will affect the size and shape of your breasts.
Please be aware that the size and shape of your breasts will continue to be affected by weight loss and gain, pregnancy, ageing and other natural parts of life following your procedure.
The exact procedure used in your breast reduction surgery, and the required incision, will differ for everyone, depending on the size and shape of your breasts and the amount of skin and tissue that will be removed to achieve the desired results.
The incision is commonly made around the areola, while further incisions may be required vertically down the breast (the lollipop incision) or along the breast crease (the anchor-shaped incision).
Dr Lim will do his best to minimise scarring, and the surgical method, required incision and any concerns you may have will be discussed with you in the consultation process.
After consultation with Dr Lim, your breast reduction surgery will be performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. The procedure takes about three hours and you will be required to stay in hospital overnight following your surgery. Patients who have a breast reduction require drains to be inserted during the surgery, to prevent the accumulation of fluids and blood within the surgical wounds. You will be able to go home the next day once the amount of drainage output subsides, the drains have been removed and your pain has settled.
After surgery, you will wake up with a large bandage around your chest. Dr Lim will review you the next morning and prescribe analgesia and antibiotics that will aid healing and reduce the potential for infection. The bandages will be removed and you will be given a surgical bra before you are discharged. You should sleep semi-upright to reduce swelling and bruising.
My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, three weeks, one month and three months after surgery.
Our goal is to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.
Before & After
Actual patient images are © property of Dr Jake Lim. This gallery contains images of actual patients of Dr Lim. All photographs represent the individual patient’s experience and there is no guarantee that any other patient will experience similar results.
Pre and Post-Operative Care
- You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
- If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
- Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
- Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
- Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process.
- Do not drink any alcohol for two days before and two days after your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
- Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
- Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
- You will need to wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face before and after surgery. We will supply you with a soft bra to wear for the first few days. We recommend bringing a crop top or a supportive full cup bra (pre-operative size, no underwire) with you to the hospital.
- Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital the morning after your procedure.
- When you wake up you will have a firm bandage around your chest and a drain in each breast. The drains will usually be removed the next day, or when the amount of drainage fluid has reduced. Dr Lim will instruct the nursing staff on this. You will usually be discharged the day after surgery once you are feeling well and your drains have been removed.
- General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days.
- It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed to prevent any post-op infection. Dr Lim will also prescribe oral pain relief — please contact My Klinik if this doesn’t control your pain.
- Once your bandages are removed, you will need to wear the provided post-op surgical bra for the first week. After your one-week post-op review, we recommend you change to either a crop top or a supportive sports bra (no underwires) for the next six weeks.
- Please comply with the following restrictions:
- Avoid lifting your arms above your head for two weeks.
- Avoid sexual activity for two weeks.
- Avoid heavy lifting (including children) for the first three weeks.
- Do not drive for three weeks.
- Avoid sporting activities for four to six weeks.
- Dr Lim will remove the tape over your incision sites three weeks after your surgery.
- You may start applying vitamin E cream or oil after this tape is removed. This will help with healing and is recommended daily for three months. You may also like to apply silicone sheeting, which Dr Lim will advise you on.
- Do not smoke for eight weeks after the procedure as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
- My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable, to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim and to organise a post-op ultrasound.
- Contact My Klinik if any of the following develop:
- A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding or fluid from any incision or drain site
- Increased pain in either breast
- Redness around the incisions that is spreading
- Tenderness and marked enlargement of either breast.
- Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.
Breast Reduction FAQs
If you are concerned about one or more of the following, breast reduction surgery may be right for you:
- You experience neck and upper back pain due to the heaviness of your breasts
- You have trouble finding clothes that fit you properly — while the clothing fits the bottom half well, the top half is always too small
- You feel your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body
- Your breasts are unequal in size
- You feel self-conscious about the size of your breasts
- You have difficulty participating in physical activities due to discomfort or embarrassment
- You experience skin rashes and infections under your breasts
- You experience pain in the breasts, particularly around menstruation.
As with most surgical procedures, reduction mammoplasty is best suited for patients in good physical health, who don’t smoke and who have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery.
Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and Dr Lim to determine your appropriate breast size, and the location and length of the incisions required.
After making an incision, Dr Lim removes excess breast tissue and skin, then repositions the nipples and areolas to suit the new size and shape of the breasts. If required, the areola may also be made smaller at this time. The procedure usually takes one to three hours to perform.
Dr Lim will discuss with you the best method and the required incision for your desired outcomes during the consultation process.
Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).
Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, the breast size you desire, and any other issues related to the appearance of your breasts that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.
Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of breast reduction surgery with you. Your breasts will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.
You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.
Dr Lim will examine your breasts and consider factors such as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the position of your nipples and areolas.
Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery or mammograms you have had.
Please discuss with Dr Lim any plans for significant weight loss or future pregnancies. Current surgical techniques may retain the ability to breastfeed, but Dr Lim will discuss this in more detail with you. A second consultation (at no extra cost) is usually required if you wish to proceed with surgery.
In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery. Following breast reduction, you will still be able to perform breast self-examination and should do so every month. You will still be able to have regular mammograms after surgery.
Avoid products that contain aspirin, glucosamine, herbal supplements, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.
On the day of surgery, patients should wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face. Don’t wear any make-up, jewellery or nail polish.
We want to make this experience as easy as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.
Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital for two to four days.
Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your breasts.
After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your rooms. You will have bandages around your breasts surgical drains on both sides to drain away fluid that may accumulate.
You will have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.
The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable and painful, particularly when you are moving around or coughing. Like most operations, it is not painless; you will be prescribed pain medication during this period and Dr Lim will provide a prescription for you upon discharge. It is also normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic.
You will have surgical tapes over your incisions and you will be able to shower 48 hours after surgery. Your bruising will subside over the next two weeks, while swelling will take a month or so to go down. Avoid straining, bending and lifting during this time as these activities may increase swelling or cause bleeding. You may be required to wear a crop top or bra day and night for the first couple of weeks — Dr Lim will advise you on this.
While Dr Lim does his best to minimise scarring, it is an inevitable part of surgery. Scars will flatten and fade over time.
The sensation around the nipples and areolas is often reduced and, while it should return, this may be permanent.
Everyone is different, so the recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person — most patients are back to their normal routine in approximately three to six weeks.
Your breasts will be sensitive for around one month following surgery and they should be handled according to your own level of comfort — sexual activity should be restricted for at least two weeks.
To protect the breasts while they are healing, avoid strenuous exercise or lifting anything heavier than a kilogram for three to four weeks. You should also avoid driving for at least one to two weeks.
Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within one to two weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.
I understand that all surgical procedures have risks involved; how do I find the information to make an informed decision?
We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. Fortunately, significant complications from breast reduction surgery are infrequent. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved.
Some of the possible complications are:
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the nipple and areola
- Temporary or permanent skin discolouration and pigmentation changes
- Accumulation of blood (haematoma) in the breast which requires drainage
- Fat necrosis
- Partial or total loss of nipple and areola tissue
- Inability to breastfeed.
Naturally, breasts are slightly different in size and shape and this persists after the procedure. While you will be slightly swollen following the surgery and it may take a few months to see the final result, the immediate effect of this surgery is dramatic and the benefits will be obvious straightaway.
Although the reduction in breast volume will be permanent, your breast size and shape will continue to be affected by the changes that ageing, pregnancy/breastfeeding, weight loss and weight gain can produce in all women.
In years to come, if you become dissatisfied with your breast shape and contour, you may choose to undergo a mastopexy (breast lift) procedure to achieve a more youthful position and contour.
Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first six months.
Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure. If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.
Breast Reduction Video
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