Breast surgery is procedure that modifies the breasts. This type of surgery can be carried out on both women and men and may be done for a variety of cosmetic or medical reasons. Read on to learn more about breast surgery and what’s involved.
Breast surgery is a popular type of surgery that is performed for a number of different reasons. The most common type of breast surgery is a breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, which is carried out for cosmetic reasons to increase breast size. Other types of breast surgery include:
- Breast reduction – to reduce the size of the breasts (for medical or cosmetic reasons)
- Breast lift surgery (mastopexy) – to restore the shape, remove excess skin, and tighten surrounding breast tissue
- Breast reconstruction – to recreate breasts, such as following a mastectomy
- Breast cancer surgery, such as a lumpectomy or mastectomy – to remove part or all of the breast to get rid of cancerous tissue
- Preventative surgery – to prevent breast cancer
- Breast implant removal surgery – to remove silicone or saline breast implants for medical or personal reasons
What Happens Before Breast Surgery?
Before breast surgery, you will have an initial consultation with a plastic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for breast surgery. They will evaluate your medical history, overall health, and your reasons for having breast surgery.
In preparation for your breast surgery, your healthcare team may ask you to do certain tasks, such as take a blood test, adjust certain medications, and stop smoking, to ensure you are in your best health for surgery in order to recover successfully.
What Does Breast Surgery Involve?
Surgery is carried out in different ways, depending on the type of breast surgery. A majority of breast surgeries require a general anesthetic, so that you aren’t awake and do not feel pain during the procedure. Anesthesia options will be discussed with you prior to your procedure. Depending on the type of procedure you have, some breast surgeries may be carried out as an outpatient procedure, while others will require an overnight stay at the hospital. Your surgeon will provide you with all the details regarding your specific procedure.
Breast augmentation surgery
Breast augmentation involves increasing the size of the breasts using implants, which come in different sizes, shapes, and textures, and can be filled with either silicone gel or saline. Implants are placed between breast tissue and chest muscles (subglandular placement) or beneath the breast tissue and chest muscles (submuscular placement) depending on factors such as how much breast tissue there is and the desired results.
An inframammary incision is the most common technique used in breast augmentation surgery. It utilizes an incision along the bottom crease of the breast, which can then be hidden by the natural fold of the breast. Other techniques include periareolar incision (around the outer edge of your areola) and endoscopic transaxillary or transumbilical procedure, where implants are placed through a small incision either in the armpit or the belly button to avoid visible breast scars.
Breast lift surgery (mastopexy)
The purpose of breast lift surgery is to restore the shape of sagging breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue. Surgery can give a more youthful appearance to the breasts, while minimizing visible scarring. Various surgical techniques are used that depend on factors such as the degree of sagging and how much breast tissue needs to be removed. The lollipop incision is the most frequently used technique, but other techniques include a peri-areolar or anchor incision.
Breast reduction surgery
A breast reduction is a procedure that reduces the size of the breasts by removing excess tissue, fat, and skin from the breasts. It may be carried out for cosmetic or medical reasons to resolve issues such as back pain, restricted activity, or poor self-esteem. The procedure typically involves making a lollipop-shaped incision around the nipple and down the breast to remove the excess tissue. The breasts are reshaped, the nipple is relocated, and the incisions are closed.
Breast reconstruction is surgery to recreate breasts following breast cancer surgery or other types of breast surgery that removes part or all of the breasts. Different techniques are used for breast reconstruction, including the use of implants, tissue from a different part of the body (such as the abdomen), or a combination of techniques. Sometimes, multiple surgeries over several stages are required, but some breast reconstruction may happen straight after a mastectomy.
Aftercare and Recovery
You will be closely monitored by your healthcare provider following breast surgery. You may experience pain, soreness, and swelling initially as the breasts heal, which may continue for a few days/weeks depending on the type of surgery. Bruising, numbness, and tingling may also be experienced following some types of breast cancer surgery. To minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal, you will have gauze dressings and either bandages or a support bra, depending on which surgery you have.
Recovery from breast surgery can vary, depending on the type of surgery, but typically takes between one week and six weeks. Certain activities may need to be restricted until your breasts have healed properly. Your surgeon will let you know what to expect and how to care for yourself at home following your breast surgery.
Breast Surgeon in Atlanta, GA
If you are considering breast surgery, contact board-certified, fellowship-trained plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Mackay to help you achieve the results you are looking for.
Dr. Mackay has more than 30 years of experience and offers a wide range of cosmetic and medical breast surgical procedures, including breast augmentation surgery, breast lift surgery, breast reduction surgery, and breast reconstruction surgery.
You can book a consultation with our experienced plastic surgeon by calling (404) 255-2975, or alternatively, you can use our convenient request an appointment online form.