Am i a good candidate for breast reduction surgery?
If any of the following situations apply to you, you may indeed be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery:
You experience neck and upper back pain due to the heaviness of your breasts
You experience difficulty 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 difficulty with skin rashes and infections under the breasts
You experience pain in the breasts, particularly around menstruation
What happens when i see dr lim?
Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a friend or husband/partner along to your consultation. During the consultation, 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. During your consultation, your breasts will be assessed and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read. You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation.
How will dr lim evaluate me for surgery?
Dr Lim will examine your breasts and consider such factors as the size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin and the position of your nipples and areolas. You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you may have, any medications you are currently taking, any drug allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery or mammograms you may have had. It is important for you to provide complete and correct information.
If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight, you will need to discuss this with Dr Lim. He may recommend that you stabilise your weight before undergoing surgery. If you think you may want to become pregnant in the future, you should mention this also. Current surgical techniques may retain the ability to breast feed and 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.
How should I prepare for surgery?
In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery if you have not had one in the past. Following breast reduction you will still be able to perform breast self-examination and should do so every month after your periods. You will still be able to have regular mammograms following the procedure. It is advisable to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery (and two weeks following surgery). Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory medications can increase bleeding and should also be avoided two weeks prior to surgery. You will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your operation and the staff from Dr Lim's rooms will be in touch with you before your operation to discuss any further last minute questions you may have.
Where will my surgery be performed?
Dr Lim performs the surgery in fully accredited hospitals: Castle Hill Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital for between two to four days.
What will the day of surgery be like?
You will need to 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. Following the surgery you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake.
You will have elastic bandages or garments around your breasts and you will have surgical drains on both sides to drain away fluid that may accumulate in the breasts after surgery.
How will i look and feel initially?
The first few days after surgery are generally the most painful, particularly when you are moving around or coughing. You will be prescribed pain killers 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 after an anaesthetic. You will have dressings over your incisions and will be able to shower 48 hours after surgery. Over the following two weeks your bruising will resolve and the majority of the swelling will resolve within a month or so. You should avoid straining, bending and lifting during this time as these activities may increase swelling or cause bleeding.
Dr Lim will discuss the wearing of a bra, and sometimes this is required day and night for the first couple of weeks. Although Dr Lim will make every effort to keep the scars as inconspicuous as possible, scars are an inevitable part of surgery. Your scars will be red and raised for several months but as time passes, they will fade and flatten to become barely visible as they assume the colour of the surrounding skin. Carefully massaging the incision lines with vitamin E cream once the wounds are healed can help to flatten the scars. Your stitches (if not dissolvable ones) will be removed in stages over the next two to three weeks.
The sensation around the nipples and areolas is often reduced initially and it may take up to a year or so for this to return to normal.
When can i resume my normal activities?
The recovery period following this surgery varies from person to person but most people are back to their normal routine in approximately three weeks. The breasts will be sensitive for a month or so following surgery and they should be handled according to your own level of comfort—sexual activity should be restricted for at least the first week. Returning to work depends on your job demands and Dr Lim will advise you regarding this. You may be able to return to light work (e.g. secretarial work) within one to two weeks.
To protect the breasts while they are healing you should avoid strenuous exercise and lifting anything heavier than about a kilogram for three to four weeks and driving should be avoided for at least three weeks. Once again, Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you.
How is breast reduction performed?
Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and Dr Lim achieve your realistic expectations. Incisions may differ in individual circumstances but generally the surgery requires an incision around the areola of the nipple which then extends vertically down the breast to the natural fold of the breast – sometimes referred to as a “lollipop incision”.
After making the incision, Dr Lim removes excess breast tissue and skin and then repositions the nipples and areolas to suit the new size and shape of the breasts. If required, the areola may be made smaller at this time also. Dr Lim usually inserts drains for this procedure to ensure excessive fluid does not accumulate in the breasts. The procedure usually takes between one to three hours to perform.
I understand that all surgical procedures have risks involved but how do i find the information to make an informed decision?
Dr Lim will discuss with you the risks involved and the potential complications of the surgery and fortunately, significant complications from breast reduction surgery are infrequent. We endeavour to have our patients as fully informed as possible and while some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. Some of the potential complications that will be discussed with you are: infection accumulation of blood (haematoma) loss of sensation in the nipple and areola inability to breast feed loss of nipple and areola tissue asymmetry.
How long will the results last?
Breasts are normally slightly different in size and this persists after the procedure. The immediate effect of this surgery is dramatic and while initially, the breasts will be slightly swollen and it may take several months to see the ultimate result of the surgery, the benefits will be immediately obvious to you. 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.
How long do i need to see dr lim for following my surgery?
Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and the staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first twelve 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 and discuss these with us.