If you are fed up with shoulder pain, bra straps digging into your skin, and difficulty exercising, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery (also known as reduction mammaplasty). This procedure provides relief from a number of symptoms associated with large breasts. But you will be making an investment of time and money in your surgery, so you are wise to investigate the risk of future changes that could affect your breast reduction results.
The fact is, your breasts can get bigger again after breast reduction surgery, but it rarely happens (and this doesn’t mean that breast reduction isn’t for you). Below, we outline how this can happen, and how to prevent unwanted changes to your breast size.
What happens during breast reduction surgery?
During your breast reduction surgery, Dr. Hess will make a “lollipop” or “anchor” shaped incision. The lollipop incision encircles the areola, with a line that extends to the bottom breast fold, and an anchor incision involves the same with an additional incision along the breast base. Through your incision, a portion of the glandular breast tissue, fat, and excess skin is removed. Dr. Hess uses the superomedial pedicle technique to minimize risk of complications and ensure the upper pole of the breast remains round and “full” looking, to help give you natural-looking results and avoid a deflated appearance.
With Dr. Hess’ years of experience achieving gorgeous results with breast reduction, he is careful to plan your results to appear natural in proportion with your other features. Before surgery, you will have worked with Dr. Hess to determine your ideal “look” that is in proportion with your overall figure.
Dr. Hess will talk with you during your breast reduction consultation about your family medical history, your age, and any other factors that may affect breast regrowth.
How long after breast reduction will I know my size?
While you will be able to enjoy smaller breasts immediately following surgery, it takes several months after breast reduction before swelling goes down completely and your results are final. Subtle changes are possible up to a year after surgery, so to be safe, allow a full year to pass before assuming your breast size is completely settled.
What does it mean if my breasts look bigger soon after surgery?
If you are experiencing an increase in breast size within the first few weeks or months after surgery, this could be a sign that you are too physically active too soon after surgery, leading to excess swelling. Contact Dr. Hess (or your plastic surgeon) if you are experiencing an unusual or unexpected increase in swelling. To prevent unwanted swelling, follow your post-operative instructions carefully (it will be several weeks before you can be fully physically active).
If I get a breast reduction, will they grow back?
Breast size is very stable after breast reduction surgery. That said, you will still experience normal, slight variations in size over the course of your hormonal cycle or with minor weight fluctuations.
Your reduced breasts may more noticeably increase in size in the following circumstances:
1. Pregnancy and breastfeeding after breast reduction
Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can enlarge the remaining breast tissue (glandular tissue, in particular) after breast reduction surgery.
2. Hormone changes after breast reduction
Starting birth control pills, experiencing menopause, and taking certain medications may all affect hormones and thereby cause a change in breast tissue volume.
3. Adolescent development after breast reduction
For patients who undergo breast reduction while their bodies are still developing, further hormonal changes and development can affect the breast size.
4. Weight gain after breast reduction
When we gain weight, we gain weight throughout our bodies, so future weight gain can increase breast size.
How to prevent breast growth after breast reduction
The best way to prevent changes to your breast size is to keep your weight stable. While you may be unable to prevent glandular breast tissue from enlarging in some of the above scenarios, you can prevent excess fat from enlarging your breasts through weight maintenance. For this reason, if you are thinking about breast reduction, be sure you are at a stable weight that you plan to maintain before scheduling your surgery.
Dr. Hess will talk with you during your breast reduction consultation about your family medical history, your age, pregnancy and breastfeeding plans, and any other factors that may affect breast tissue regrowth. He will help you weigh your personal risks and benefits of breast reduction surgery, so rest assured that you will not have to be alone as you consider whether or not now is the time for surgery.
Breast sagging after breast reduction
Great surgical technique prevents a deflated or sagging appearance in the years immediately after surgery. But sagging is a normal and natural part of the aging process, and getting a breast reduction will not shield your tissues from the effects of time. Still, getting the breast reduction now can pay off by reducing the inevitable sagging that comes with age: your breasts will have less weight to exacerbate the issue, so it likely won’t be as severe if you have the surgery.
Schedule your consultation with Dr. Christopher Hess in Fairfax, VA
To schedule a breast reduction consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher L. Hess, call us at (703) 752-6608 or contact us online. Dr. Hess has served patients in Northern Virginia for over 20 years. He was named one of the Top Plastic Surgeons in the region by Northern Virginia Magazine for 8 years, and he offers a full range of breast procedures.