Breast-reduction surgery

Posted on 18 December 2017

Disproportionately large breasts can mean more than struggling to find clothes that fit: they can cause back and neck pain, make it difficult to take part in physical activities and have a detrimental effect on a woman’s self-image. If you’re considering breast-reduction surgery – a reduction mammaplasty – here’s what you need to know.

‘Being a young teenager with a heavy-duty challenge permanently planted on my chest is what made me decide on the surgery,’ says 18-year-old Joanna Jones*, who underwent a reduction mammaplasty at the age of 15. With breasts so large that finding ‘clothes that didn’t bulge open’ was impossible, Joanna had a kilogram of tissue removed from each breast during the course of a two-hour operation.

‘Oversized breasts, or pathological breast hypertrophy, can cause a variety of symptoms including shoulder pain, muscle spasms of the shoulder girdle, headaches, skin rashes underneath the breasts, pins and needles in the arms and postural problems,’ says reconstructive and plastic surgeon practising at Mediclinic Hermanus Dr Peet van Deventer. ‘Once a person’s normal activities are hampered by the size of her breasts, a breast reduction can be considered. Most patients never look back.’

That was certainly the case for Joanna. ‘Before the surgery, I never wanted to speak about my breasts or let them show. I had a full-on hate relationship with them and my body. Now, I have learnt to love my body, and I love my breasts and my scars.’

Breast-reduction techniques

‘In the free nipple graft technique, the nipple and areola are removed from the breast and replanted onto the reduced breast,’ explains Dr van Deventer. ‘The main advantage of this technique is that there is no limitation to the amount of breast tissue removed. The disadvantage is loss of nipple sensation and an inability to breastfeed. Good results can be obtained with this technique and it is ideally suited for patients with very large breasts or a higher risk of breast cancer.’

‘Alternatively, using a variety of “pedicle techniques”, the nipple and areola can be kept alive on a bridge of breast tissue. To be successful, these techniques rely on adequate blood supply to the nipple and areola. Therefore, there is a limit to the amount of breast tissue that can be removed. The advantages are retaining nipple sensation and the ability to breastfeed in many instances.’

What’s the recovery time?

Joanna’s recovery time was typical: ‘It was one week of very little movement, mostly just staying in bed. I had to keep the bandages on for the first week and couldn’t let them get wet, so bathing was a challenge. For the next few weeks I wasn’t allowed to do any heavy lifting, and for six months I had to put special tape on the scars to limit the keloiding.’

Why don’t most medical aids cover breast-reduction surgeries?

‘Most medical aids consider this operation cosmetic surgery and do not grant benefits. Those that do have strict guidelines regarding symptoms experienced, amount of breast tissue to be removed and body mass index. Benefits are usually not granted in overweight patients,’ Dr Van Deventer points out. ‘Anatomically, half of the breast consists of fat tissue, and overweight people can end up with large breasts. If they lose weight, the breasts will also reduce in size but may become droopy.’

‘Having unusually big breasts can cause back problems and strains, and affects you psychologically. Fortunately, I only had to live with my very large breasts for about three years. Some women have to live with this burden their whole lives, as they can’t afford the procedure,’ says Joanna.

What about the scarring?

Scarring is a possible side-effect of the surgery, although the extent of the scarring depends on a number of factors. Sometimes scar tissue grows excessively, forming smooth, hard growths called keloids that can be much larger than the original wound.

‘Before the surgery, I never wanted to speak about my breasts or let them show. I had a full-on hate relationship with them and my body. Now, I have learnt now to love my body, and I love my breasts and my scars,’ concludes Joanna.

 

Breast reduction surgery is one of the surgeries now offered to private paying customers as a Fixed Fees procedure. Find out more here: https://mediclinicprivatefixedfees.co.za/

 

 



Published in Surgery

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28 Responses to “Breast-reduction surgery”

  1. Nonkululeko Twala says:

    I need a breast reduction to ease back pains and constant headaches, poor Pasture and painful breasts.I have 2kids already and my breasts have always been bigger since my teenage years.Been consulting clinics and private doctors with headaches and back pain issues. Don’t have medical aid as I’m currently on fixed term contract. Any payment options to have this surgery

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and reference to this article so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  2. Faith tembakazi mpiyonke says:

    Good day sir /madam if I may please ask ,im 32years old and I have a problem of big breast and big tummy ,can you please help me with tummy tuck and breast reduction,but my problem is tht I’m not working and I don’t know where to go ,where it’s done free, and this problem is killing me because I have a servier neck pain,back pain and sometimes my breasts got lumps ,but I do go to the clinic’s for check ups plz help I’m in need thank you

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and reference to this article so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  3. Maitumelo Molefe says:

    I wpould like to do a breast reduction surgery,kindly advice on costs and procedure since i will be coming from Gaborone,Botswana.

    Thank you..

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and reference to this article so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  4. Ongkarabile Mofokeng says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    My name is Ongkarabile Mofokeng, I have medical aid (Bonitas Standard) and have had big breast growing up. The breasts are taking a tool on my back and shoulders. Due to this physical condition distracts me from doing some exercise.

    I am a single parent and cannot afford the cost of the breast Reduction procedures.

    Please assist on how I can get my medical aid to approve the breast reduction procedures.

    Your assistance herein will be greatly appreciated.

    Regards

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and reference to this article so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  5. Veronica Qhali says:

    Helo! I have a serious breast problem!i was born with this condition! Im 39 years old and unemployed! I was wondering if maybe if you could consult me and do sum research about my condition,so that i can get a surgery!My breast 1 breast its growing faster and now its bigger than the other breast! I pretend the whole time as if i dont care but deep down inside me it kills me a lot! I struggle to be pick outfit to wear, and i dont like going out especially where there’s too much crowd because of my condition! I hope you contact me sooner! It will be a much blessing for me in 2020!

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and reference to this article so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  6. Sylvia Mars says:

    Good day. I would really love to have breast reduction surgery but can’t afford it. I am sure if I do it my self esteem will get a huge boost plus I will be rid of bad headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Do you have any options for me people like .me who will never be able to afford the surgery? Us there anyway you can help a girl look sexy in front of the mirror and not loath herself?

    Hope to hear from you soon and that you can help me.

    Regards.
    Sylvia Mars.

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and preferred Mediclinic hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

  7. Portia Maepa says:

    Hi I have a problem about my breasts, they are very big and are painful,i want to do breast reduction, I’m at Ermelo Mpumalanga can I have prices of reduction please help me

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry, we have experienced a technical delay in our messaging system. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

  8. Onalenna Kgatlhane says:

    How much is breast reduction surgery?

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry, we have experienced a technical delay in our messaging system. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and preferred mediclinic hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

  9. Thando Sayiti says:

    Good day

    I trust this email finds you well. How much does breast lift generally cost? Do you offer any finance or pay off options?

    I’m in Cape Town (Panorama Mediclinic).

    Kindest Regards

  10. Lucrezia Bhimjee says:

    Interested in breast reduction surgery. I have consulted in the past but never followed through. I would like to consult with above mentioned surgeons.

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and desired Mediclinic facility so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry. We have experienced some technical difficulties in receiving your comments timeously. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

  11. Ntombifuthi Phele says:

    Breast reduction surgery cost

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and desired Mediclinic facility so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  12. Lebone Phele says:

    How much does breast reduction surgery cost?

    • Darren Leite says:

      Good afternoon, for assistance, please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your contact information, location and desired Mediclinic facility so that we can investigate and provide you with feedback. Kind regards, the Mediclinic Southern Africa team.

  13. Gladness Nonkululeko Khalishwayo says:

    Good afternoon I want to do breast lift, I stay in nelspruit I am wondering if mediclini nelspruit has plastic surgeons who do breast lift? And if yes what is the price range for this procedure obviously you won’t be able to give me an exact price but can you please give me an estimated range.

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry. We have experienced some technical difficulties in responding to you timeously. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

  14. Nelisiwe Masilo says:

    I just want to find out how much do you do to cut off breast ,do you take medical aids Discovery key care start

    • Nuraan Cader says:

      Good day, Thank you for your enquiry. We have experienced some difficulties in receiving your comment. Please email help@mediclinic.co.za with your enquiry, contact details and hospital name so that we can investigate and give you feedback. Kind regards, The Mediclinic Southern Africa team

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