Planning for a breast reduction can mean different things to different people. You will likely be able to fit into some cute new (and definitely smaller sized) tops, but the main focus shouldn’t be going out and buying a bunch of new clothes. There are a whole lot of things you need to prioritize first. Things that have to do with your health, safety, and getting the best results possible.
Find the right surgeon for you
The first step is finding a good board certified plastic surgeon. Don’t skip on your homework here. Make sure the doctor you choose is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and has operating privileges at nearby hospitals. These organizations all have strict regulations that ensure your surgeon is in good medical standing and has the expertise to care for you.
Once you have found a qualified plastic surgeon, you need to make sure that he or she is someone you can talk to. Someone you can confide in, who is professional, and listens to your needs. Don’t be afraid to get another opinion if you don’t “click” with the first doctor you see.
Set Goals and Manage Expectations
The decision to have a breast reduction is very personal. Make sure you are choosing the surgery for yourself, and you are doing it for the right reasons. For example, plastic surgery is not a cure for depression or body dysmorphic disorder. Work with your plastic surgeon to set clear and realistic goals.
The patients who are happiest with their outcome are ones who set goals like, relieving neck back and shoulder pain rather than asking the surgeon to Make me look like Beyonce. With breast reductions, it is also important to discuss whether you have any plans to breastfeed in the future.
Optimize your health
To be a candidate for a breast reduction, you need to be in good health and at a stable weight, and if you are a smoker you must quit smoking. The healthier you are before surgery the faster and better you will heal. It’s important to drink plenty of water, eat well, and exercise regularly to make sure you are in the best shape you can be before surgery.
Your surgeon will send you for medical tests and may also recommend you go in for a baseline mammogram. If you are not healthy enough, a good plastic surgeon probably won’t agree to your surgery.
Get your finances in order
Unlike other types of plastic surgery, a breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is sometimes covered by medical insurance. This is because it can be considered medically necessary to reduce symptoms like pain, headaches, rashes or numbness and tingling. Make sure to check with your insurance carrier to find out if they will cover the procedure and if they have any required pre-authorization steps.
Unfortunately even when it is considered a medical necessity, insurance still may not cover the procedure. Then you need to understand the costs involved in your surgery and have a solid plan to cover them. You can learn more in our post How to Pay for Your Breast Reduction.
Plan for your recovery period
A breast reduction is no small surgery. You will need some weeks to recover, and you will be better off if you make the proper arrangements to have the help you need. Talk to your doctor to find out how much time you will likely need to take off of work or school. Make arrangements with someone to take care of any heavy lifting, housework, or running errands that you normally do. At the very least, you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital.
Your doctor will also have special instructions for the care of your wounds while they are healing. It is incredibly important that you follow these directions to prevent infection and re-injury. How well your wounds heal will have a big impact on the look of your scars.
It is exciting to imagine how you will look after a breast reduction, but surgery of any kind needs to be approached with caution and careful forethought. Consider yourself a partner in this endeavor. Your plastic surgeon will do his part in carefully planning and preparing for your procedure, and you must do your part too.