What is this procedure?
Breast asymmetry correction surgery is a procedure that improves the differences between the breasts if these are noticeable. … Breast asymmetry correction surgery involves changing the size, shape or position of one of both the breasts to make the breasts more equal. This may involve surgery to make one or both of the breasts bigger, smaller or less droopy. Further changes in your breasts are likely to occur over time and further surgery is likely to be necessary to maintain symmetry between the breasts.
Depending on the amount of difference between your breasts and your individual breast characteristics there are a few options – these include making the smaller breast bigger (breast augmentation), making the larger breast smaller (breast reduction), making both breasts bigger or smaller, or lifting a drooping breast into a more normal position (breast lift).
Breast asymmetry is when one breast is a different size and/or shape than the other. This is extremely common in women and can cause challenges. This surgery is performed to correct a difference in breast shape, size or even the position of the nipple. Most women will have one breast which is slightly bigger than the other and this is usually less than a bra cup size. It can be caused by genetics, pregnancy or menopause. Weight gain can also affect the size and shape of the breasts.
However, in some cases there are women who notice that one breast is noticeably bigger in size or shape than the other. In these cases breast asymmetry can help. This procedure tends to be most successful when the breasts are different in size only. If they differ in shape as well as size then this is more problematic. The results are not so good in these cases.
Breast asymmetry surgery can include the following techniques:
- breast uplift which can lift and firm drooping breasts
- breast augmentation which can increase the size of the breasts
- breast reduction which can reduce the size of one of the breasts
This surgery is successful in 90% of cases and results in a natural looking appearance. Bear in mind though that perfect symmetry is impossible.
Who needs this procedure?
Breast asymmetry correction surgery is a highly individualized procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your Plastic Surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Before you decide on breast asymmetry correction surgery, there are some important issues to keep in mind:
- Breast asymmetry correction surgery will improve the differences between your breasts at the time of the surgery – however further changes are likely to occur with time in your breasts, especially if the difference is large, and further surgery to maintain breast symmetry is likely to be required
- Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants. Although breasts of any size can be lifted, the results may not be as long-lasting in women with heavier breasts
- Surgeons generally recommend waiting until breast development, child birth and breastfeeding have stopped before undertaking breast asymmetry correction surgery – however if the difference is large then the surgery may need to be performed when young Smokers are at increased risk of complications from any surgery. If you are serious about undergoing cosmetic surgery, you should try to quit smoking
- If you are concerned about the way you look or are thinking about cosmetic treatments to boost your confidence, there are alternatives to cosmetic surgery. These may include other treatments, wearing padded bras or accepting yourself the way you are.
A breast asymmetry correction may be a good option for you if: You are physically healthy, You have realistic expectations, Your breasts are fully developed, Your breasts are significantly different in size (especially if more than one cup size difference), Your breasts are significantly different in shape (i.e. one is sagging and has lost its shape and firmness compared to the other breast, One breast is lower than the other) Remember that the shape and size of your breasts before surgery will influence the surgical procedure and the outcome.
Some women suffer from a condition called ‘tuberous’ breasts. Basically, this is where the breasts are shaped like tubes hence the name. They have a narrow base and the base of the breast is tubular shaped rather than the normal ‘cone’ shape.
For these women surgery can help by using breast implants which will increase the size and help to give a natural, ‘rounded’ appearance. It can also help if you have one nipple positioned differently from the other.
If you have one breast which is different in size or shape from the other then breast asymmetry surgery is an option. It can either increase the size via breast enlargement or reducing the size via breast reduction surgery. There is a rare condition called ‘Poland’s’ Syndrome’: this is where one breast fails to develop because the tissues responsible for its development are missing. These tissues are located within the chest wall. Tissue expanders can be inserted into the chest area which fills the breast tissue, causing it to stretch.
If this condition is causing you psychological distress then cosmetic surgery can help. If you are in good health, aged 18 and over and are realistic about the procedure then you are suitable for surgery. In regard to age, surgeons prefer to operate on women aged over 18 but they can make an exception if you are aged 16 or 17.
What is the advantage of this procedure?
If you have the following issues:
- Feeling self-conscious
- Having difficulty getting clothing to fit properly
- Living in fear of becoming intimate with someone and having to expose mismatched breasts
- In severe cases, breast asymmetry can be disfiguring and cause emotional distress
Although breast asymmetry (one breast is a different size and/or shape than the other) is extremely common, it can cause many challenges. Many women feel self-conscious or have difficulty getting clothing to fit properly. Others live in fear of becoming intimate with someone and having to expose their mismatched breasts. In severe cases, breast asymmetry can be truly disfiguring. Fortunately, we offer a number of precision techniques to correct breast asymmetry and help you feel more comfortable and confident in your appearance.
Are there non-surgical treatments?
You can use a professional bra fitting with an insert to even out your size in clothing. Breast asymmetries can be hidden some with different bras or over the counter silicone inserts.
What is the surgical treatment like local or sedation?
Yes, breast asymmetry correction surgery requires either general or local anesthesia. Modern anesthesia is safe and effective, but does have some risks. Ask your Plastic Surgeon and anesthesiologist for more information.
Your surgeon and/or anesthesiologist will ask you about all the medications you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Make sure you have an up to date list before the surgery.
What is the recovery like?
Basically, you will need lots of rest and recuperation. Your breasts will feel sore and bruised, and are likely to be swollen as well. You will have to wear a light support bandage for a couple of weeks and a special support bra. A soft, sports bra is a good idea.
During this time you will feel tired, sore and a bit down. This is a completely normal reaction to the surgery. Don’t forget, you would have been keyed up and nervous beforehand and this is a reaction to all of that stress. You have gone from a sense of anticipation to a complete anti-climax.
For the first two to three days you will be feeling sore, bruised and swollen. You will have been given painkillers to deal with this so keep taking them. You can apply ice packs to the sore areas. The dressings will stay in place for two weeks following surgery.
You will have sore and swollen breasts for up to a week after surgery. Wear a support bra or a special sports bra that fastens up at the front and wear this for 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. If non-dissolvable stitches have been used then these will have to be removed 10 days following your operation.
When you arrive home, do not attempt to do any of your normal household jobs such as cleaning, putting the washing out or tidying up. Make sure you have someone that can do this for you. This is ‘me time’ now: a time when you will need plenty of sleep and time to recover. You will find that you feel slightly groggy and dizzy following the anesthetic. Do not try and do anything which requires you to concentrate.
Try to avoid doing anything that requires you to lift or stretch. Do not carry anything heavy or cumbersome. Make sure that any items you need such as kitchen utensils are at eye level. And make sure you can reach various items without having to bend over or stretch for them.
If you have children then ask your partner or member of your family to look after them for the first few days. This applies to very small children such as toddlers. What you don’t want is a lively two year to jump on you when you are trying to rest!
Have the follow arrangements in place when you arrive back home:
- Your partner or family member/friend to help out with everyday tasks. These can include household duties, looking after your children and/or the family pet.
- Ask your partner or friend to cook meals for you for the first few days. What is helpful is if you have managed to go food shopping before your surgery and bought in enough ready prepared meals and treats. This saves you from having to worrying about cooking for yourself.
- Keep your fluids up during this time. Drink plenty of water. Instead of buying those large, 2-litre bottles of water, keep a few smaller ones and straws close to hand. The ‘sports type’ bottles are very handy.
- Do any cleaning beforehand. You will not be fit enough to do this or any other housework during this time so try and do it before your surgery.
- Make sure you have a good supply of painkillers, medications, bandages, dressings etc. With your medications, note what day and when you take them. For example, if a medication has to be taken 3 times a day after meals then note this on the bottle.
- Keep some blankets and a soft pillow to hand. If you feel the need to have a lie down in the living room then cover yourself with a blanket. Surgery can cause you to feel the cold more than usual. Feeling cold is also common when you are tired and this is something you will notice after your surgery.
- Keep by your bed, a small table on which your medications, painkillers, mobile phone, bottled water and most importantly, the remote control are to hand. Ensure that you have a decent lamp as you will be a bit unsteady on your feet for the first day or so. If you have to get up in the night then you will need to put the light on.
- Wear something comfortable during the day. You do not want to wear anything which feels tight or could cause friction against your surgical wounds. Loose tops or shirts, a jogging suit or a baggy t-shirt and pajamas trousers are ideal.
- You will find yourself taking naps at different times during the day. In order to help with this it is a good idea to leave your curtains closed or to fix blinds so that the room is dark enough for you to sleep.
- You will spend this time either watching television or reading. If this gets a bit boring then listen to the radio or a favorite CD.
What you may find is that you feel depressed after your surgery. This is not depression in the true sense of the word: it is more a state of feeling down or a bit low. This is known as post-operative depression and can be caused by a variety of things. These include guilt or worry about the surgery; worry about the cost or spending money on cosmetic surgery; the physical trauma of the surgery and the reaction of your partner, family and friends to your new look.
This is all entirely normal and cease over time. It helps to talk to your partner or a good friend at this time. If you are still feeling depressed some time following surgery then it is worthwhile contacting your surgeon.
The next big question is when can you return to work? We would recommend that you take a week off from work. If you have an office job which involves you sat at a desk then you can return to work a week later. If your job involves you in physical activity or lifting then give yourself two weeks before returning. It will be six weeks or more before you can resume playing sports or other strenuous activities. In respect of sex, abstain from this for a week. It will be two to four weeks before you are well enough to drive. As regards scarring you are looking at six weeks to make a full recovery. The scars can take up to seven months to heal.
How long does it take?
You will be given a general anesthetic. The surgeon will make an incision in the breast crease (the natural crease just under the breast). He/she will use a combination of the techniques used in breast uplift, breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery. The surgery can last from 1 hour to 4 hours depending on the techniques used. Everyone is different and some people will take longer than others. The aim is to balance the shape and size of the breasts so that they appear the same. This surgery can also tighten sagging breasts.
What are the complications?
Possible breast reduction surgery risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring, Infection, Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent, Anesthesia risks, Bleeding (hematoma), Blood clots, Poor wound healing, Breast contour and shape irregularities, Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising, Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs—can occur and may be temporary or permanent, Breast asymmetry, Fluid accumulation, Excessive firmness of the breast, Potential inability to breastfeed, Potential loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other, Potential, partial or total loss of nipple and areola, Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, Pain, which may persist, Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injectable agents, Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis), Possibility of revisional surgery.
Breast asymmetry surgery is safe. This surgery has been performed countless times by highly qualified, experienced surgeons. However, all surgery has a very small amount of risk. There is always the risk of complications. These are rare but do happen. If you notice any of the following symptoms then contact your surgeon immediately:
- Excessive bleeding
- Chest pain, shortness of breath or rapid heart beat
- A sudden increase in pain
Other risks include an adverse reaction to anesthesia, the implant breaks or leaks, capsular contracture, hematoma, reduced or loss of nipple sensation and unacceptable results. There is also the risk of fluid forming around the implant. There is also the possibility that the procedure will need to be repeated a second or even a third time. There have been some media reports which argued that breast implants can cause breast cancer. But there is no concrete evidence of this. At present, a link between implants and breast cancer has NOT been proved.
What can you do to speed up recovery?
Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. You may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a supportive garment to minimize swelling and to support your operation site as it heals. A small, thin tube may also be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will need to take at least a few days off work to rest. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, notify your surgeon immediate:
- Temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding from the incisions
- Worsening redness around the incision sites
- Increasing pain or tenderness, or other problems that appear to be worsening
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site(s) or in your general health
- When to follow-up with your surgeon
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? If so, when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When will they be removed?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Do you need to rest up afterwards and for how many days?
Plan on relaxing at home the first two days after your breast asymmetry correction surgery, you will be in a comfortable surgery bra that has adjustable straps. You may take pain medication during this period of time. After the first few days, most people are up and around, off all prescription pain medication, and usually have resumed basic activities. However, it is important to avoid all exercise, heavy lifting, and other more strenuous activities for the first three weeks. If you go to work, expect to be more tired during the first week and sore by the end of the day. If your work involves a lot of moving of your upper body, take the entire first week off.
Our doctors insist that all patients undergo a six-month scar treatment regimen after any type of breast augmentation surgery to minimize all scars. During the healing period, the breasts often have tight or small lumpy areas where the internal sutures are located. This is common and is most prominent 4-8 weeks after surgery. These sutures are absorbable and any lumps caused by them will resolve. Your breasts need up to 2 months to fully heal and take their final shape. Our team will discuss with you what kind of support and activity you will need during this time.