Breast reduction is a procedure which reduces the volume of hypertrophic breasts and lifts up the breasts.
Breast reduction, in France, is covered by health insurance only when more than 300 grams are removed from each breast. Otherwise it is considered as a cosmetic procedure (breast ptosis treatment).
The scar formed is generally made of 3 parts and looks like an inverted T: a circular part around the areola, a vertical scar between the areola and the bottom fold of the breast, and a horizontal incision under the bottom fold of the breast.
After breast reduction using a traditional technique with upper pedicle, reduction or loss of the areolar sensitivity may appear. When the patient wishes to keep the same areolar sensitivity or plans to breastfeed, the anterior pedicle technique is preferred in order to preserve innervations and milk ducts.
Before the procedure
- 2 mandatory consultations will take place.
- A mammography and an ultrasound exam are always carried out.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and lasts between 2 and 3 hours. The patient arrives in the morning and returns home in the evening or, if necessary, the next day. It is carried out in a semi sitting position in order to see the result in a standing position.
There is no drain.
After the procedure
There is no dressing and the stitches are dissolvable. The first shower is permitted the day after the surgery. The compression stockings prescribed before the surgery will be worn day and night for 5 days following surgery.
In most cases, there is no pain after the surgery.
A medical bra should be worn day and night for the first month. You will be able to go back to your normal activities after 1 week, and sport activities can be resumed progressively after 1 month.
The definitive shape and volume of the breasts will be apparent between 3 to 6 months after treatment.
The first shower is permitted the day after the surgery, but baths should be avoided for the first month. The scars need to be protected from the sun for a full year after the surgery!
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m worried about scarring. Are there always three scars?
Yes, most of the time, for an attractive result.
You should know that a scar never totally disappears but fades considerably with time.
The scar around the nipple is needed to lift the breast (and the nipple size is often reduced at the same time), and the vertical scar gives the breast contour and a pretty shape. Without this scar, the breast will appear flatter.
The scar under the breast is actually the least visible as it is hidden under the breast fold.
One year after surgery, when the scar around the nipple is bothersome because it is too visible, you can always have a dermopigmentation (medical tattoo) procedure done to hide it.
Is it a painful procedure?
Breast reductions are not usually painful at all. You may experience some discomfort, especially around the scars, but any pain is managed with traditional painkillers (e.g. paracetamol).
However, more severe pain may be experienced in very rare cases. In this case, the pain lasts three to seven days, especially when changing position.
Is breast reduction covered by national health insurance?
Breast reductions are partially covered by French national health insurance if more than 300 g is removed from each breast. You should note two points:
First, this really means 300 g per breast, not 600 g in all. That means, for example, that if 400 grams is removed on one side and 200 grams on the other, the procedure is not at all covered.
Second, the procedure is only partially covered. This means that national health insurance will pay for the cost of your stay at the clinic (operating room and room of your stay), but the anesthesiologist’s and surgeon’s fees must be covered by the patient. These fees may be party covered by your complementary health insurance, depending on your plan.