All women have some degree of breast asymmetry. In most women, this asymmetry is minor and goes unnoticed. However, those who have an apparent difference in breast size, areola size, or the location of the nipples often feel embarrassed about the appearance of the breasts. Fortunately, noticeable breast asymmetry can be corrected with surgery. Plastic Surgeon John R. Griffin can perform breast surgery on Bay Area patients who are unhappy with the differences in their breasts.
Candidates for breast asymmetry surgery desire a size increase or decrease in one of the breasts, and may wish to have the areolas and nipples surgically treated to produce a more uniform appearance. Good candidates for surgery should be in good health, not smoke, and have reasonable expectations about the results of treatment.
Asymmetrical breasts can be treated with various surgical techniques:
- The placement of implants: The placement of two different sized breast implants can improve symmetry. Patients who choose this option may wish to have saline implants placed. Saline implants can be filled after placement, allowing the surgeon greater control over the size increase in each breast.
- Breast fat grafting: An autologous fat grafting procedure can be performed to increase the size of the smaller breast. To be considered a good candidate for this approach, the patient would need to have a sufficient amount of fat that can be removed from another area of the body. The fat can re-injected into the smaller breast to increase its size and shape.
- Lift techniques: Breast lift techniques can be performed in conjunction with an augmentation procedure to address differences in the size or location of the areola or nipple. Lift techniques allow surgeons to reduce the size of the areola, and move the areola and nipple up to a higher position on the breast fold.
- Breast reduction: If the patient desires smaller breasts, in addition to asymmetry correction, breast reduction surgery can be performed. Breast reduction techniques can also address asymmetries of the areola and nipple.
The breast asymmetry procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis, and the patient is put under general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes two to four hours, depending on the amount of correction that is required. Once the patient is sedated, Dr. Griffin will create the incisions, and increase or decrease the size of the breasts, and then re-size or reposition the areola and nipples as needed. Once the surgery is complete, the incisions will be closed with sutures, and bandages will be applied to the breasts.
Patients should plan to take one to two weeks off of work to recover from the surgical procedure. The first week after surgery is a critical healing period. Patients should spend most of the time resting, but also take brief, non-strenuous walks around the house to improve circulation. Pain medication can be taken to reduce discomfort. Showering can be resumed within 48 hours of surgery, but patients should take care to avoid high-pressure water contact with the healing incisions.
Patients will return to Dr. Griffin’s practice about a week after surgery so he can check progress and remove the sutures. At that time, he will recommend that patients continue to wear a surgical bra and avoid high levels of activity for the remaining five weeks of recovery.
Breast asymmetry surgery often results in the following side effects:
- Pain: This can be relieved with medication and should subside in one to three weeks.
- Swelling: This may last for a couple of months. Avoiding strenuous activity can reduce swelling.
- Bruising: Bruising may last for one to three weeks. Avoiding strenuous activity can reduce bruising.
- Itching at the incision site: This will last as long as it takes the incisions to close, typically one to two weeks.
- Numbness at the incision site: This is usually temporary, and should go away in about a month.
The possible risks of asymmetry correction include:
- Allergic reaction
- Nerve damage
- Poor wound healing
- Noticeable scarring
The final results of breast asymmetry surgery are evident when all of the swelling goes down. This can take up to two months after surgery. However, patients will be able to get a good idea of what their results look like when the bandages come off and the stitches are removed.
To schedule a breast asymmetry consultation, contact Dr. Griffin’s practice.