A sensation-sparing breast reduction is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the breasts, with specific care taken to preserve the sensitivity and sensation of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC). This procedure is performed to restructure patients’ breasts to form smaller and more symmetrical mounds, often lifting and repositioning the nipple. Some breast reduction procedures result in the loss of sensation in the NAC. Surgeons performing breast reduction surgery must take steps in order to preserve it to improve patients’ overall experience and quality of life.
Dr Riccardo Frati is an internationally renowned plastic surgeon who offers comprehensive care for his patients in London, Chelmsford, Manchester, and beyond the UK. He specialises in advanced breast reduction techniques with an emphasis on sensitivity preservation.
- 1 Before and After Photos
- 2 All About Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction
- 3 Benefits of Breast Reduction
- 4 Am I an Ideal Candidate for a Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction?
- 5 Personal Consultation
- 6 Preparation
- 7 Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction Procedure
- 8 Breast Reduction Recovery
- 9 Results
- 10 Advanced Breast Reduction Surgery
- 11 How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost in London?
- 12 References
Before and After Photos
All About Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction
The Nipple-Areolar Complex
In female anatomy, the NAC is one of the major sensory indicators of intimate wellness. Its highly sensitive nature can contribute greatly to a woman’s physical intimacy. Studies have shown the nipple is much more sensitive than the areola, with a greater reaction to light touch and vibration. (1) Dr Frati takes painstaking efforts to maintain sensation in every reduction he performs, both to improve results and safeguard intimate sensation.
Dr Frati is keenly aware of the network of nerves and blood vessels that feed the NAC to avoid damaging them during surgery. The lateral cutaneous branch of the fourth intercostal nerve is the most important nerve that supplies the NAC and should therefore remain as intact as possible. Rather than the extent of the reduction influencing the NAC’s sensitivity, some suggest that the pattern of breast tissue dissection might have a more prominent influence. (1)
In breast reduction surgery, there are two incision patterns widely used. They both require careful manoeuvring of the NAC, but neither completely remove it from the area. In order to move it up higher on the breast mound, Dr Frati must safely cut and dissect tissue around it.
Vertical Breast Reduction
Also referred to as a “lollipop” reduction, a vertical breast reduction uses an incision that extends around the nipple and vertically down the mound toward the underlying breast crease. Often used for moderate reductions, this incision allows for the freedom and range of motion to carefully dissect and remove tissue while preserving the NAC.
Inverted-T Breast Reduction
Another popular technique used in breast reduction is the inverted-T, or “anchor” incision pattern. For this technique, Dr Frati makes three separate incisions: around the areola, vertically down toward the crease, and along the crease itself. This technique is commonly implemented when a patient has severe sagging of the breast, asymmetry, or is looking for a more significant reduction in size. (2)
Benefits of Breast Reduction
There is a wide array of possible benefits of receiving sensation-sparing breast reduction surgery. They include the following:
- Reduced size and enhanced shape/contour of breasts
- Lifted, younger looking breasts
- Less trouble finding well-fitting undergarments
- Proportioned breasts can help balance your silhouette
- Procedure reduces the size of the areola, creating a new shape that compliments the breasts’ new shape and size
- Increased self-esteem and increased confidence in your body
A breast reduction procedure may actually increase sensitivity in patients that are lacking it. Some patients that request breast reductions have a condition called macromastia, wherein the breasts are overdeveloped, creating discrepancies in a patient’s body contour. A breast reduction procedure can be performed to alleviate this by providing patients with a breast size that better compliments their body shape. This procedure can also relieve patients of back, shoulder, and neck pain.
Am I an Ideal Candidate for a Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction?
Patients that qualify for a sensation-sparing breast reduction may experience:
- Negative perception of their breast being too large
- Struggle with certain physical activity because of their breast (e.g. pain when running)
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain cause by extra weight of breasts
- Breasts disproportionate to the rest of their body
You must also be:
- In good overall health (no underlying serious health concerns)
- A nonsmoker or willing to refrain from using tobacco and nicotine products
- Someone with reasonable expectations about the procedure’s outcome
During your private consultation with Dr Frati, you will undergo a medical examination to determine the best procedure plan. He will inquire about any symptoms, physical and mental, that you may have due to your breast size and shape. You can take this time to describe your expectations and desires for the outcome of your procedure, and Dr Frati will take your concerns to heart. Once your treatment plan is set and your procedure specifics are chosen, our staff will happily schedule your surgery date.
To best prepare for your breast reduction, you will receive:
- A comprehensive medical examination and any necessary lab workups
- A mammogram or breast examinations to rule out serious discrepancies
To best prepare yourself, you must:
- Refrain from using tobacco and nicotine products
- Stop taking or adjust certain medications
- Refrain from taking NSAIDs or other blood-thinning medications
Breast reduction can be an extensive and invasive procedure, so it is important to follow any and all other preparation steps given to you by Dr Frati. Doing so will increase the likelihood of a successful surgery. You are also required to find someone you trust who can take you home after the surgery and watch over you for a day or two postoperatively.
Sensation-Sparing Breast Reduction Procedure
Before the start of the procedure, Dr Frati will mark your breast to approximate his dissections and their new shape. This allows him to measure the area and also approximate the new nipple position. Once his map is created, you are prepared for surgery.
This procedure requires the use of general anaesthesia. Once you are comfortable and the anaesthesia has taken effect, Dr Frati will measure and re-measure his approximations to be absolutely sure they are correct before he makes any incisions. Then he makes his first incisions through the epidermis of the NAC.
After the rest of his incisions are made, he will start the reduction by meticulously removing tissue from the breast. Careful to not disturb important nerves and blood vessels, he removes tissue until he accomplishes optimal breast size and remaining breast tissue is lifted and secured. He then carefully repositions the nipple and the breasts are measured once more and temporary staples are inserted to hold the shape. You are sat up to make sure the breasts are symmetrical, and then suturing begins after removing the staples.
Dr Frati will suture the tissue underneath the skin with dissolvable stitches to create internal shape and structure. He works his way outward to ensure that there is not too much pressure on the skin incisions. The procedure takes anywhere from two to four hours to complete.
Breast Reduction Recovery
Dr Frati carefully bandages your incisions with gauze when the suturing is complete. You will wear a supportive surgical bra to keep swelling down and allow your breast to heal without interference. Continue to wear this at all times throughout the healing process. Depending on the extent of the reduction, you may have small tubes placed under the skin of the breasts during the procedure that allow fluid and blood to drain from the area. Dr Frati will likely remove the drains during your first follow up appointment.
For the first postoperative week, you may feel moderate discomfort and you are to limit your activity levels significantly. By the second and third week, you should be feeling much better and can return to work as long as it doesn’t require strenuous activity. By the end of week five or six, you may participate in most regular activities.
You will be able to enjoy your new breast profile for a long time after your reduction procedure. Much of the weight that was straining your back and shoulders will be reduced, allowing you to be more comfortable. If you were experiencing physical limitations because of breast size, these symptoms will also subside. The decrease in breast size will give you new freedoms, allowing you to enjoy your new shape without self consciousness.
Though the results of a breast reduction are considered long-lasting, over time their shape and size may change due to circumstances out of your control. They may be affected by weight fluctuation, hormone changes, ageing, and gravity.
Advanced Breast Reduction Surgery
During an advanced breast reduction surgery, you are given the option to incorporate implants into a traditional breast reduction to create a more proportionate and aesthetically pleasing breast contour.
This procedure is a breast reduction, only amplified. The addition of implants can give patients better projection and shape. In some cases, removing breast tissue can result in a reduction of the upper pole portion of the breasts, affecting the contour of the cleavage. The use of implants can help balance your new breasts and give them the shape you desire.
To learn more about breast reduction surgery or any other cosmetic treatments you may be interested in, give our blog a read.
How Much Does Breast Reduction Cost in London?
Dr Frati will discuss your complete cost breakdown during your private consultation. There are many factors that might affect your total, like the extent of the reduction and techniques used, to the optional addition of implants. He will make sure you are fully informed on all fronts to ensure you a stress-free surgery and recovery process.
If you are ready to take the first steps toward having the bustline you’ve always wanted, contact our Harley Street office directly by calling (+44) (0)20 3633 2619. You may also fill out our online form to schedule your consultation with Dr Frati.
- Kuzbari R, Schlenz I. Reduction Mammaplasty and Sensitivity of the Nipple-Areola Complex. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 2007;58(1):3-11. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/01.sap.0000250648.70177.4a
- Guridi R, Rodriguez JR. A Step-by-Step Approach to a Successful Cosmetic Breast Reduction. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. 2019;7(4):e2117. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/gox.0000000000002117