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Is Breast Surgery Right For You?

by Dr. Nathalie Lavallee

Nathalie Lavallee
Dr. Nathalie Lavallee, FRCS,
Plastic & Reconstructive
Surgeon, Susquehanna
Health

Thousands of women each year report looking and feeling better and having more confidence as the result of breast surgery. Whether you want a cosmetic change to improve feelings about your personal appearance, you want the size of your breasts reduced to address back pain and other medical concerns, or you want breast reconstruction to address a birth defect or the results of breast cancer treatment, breast surgery can help you reach these goals.

There are five main types of breast surgery:

  • Breast augmentation: Uses gel or saline implants to increase breast size
  • Breast correction: Addresses asymmetry of the breasts or differences in size, shape or nipple position
  • Breast reduction: Decreases the amount of excess skin and breast tissue in women whose breasts are disproportionate to their body structure. In men it addresses gynecomastia a condition characterized by excess localized fat or glandular tissue development, or a combination of the two
  • Breast lift: Restores the youthful look and fullness of your breasts
  • Breast reconstruction: Reconstructs the breast after it has been removed or disfigured due to cancer 

As you talk to your plastic surgeon during your initial consultation, the first step toward achieving your new look you may discover that a combination of surgeries are required to achieve the look and feel that you want. The surgeon will help you determine a breast size and shape that will complement the rest of your body. You will also talk about how weight loss, smoking cessation and other steps prior to your surgery could impact your outcome.

The surgeon will also talk to you about possible risks of breast surgery including:

  • Difficulties with wound healing
  • Scars and asymmetries
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

After a first consultation, a breast surgery candidate receives information to read over and think about before scheduling a second consultation before the surgery.

Many patients are surprised to learn that breast surgery is outpatient. Augmentation surgery is generally performed through short unobtrusive incisions under the breasts and with breast reduction the surgeon uses the shortest incision possible around the areola continuing in a vertical fashion to the lower part of the breast and sometimes under the breast. While many can return to work within a week or two of the procedure, healing continues for three to six months.

Based on risk factors and age, some women are encouraged to have a mammogram prior to surgery. For women choosing gel implants the FDA recommends periodic MRIs to evaluate the implants. As the breasts change naturally over time additional surgery may be required. This is typically considered around the ten to twelve year mark.

Breast surgery can help you get back to exercising, reduce back and neck pain, help you feel more confident about your appearance and even give you a brighter outlook about your future after illness. Some breast reduction and most reconstruction surgeries are covered by insurance. Find out how breast surgery can benefit you by talking to an experienced plastic surgeon.

Dr. Nathalie Lavallee completed her plastic surgery fellowship at the Institute for Aesthetic Surgery & Medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital Center at Mt. Kisco, NY. In practice for nearly 15 years, Dr. Lavallee most recently was an attending staff physician in plastic surgery at Hospital Saint Sacrement and the Quebec Burn Unit and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Her practice is located within the Susquehanna Health Breast Health Center at UPMC Williamsport Divine Providence Campus