Tuberous Breast Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- What is tuberous breast deformity?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure and how are they handled?
1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
One of the most common abnormalities of breast shape is called a tubular breast. Tubular breasts, also known as tuberous and/or constricted breasts, result from congenital variation in the development of the breast tissue that can affect one or both breasts. Although there is considerable variation, tubular breasts all share several common features:
- Little to no skin between the bottom edge of the areola & inframammary fold
- Narrow and elongated shape with a wide space between
- Disproportionately large, puffy and/or herniated areola
- Tendency for the inframammary fold to be relatively high on the chest, thus causing the breast to droop and look long & constricted
2. What is tuberous breast deformity?
The tuberous or tubular breast deformity refers to a congenital condition in which the breast fails to develop fully. The ideal breast is round with breast tissue spread out across the chest. In a tuberous deformity, the volume of breast tissue may be normal or deficient, but it is concentrated directly below the nipple, and the lower pole of the breast has failed to fully develop. As a result, the breast may appear long and narrow.
3. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
To correct tuberous and tubular breasts, surgery is needed to release the constricted tissue and place the implant. In many cases, the base of the breast is widened, the areola is reduced in size, the inframammary fold is lowered and the internal constrictions that caused the tubular shape are released with internal incisions. Most tuberous patients also require an implant to be placed to fill out the lower pole of their breasts. The surgery will be done under general anesthesia in an accredited surgicenter.
4. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
After your tuberous breast procedure is completed, dressings will be applied to the incisions. You’ll need to wear a support bra to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal. If necessary, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect after the surgery. You will be given specific instructions that may include: how to care for your breasts following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, and when to come in for your follow up appointments.
Recovery time frame after breast lift surgery
It is important that you follow all patient care instructions provided. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking a prescribed antibiotic and the level and type of physical activity that is safe. We will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first week
The day after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. After several days, you should be able to move about more comfortably. Avoid straining, bending, and lifting since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. It is advised to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts. Any surgical drains will be removed within a few days of surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. For two to five days, your chest region may feel stiff and sore.
Two weeks to six weeks
After tuberous breast surgery it is often possible to return to work within a week or so, depending on your job. You should avoid excessive physical activity for at least the first six weeks following surgery. Avoid sexual activity for a minimum of one or two weeks. After that, take care to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next couple of weeks. You will be instructed to wear a support bra for a few weeks until the swelling and discoloration of your breasts diminish. You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas. This is usually temporary; however, it may take weeks, months or even more than a year before sensation returns to normal. Your breasts may require some time to assume a more natural shape as they heal. Incisions will initially be red or pink. They will remain this way for many months following surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after several weeks. Usually after six weeks, patients can resume their regular physical regimen. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but such feelings are normal. If you have severe pain, report it to us immediately.
5. What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure and how are they handled?
As with any surgery, there is always a risk of complications. These include excess bleeding, infection, poor skin healing, poor breast healing. Because it is sometimes necessary to make incisions around the areola (the round, dark part of the nipple) to remove excess skin, the nipple can be at risk. In very rare circumstances, the skin of the nipple can lose its blood supply. If this happens, the nipple can die and cause permanent scarring. This can be corrected to a large extent after healing by rebuilding the nipple (as is done for female patients with breast cancer), but permanent scars of the nipple itself are still a rare risk of tuberous breast surgery. Smokers are at higher risk for many of these complications. It is important to stop smoking at least a month before surgery.
Delayed wound healing and dehiscence: In some instances, the incision site takes longer to heal than normal. Cigarette smoking, poor nutritional status and a compromised immune system can all cause delayed wound healing or wound separation.
Asymmetry: Almost every patient has some natural asymmetry of their chest when comparing one side to the other. Dr. Hsu will endeavor to correct any natural differences in your breasts and make the two sides match in size and shape. However, in any type of breast surgery, there can be slight differences in nipple position, breast/chest shape, fullness, and healing that are impossible to predict. If large differences occur after surgery, we are committed to provide you with the most pleasing result Dr. Hsu thinks he can provide.
Breast Sensation: Breast and nipple sensation can be changed by any breast surgery. These changes are usually temporary and tend to improve with time. However, numbness can be permanent and may affect your sexual response to breast/nipple stimulation. Many women will have no change in their sensation.
Pain: If you experience severe pain not relieved by pain medicine, notify us immediately. Some discomfort is expected after surgery and you will receive a prescription for pain medication. The intensity and duration of pain after tuberous breast surgery will vary among patients. Prolonged or intense pain can be due to scarring around a nerve.
Infection: A small number of patients develop an infection. This typically can occur several days to several weeks after the procedure. If an infection does not respond to antibiotic pills, a patient may need intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Hospitalization is very rare.
Hematoma and Seroma: A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin, and a seroma is a collection of the watery portion of the blood under the skin. Hematomas or seromas typically develop within the first few days after surgery; however, they may occur at any time after injury to the chest. The body can reabsorb small hematomas or seromas, but larger ones require the placement of drains for proper healing.