Breast reduction can be done on your cancer-free breast to help match it to your reconstructed breast. During the reduction procedure, excess breast tissue, fat and skin are removed allowing the breast to be re-shaped into a smaller, lighter, firmer breast that sits higher on your chest. Typically, the incision is made around the areola and a vertical line extends downward and follows the natural curve of the crease under the breast. Your nipple is not detached, but simply moved to a higher position so that most women retain nipple sensation and the ability to breastfeed.
This surgery typically takes around an hour when done during the second stage of breast reconstruction. General anesthesia is used, and you will have some swelling, bruising and numbness during recovery. Expect to return back to work in about two to three weeks and resume normal activities within six weeks. Risks include bleeding, infection, loss of sensation, loss of nipple, scarring and the need for additional procedures.
Image via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons