Summary: Among the most popular and growing surgical options out there, breast reduction continues to see more and more women adopt a surgical solution to overly large breasts. These breasts can be rather heavy, straining the back and neck muscles with every movement. Therefore, from Los Angeles, CA, to Ridgewood, NJ, breast reduction surgeons have seen a spike in interest in the procedure. Key to increasing quality and satisfaction with these procedures, is managing scar expectations—and a new device called PICO is showing promise in minimizing scars after surgical procedures, including breast reduction procedures.
A Popular Pair
One of the most popular aesthetic plastic surgeries the world over is the breast augmentation. Known a little more colloquially as “breast implants” (though, this actually refers to the implants themselves and not the procedure that places them there), augmentation is one of those procedures that have, over the years, nearly become synonymous with plastic surgery itself. But there’s another procedure that’s also quickly growing in popularity, and while it’s in no position to overtake breast augmentation, it does help to illustrate the two sided common purpose of the plastic surgery profession. This procedure is known as breast reduction, and it’s usually employed to help women with overly large breasts achieve a more balanced proportion (along with significantly less back pain and neck pain).
Because breast reduction is often marketed—accurately so—as a way to reduce your overall pain, researchers in the plastic surgery field have been actively pursuing ways to make the procedure itself significantly less painful. Indeed, one of the reasons why breast procedures in general might be so popular is because they are relatively low risk and low pain. Indeed, recovery from breast surgeries is also relatively quick, usually clocking in at a week or two. On top of these successes comes news from researchers at Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology firm. Announced at the Sixth European Symposium of Aesthetic Surgery of the Breast, the research indicated that a new type of wound care significantly improved recovery after breast reduction surgery.
Managing Breast Reduction Recovery
Manufactured by Smith & Nephew, the PICO Single Use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System is designed to assist those patients who are at higher risk for complications during recovery. This can include older patients or patients who smoke, among others. Indeed, even on most plastic surgery websites, smoking is a behavior that is discouraged. According to the website of the Ridgewood, NJ, breast reduction surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, one of the characteristics they seek out in candidates is that they be nonsmoking. But sometimes this simply cannot be avoided. In addition to making surgery safer for these higher risk patients, the PICO NPWT device also helped reduce scarring in more traditional, lower-risk patients.
Indeed, according to the new research, the PICO device significantly fewer post-surgical events and a noticeably improved scar quality during recovery. This has led to significantly higher satisfaction with the procedures, as often low satisfaction can be attributed to more noticeable scarring. This is especially true in aesthetic plastic surgery procedures and reconstructive procedures, such as breast reconstruction after breast cancer treatment and mastectomy. Patients feel as though larger, smaller, or new breasts simply are not as attractive or comfortable with scarring. The PICO device helps to reduce that scarring.
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy systems achieve those results by applying a special type of bandage to the incision area. This bandage is sealed and, basically, attached to a vacuum tube and vacuum device. By applying gentle negative pressure to the incision site, the NPWT system encourages several things to happen. First, it draws blood to the site, facilitating natural healing processes. Second, the NPWT system draws excess fluid from the incision area, keeping the site clean and preventing the kind of build up that can sometimes lead to infection. Typically, the special dressing is applied during surgery, and can remain in place for several days or weeks, depending on the course of the recovery period.
Dressing Your Breast Reduction Scars
These PICO dressings can be applied in a wide variety of surgical settings, from skin grafts to treat burns to diabetic ulcers, and generally their benefits in these situations have been well documented. The new research published suggests that this PICO device can be equally effective in an aesthetic surgical setting—indeed, the results of the research seem to indicate that this PICO system is remarkably effective. That doesn’t mean it will be equally effective for every patient and every procedure, and as always you should consult with your plastic surgeon about the costs and benefits for your particular situation. Given that the bandages can obviously not be re-used, the PICO system will likely be an expensive part of your surgical procedure should you choose to pursue it.
The particular research in question mainly applies to breast reduction therapies. Breast reduction itself is a growing trend in plastic surgery, mostly because of the benefits in quality of life for those who have opted to pursue the procedure. During a breast reduction surgery, generally, excess tissue is removed from the breast and the nipples are repositioned to suite the new shape. Additionally, a breast lift may be performed concurrently in order to create the appearance of perkier, more youthful breasts. The procedure itself has a 96% “worth it” rating on plastic surgery social media site Real Self, which aligns well with what plastic surgeons generally see in their own practices.
Benefits of Breast Reduction
Breast reduction can help greatly reduce back and neck pain, as overly large breasts can be quite a weighty and uncomfortable load to bear. Every woman is different, but this remains a popular procedure and likely will continue to grow more popular in the future. The benefits certainly seem to stack in the procedure’s favor, and it illustrates how the aim of plastic surgery is not to make everyone look the same with some sort of singular ideal body. Rather, aesthetic plastic surgery is an incredibly individualized set of processes, in which the aim is to produce the ideal you in all its uniqueness. To get started on this process, talk to your plastic surgeon today.