With 17-year-old “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter about to walk the Emmy red carpet for her first major public appearance since reducing her breast size in June, the media are abuzz with stories about such surgery: celebrities who’ve done it, teens who are doing it and the number of women “coming out” to say how the operation changed their lives.
Indeed, many plastic surgeons refer to breast reduction as a “happy surgery.” Studies rank the operation as having one of the highest patient satisfaction rates among plastic surgery procedures. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 114,000 women underwent the procedure in 2014 — a 183% increase since 1997. Women report alleviation of neck and back pain, relief from constant skin irritation, improved ability to exercise and enhanced body image.
Surgical techniques differ in where tissue is removed, where it is left behind and the incision pattern in the overlying skin. While it’s common to leave most of the tissue in the lower part of the breast, Dr. Kelly Killeen, a surgeon at Cassileth Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, says she tends to leave more in the middle to upper part of the breast, “because it gives ladies a more natural-looking cleavage and shape.”
The two main incision patterns are the “anchor shape” and the “lollipop.” The anchor pattern is the standard technique, where an incision is made around the areola, down the midline and across the bottom of the breast. With the lollipop pattern, an incision is made only around the areola and straight down the midline of the breast, without the third horizontal incision.