Most women naturally have minor differences in their breasts that they may never have noticed. However sometimes these differences in size, shape or position can be more obvious and it can make it difficult to fit bras and be visible in swimming costumes and clothing.
Depending on the amount of difference there are a few options – you can make the smaller breast bigger (breast augmentation), make the larger breast smaller (breast reduction), make both breasts bigger or smaller, or lift a drooping breast into a more normal position (breast lift). Dr Cope can discuss the best option for you, depending on your desired outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Minor breast asymmetry is normal, with 7 out of 8 women having minor differences in their breasts, either is size or shape.
Breast asymmetry can be improved if your breast volume difference if more than 10% – 3D Vectra breast imaging will be used to determine the volume and shape differences between your breasts as part of the consultation with Dr Charles Cope, Specialist Plastic Surgeon.
Fat transfer could also be used to increase breast size.
Breast asymmetry can be improved if the volume difference between your breasts is more than 10%, or if the shape of your breasts is significantly different. This can occur as your breasts develop, but also occur after pregnancy, breast feeding and weight loss.
Breast asymmetry can be performed at any age, as long as your breasts are not still changing – it is best to wait at least 6 months after pregnancy, breast feeding and weight loss for the changes in your breasts to stabilise.
Breast asymmetry surgery may involve surgery to increase the size of the smaller breast (such as fat transfer or breast augmentation), breast reduction surgery to reduce the size of the larger breast, or both, and may also involve breast reshaping. Whatever surgery is performed the likely outcome is improvement of the asymmetry, rather than complete correction.
Breast asymmetry correction is not permanent, but usually lasts 5-10 years. How long it lasts depends on the size of your breasts (larger breasts drop faster if they are not well supported), weight fluctuations and hormonal changes. Even if your weight is stable then hormonal changes such as pregnancy, breast feeding & menopause can cause your breasts to change, possibly requiring another operation.
Breast asymmetry surgery does not usually affect your ability to breast feed, although if a larger breast reduction is part of the surgery it may affect your chance of breast feeding.
There is a Medicare rebate where the volume difference between your breasts is more than 10% (measured on 3D imaging such as Vectra), which means that if you are insured your health fund may cover the hospital bed fee and theatre fee costs (depending on your level of insurance)
The operation is performed as a day-surgery or overnight stay procedure in an accredited hospital, depending on what you are like with anaesthetic recovery
It is normal for scars to be red, lumpy and obvious for 6-8 weeks after surgery. After this they gradually fade, with most people’s scars being white by one year, although uncommonly this process can take 2 or more years. The simplest way to help this process is to keep tape such as 3MTM Micropore tape on the scars for the first 3 months or so. An alternative to this is to massage the scars. Uncommonly, scars stay red and thick for months, requiring other treatments such as steroid injections or vascular lasers to help them fade.
During the first week after surgery you need to rest and take things quietly at home. When you go home there will be waterproof dressings covering your breasts, which normally stay on for one week, allowing you to shower normally. Most people find these dressings supportive, but if you find it more comfortable to wear a supportive sports bra that’s fine. Some people feel well enough to drive to the postoperative visit, which is usually 5-7 days later. Most people return to office work 10 days after breast asymmetry surgery.
For most people it is 4 weeks until they are ready to return to sport and full activities.