Breast reduction is an insurable procedure covered by Alberta Health Services. The purpose of this surgery is to reduce the size of the breasts to alleviate discomfort. This operation is one of the most common operations performed by plastic surgeons. The most common reason for doing the procedure is for a woman who has very large breasts and has back, shoulder or neck pain attributable to the weight of her breasts. As of April 1, 2017, Alberta Health Care has changed the criteria for an insured Breast reduction. The minimum amount of breast tissue removed during the procedure should be in excess of 300g per breast. If less than 300g is removed, the procedure is not considered insured and the patient would be responsible for all fees incurred.
The intention of the operation is to remove the excess, heavy breast tissue yet still retain enough breast tissue to leave the patient with a pretty breast. Two general types of scar patterns are employed to do a reduction - an anchor style (Wise pattern) or a vertical scar (Lejour pattern). Usually, the nipple is left attached to the patient and not removed but in certain instances, the nipple is taken off and re-attached at the end of the case. Generally speaking, most plastic surgeons would say that breast reduction patients are among the happiest patients in their practices and the most common saying of a woman who has had a reduction is 'I wish I had done this years ago.'
Although breast reductions are usually performed under a general anesthetic, they are usually considered 'day surgery', meaning that the patient is able to go home on the same day as the procedure is performed. Most patients are able to return to work within a week although they can be a bit tired for a few weeks following the procedure.
Due to a recent change from Alberta Health, breast reductions under 300 g of tissue are no longer covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. For further information or to make an appointment to see Dr. Campbell, please call 403 228 2511.