Minor differences between breasts are very common. Surgery may be considered when there are considerable variations in the size, shape and/or position of the breasts and the nipples.
Breast asymmetry correction surgery is performed to minimise symptomatic differences between the breasts. The asymmetry can occur naturally with each breast developing differently or it may be the result of previous surgery or medical treatments such as radiotherapy. Depending on the amount of difference between the individual’s breasts and their characteristics, a number of aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgical techniques can be considered to correct breast asymmetry.
Please note that individual results will vary depending on the individual, their genetics and lifestyle factors, and all surgeries have associated risks. Before proceeding with any surgery, it is advisable to seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified medical practitioner such as a Plastic Surgeon. Dr. Gary Avery (MED0001633092) a registered medical practitioner, with specialist registration in Surgery – Plastic Surgery. Dr Avery is also a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) and Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.
Possible surgical options include breast augmentation with a breast implant, breast lift with or without a breast implant, or a breast reduction to one or both breasts. Each breast may have a similar procedure to a differing extent (for example different sized breast implants) or each breast may have a different procedure (such as a breast reduction for the larger breast and a breast augmentation for the smaller breast).
Breasts can change significantly during a woman’s life. Some common reasons include pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, aging and hormonal changes. These changes will potentially impact the size and firmness of the breasts. It is possible that these factors affect the breasts differently following breast asymmetry surgery and further surgery may be necessary in the future to maintain breast symmetry.
Patients considering any form of breast surgery will need to come in for a consultation with Dr Avery to discuss your expectations, along with the surgical options for how these can be achieved. During your consultation with the Avery team, we will ensure that the surgery you are considering is the appropriate choice for you.
At Avery, we welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation with you to understand the changes you are looking for with surgery. Our patients’ stories matter a great deal to us.
Wherever you are on your personal journey, we would like to assist you. Your reasons for having surgery and your expectations from surgery are important conversations to have before undergoing surgery. Dr Avery will also assess your health and medical history to ensure any surgical procedure you are considering is a safe and appropriate choice for you.
Your Breast Asymmetry Correction
Your GP or another specialist that knows you well must make a referral to Dr Avery. The decision to have a consultation may be made after talking with family or friends or following your own research into plastic surgery and Dr Avery.
The purpose of your initial consultation with Dr Avery is to discuss your motivations for surgery and expectations from surgery. It is an opportunity to openly communicate what you want to change, alleviate or remove. We will discuss any concerns you may have about your potential surgery and its outcome. We will also collect information that is specific and tailored to you, to add to the knowledge you acquired through your research outside of the consultation process.
When you arrive at Avery, you will check in with our Care Team and complete a medical history form, if not already completed. We encourage you to bring a supportive family member or friend who can remain with you throughout the consultation if you like, and be a sounding board during your decision-making process following the consultation.
The consultation with Dr Avery will include an examination of the area of your body that you are concerned with and considering changing. Our aim will be to determine if plastic surgery can achieve what you hope it will, and if so, what specific plastic surgery procedures will address your concerns and meet your expectations in a realistic way.
Plastic surgery procedures can impact physical appearance and there may be a psychological response to the changes in your body after surgery. Besides the reasons for having plastic surgery, it is important to be fully aware of any potential limitations of the operation and how they apply to your unique situation. This includes the risks of having surgery and all of the possible complications that can occur after surgery, and what can be done if these occur.
We will discuss what the surgery involves, how it relates to you specifically given your uniqueness and current state of health, what the possible risks of the surgery are, and then decide if having the surgery is a safe and appropriate choice for you as an individual.
Your consultation will also include a discussion of the estimated financial implications of having this surgery or surgeries that were discussed with Dr Avery.
After your consultation, our Care Team will be there to talk through any further questions you have, including the cost of the surgery.
At Avery, our goal is to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge needed for you to feel empowered throughout the decision-making process, surgery and post-surgery.
Breast Asymmetry Correction Surgery will typically take between 1-3 hours depending on the nature of the procedure, and if surgery will be performed on one or both breasts. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and the patient may require surgical drains following surgery which are generally removed prior to leaving the hospital.
This surgery may involve a series of procedures that will vary between people. The techniques and surgeries will be determined by the patient and their goals. These are some of the potential procedures involved:
Breast reduction surgery involves a combination of skin and breast tissue removal and reshaping. The surgery aims to reduce the size and weight of large breasts by lifting the breasts off the lower chest and upper abdomen. The objective is to leave the breasts smaller and lighter, sitting higher on the chest and closer to the body.
Discover here what is involved in breast reduction surgery and how this surgical procedure can help to address physical limitations and discomfort.
Augmentation mammoplasty, commonly referred to as breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that aims to increase the size, shape, or fullness of the breast using implants. Individuals might consider this surgery when they want to restore their breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded breast shape or improve their natural breast size asymmetry.
Visit the breast augmentation surgery section to learn more about what to expect from this surgery.
A breast lift or mastopexy aims to create or restore fuller and firmer breasts by raising the breasts on the chest and reshaping them. Women who experience changes in the position or firmness and fullness of the breasts through the process of pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuation and ageing may benefit from a breast lift.
Get a deeper understanding of what is involved during breast lift surgery here.
Breast lift surgery with breast implants combines the benefits of breast augmentation surgery with a breast lift. The aim is to increase volume, shape and fullness (breast augmentation) while raising the position and altering the shape of the breast.
As with all surgical procedures, breast asymmetry correction surgery does have risks, despite the highest standards of practice. It is not usual for any surgeon to outline every possible side effect or rare complication of a surgical procedure. However, it is important that you have enough information about the most common risks to fully weigh up the benefits, risks, and limitations of surgery.
The following possible complications are listed to inform and not to alarm you. There may be other complications that are not listed. Smoking, obesity, and other significant medical problems will cause greater risk of complications.
Some general risks and possible complications of surgery include, but are not limited to the following:
- Heavy bleeding from an operated site. This may require a blood transfusion.
- Infection that may require treatment with antibiotics or further surgery in some cases.
- Allergic reaction to sutures, dressings or antiseptic solutions.
- The formation of a large blood clot (haematoma) beneath an incision site may require further surgery.
- Complications such as heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke may be caused by a blood clot, which can be life threatening.
- Pain, bruising and swelling around the operated site(s).
- Slow healing, often related to smoking or diabetes.
- Short-term nausea following general anaesthesia and other risks related to anaesthesia.
- Tissue cannot heal without scarring and that how one scars is dependent on individual genetic characteristics. Dr Avery will do his best to minimise scarring but cannot control its ultimate appearance.
- Smoking or using nicotine products during the 3–4-week pre-operative and post-operative periods is prohibited as these could dramatically increase the chances of complications.
- All medications I am currently taking, including prescriptions, over the counter remedies, herbal therapies and supplements, aspirin, and any other recreational drug or alcohol use can affect the safety of my surgery.
- There can be no guarantees about the results of any surgery.
Specific risks for breast asymmetry correction surgery would depend on the specific surgery that Dr Avery performs to correct breast asymmetry. These specific risks can be found under breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction.
The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) has further information about breast asymmetry correction surgery including the possible risks for this surgery.
Breast asymmetry can be performed as a day procedure or with a short hospital stay following surgery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery, up to 3 weeks off work may be recommended.
We encourage our patients to have another adult stay with them during the first night after surgery and have a person to drive you back home.
After breast asymmetry surgery, you will be required to wear a supportive surgical bra for 4–6 weeks to provide support and reduce post-operative pain or swelling, which generally subsides about two weeks after the surgery. After 6 weeks’ recovery you should be able to resume a normal level of physical activity.
A customised pain relief program will be created for you and issued before you leave the hospital. If your circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, we can adjust the pain medication accordingly.
The financial aspects of your surgery are as important as the medical elements when planning for surgery. At Avery, the surgeries we offer fall into three different financial categories: Self-funded – aesthetic surgery; self-funded – plastic and reconstructive surgery; and health insured – plastic and reconstructive surgery.
To make sense of these three financial categories, we have created a detailed price guide to help you understand what may or may not be covered by your health insurer/Medicare and your out of pocket expenses.
For more information or to book a consultation, please contact our team on 02 4002 4150.
FAQs (Please also refer to Breast Reduction, Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation)
It is possible to retain normal nipple sensation after surgery. Generally, the chance that there will be a change in nipple sensation increases with the extensiveness of the surgery. Some women may experience a reduced sensation in the nipples that can be temporary or permanent. They may also find their nipples hypersensitive for a short time after surgery. For further risks associated with this surgery, please visit the risks section in this service page.
All surgical procedures carry a risk of revision surgery. If required early, this may be to correct minor irregularities or issues with scars.
Following surgery for breast asymmetry, particularly if implants are used, the composition of each breast may be different and the change that each breast experiences with time may be different.
Breast implants also carry a risk of requiring surgery in the future. For these reasons, it is possible that further surgery may be required many years after initial breast asymmetry correction.
Typically, it is possible to breastfeed following breast augmentation when it is performed with an incision in the lower breast fold. Dr Avery generally uses this technique.
For most women, it is generally possible to breastfeed following breast reduction surgery. Typically, the nipple and areola will remain attached to the breast tissue maintaining the pathway from the milk-producing part of the gland to the milk ducts in the nipple.
Depending on your personal goals, we can either modify the size of one breast (breast reduction or augmentation) with the intention of matching the other breast or we can modify both to bring them to create symmetry.
There is no increased risk of breast cancer following breast surgery. A relatively new finding is a type of lymphoma known as BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). This is a rare condition associated with some types of implants. It will only be an extremely unlikely possibility for those patients who need implants to create breast symmetry.
Simply walking is advised and is recommended during the first 2 weeks after surgery. An increase in activity is encouraged between 2-6 weeks, limiting this increase based on how your body feels and responds. From 6 weeks you can be mostly unrestricted with exercise but it may not be until 12 weeks following surgery that you feel you are back to pre-surgery fitness, or even improved from your pre-surgery fitness if physical symptoms and restrictions have been addressed with surgery.
Pain following surgery will vary depending on the extent of surgery. Pain immediately after surgery may be reduced by the use of local anaesthetic at the surgical site given during the surgery. The pain will also be managed with tablets or injections as required. Physical measures such as the dressings and supportive garments as well as limited movement and possibly ice packs will all help minimise any pain. Pain is usually well tolerated within a few days after surgery with all these measures. If your pain is increasing following surgery this is usually a sign that you may need a review to ensure your recovery is proceeding as expected.
Dressings and supportive garments will offer support to the wounds and the areas of your body that are still recovering. You will be also be advised to restrict excessive movement of the surgical area in the first two weeks after surgery. A good general rule throughout your recovery is if an increase in movement or activity does not increase any discomfort or swelling, then it is probably safe and this gradual progression back to ‘normal’ will be encouraged.
Sun exposure can adversely impact early wound healing and have an adverse effect on the pigmentation and long-term quality of you scar(s). All scars should be protected from sun until they are mature, which may not be until one-year post-surgery. A spray tan is okay after a few weeks (once the wound is healed).
Typically, if your surgery is considered cosmetic in nature and does not have a related item number, private health insurance does not cover this surgery. If the surgery is being considered to address significant developmental differences, changes from previous trauma, or to relieve nasal obstruction, then a Medicare item number may apply to the surgery and there may be some cover of this procedure through private health insurance.
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Your initial consultation
During your initial consultation we welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation with you to understand the changes you are looking for with your surgery and talk through any concerns or specific goals you may have.
Your initial consultation will include an examination of the area of concern and we'll work with you to determine if plastic surgery can achieve what you hope it will, and which specific plastic surgery procedures will address your concerns and meet your expectations in a realistic way.