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Lollipop Technique for Breast Reduction at Lenox Hill Hospital

March 14, 2003

For most of the approximately 100,000 women who will undergo breast-reduction surgery this year, the decision to reduce the size of their breasts has more to do with pain relief than with vanity.

Woman with large breasts often experience headaches, neck pain, upper- and lower-back pain and numbness or tingling in the fingers. Bra-strap grooving, caused by the weight of the breasts, may leave permanent scars on the back or shoulders. Severe rashes beneath the breasts can also occur, especially during warm weather. Large breasts can also interfere with fitness activities such as running.

Conventional methods of breast reduction surgery, technically known as reduction mammoplasty, typically require a long incision often results in a thick scar in the fold under the breast. To both minimize scarring and achieve a better shape, Lenox Hill Hospital plastic surgeon George J. Beraka, MD, performs Vertical Breast Reduction - also known as the "lollipop technique", using a fine incision that circles the nipple and then extends down vertically below the nipple, in the shape of a lollipop.

In this procedure, the surgeon completely eliminates the long, horizontal incision under the breast that is used in conventional breast reduction surgery by gathering the excess skin with short, fine sutures. Over time, the skin shrinks to the required length.

"Historically, scarring has been considered a trade-off in breast reduction surgery, but that's not true with the lollipop technique," says Dr. Beraka. "With this technique, the scarring fades over time."

"Other methods often remove the upper breast tissue that should be left intact, and leaves intact the breast tissue that should be removed," Dr. Beraka explains. "The lollipop method allows us to be more selective when removing tissue and results in a fuller, more youthful shape that will be retained for the long term."

Women who have undergone breast reduction report it has allowed them to take part in more physical and social activities, which improved their health and their quality of life.

Members of the press seeking information about Lenox Hill Hospital should call the Public Relations Department at (212) 434-2400