Large, heavy breasts can literally be a pain in the neck. They may interfere with daily life, leading to health complications such as:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Skin irritation, such as rashes
- Excess sweating
Also called a reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue and skin in order to decrease the size and improve the shape of large breasts.
The surgery takes three to four hours, and aims to preserve nipple sensitivity. In some cases, women only need a breast lift, not a full reduction. Your surgeon will discuss the best options to help you reach your goals.
The Penn Experience
What to expect before, during and after breast reduction surgery
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will talk with you about your unique breast transformation goals, as well as the steps involved in the procedure.
You’ll receive instructions on how to prepare for your surgery, including any foods, drinks and medications to avoid. Your surgeon also may order a mammogram for you, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer.
After your surgery, you will either spend the night in the hospital or you may have to return for a post-operative office visit the very next day. Medications will help manage any discomfort, which may last for one to two weeks. Your surgeon and care team will talk about what you can and can’t do, but in general, you’ll want to avoid heavy lifting or straining and take time off of work to allow for a full recovery.
Breast reduction cost and insurance
Please note that not all health insurance plans cover breast reductions. However, our care team will do everything possible to work with your insurance company to ensure that your breast reduction is covered. Additionally, our team will guide you in any additional paperwork you may need to provide to help you gain coverage.
Breast reduction cost varies based on your specific treatment goals and other services you may also undergo. Your surgeon will discuss the cost of your breast reduction with you during your consultation.
Breast reduction risks
All surgeries come with a risk of complications, even though breast reduction surgery itself is typically very safe. Your surgeon and care team will check in with you throughout the healing process and are always available to answer any of your concerns.
The most common complications of breast reduction surgery involve infections and scarring. Most patients have a “lollipop” shaped scar that circles the nipple and includes a straight line down to the crease under the breast, or an "anchor" shaped scar along the fold under the breast. The scar will be red at first but fade over the next year. Your care team can help manage any other complications successfully, especially when identified and treated early.
Your surgeon will provide you with detailed pre- and post-surgery instructions to greatly reduce any potential complications. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your recovery process or contact our team with your concerns.