Breast reduction surgery is performed to reduce discomfort and achieve a desired breast size and shape by removing excess breast tissue and skin. 

By lifting and reducing the size of the breasts, a breast reduction can help alleviate the neck and back pain, skin irritation and sweating associated with disproportionately large breasts.

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Also known as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue and skin to achieve a desired breast size and to alleviate discomfort. The procedure takes approximately three to four hours and aims to preserve nipple sensitivity.

Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?

Most doctors prefer to wait until after a woman's breasts are fully developed — around 18 or 19 years of age - before performing this procedure.

For some women a cosmetic breast lift, not a breast reduction, is all that is needed to improve their breast shape and appearance. Realistic surgical goals are determined based on your desired outcome during a pre-operative consultation.

Men with over-development of breast tissue have a condition called gynecomastia. The surgery to correct this condition is considered a cosmetic procedure.

Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery

In preparation for your procedure, realistic surgical goals are determined based on each person's individual desired outcome during a pre-operative consultation.

To help prepare for a breast reduction your surgeon may:

  • Order a mammogram, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer
  • If you smoke, advise you to stop smoking before surgery and during the recovery process
  • Discontinue certain drugs and medications such as aspirin and other blood thinners
It's a good idea to make plans for your recovery as part of the preparation process. You will need a ride home from surgery and may need assistance with daily activities for the first few days.

It is important to know that not all breast reductions are covered by medical insurance. Some women who have been turned down by their insurance carrier elect to pay for the procedure out of their own pocket.

Breast Reduction Risks and Outcomes

All surgery has risks, but you can help prevent complications by carefully following all pre- and post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon.

The most common post-surgical problems are infections and scarring. Each complication, when identified and treated early, can be managed successfully.

Women who plan to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery may produce less milk. Changes in the breasts during pregnancy or as a result of weight fluctuations can alter the results of a previous breast reduction surgery.

Breast Reduction Recovery

Breast reduction patients can expect to spend the night in the hospital or may be required to have a post-operative office visit the day after surgery.

Following surgery, the typical patient has a permanent "lollipop" shaped scar around the nipple with a straight line down toward the crease under the breast. Initially, the scars will be red but will gradually fade over a 10 to 12 month period.

You will be prescribed medications to manage the swelling and pain. Some pain or discomfort may last for one to two weeks. You should avoid any form of heavy lifting or straining and take sufficient time off from work and other responsibilities to allow for a full recovery.

Next Steps

To schedule a consultation call 800-789-7366 or request an appointment online.

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