Breast reduction is a procedure to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to reduce the size of the breast to be more in proportion with your body and to alleviate discomfort that can be caused by excessively large breasts (back/neck/shoulder pain).
Although breast reduction is often performed to address medical issues, patients who do not have the symptoms of macromastia but who are unhappy with the size of their breasts can still pursue breast reduction as an aesthetic procedure.
What benefits can a breast reduction give me?
A breast reduction can:
- Eliminate back/neck/shoulder pain or other physical discomfort
- Increase wardrobe choices
- Provide an enhanced self-image that boosts self-confidence
What happens during a breast reduction procedure?
Breast reductions are typically an outpatient procedure that can be conducted in a day. Breast reductions are performed under general anesthesia and the procedure usually takes between 2 and 3 hours.
Incision options vary based on the extent and type of your reduction, and may include:
- A circular pattern around the areola
- A keyhole or racquet-shaped pattern with an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
- An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern
After the incision is made, the nipple is re-positioned and the areola size is reduced, if necessary. Then the underlying breast tissue is reduced, lifted and shaped.
The incisions are brought together to reshape the now smaller breast, sutures are used to create and support the newly shaped breasts and the surgical site is closed.
Incision lines made during breast reduction surgery are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time and are often well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra.
What should I expect during recovery?
It is normal to experience soreness, swelling and bruising at the operation site. You’ll need to wear an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal. Drainage tubes may be used to drain out any excess fluid and blood for a few days. Physical activities must be limited to prevent complications, and any sign of infection must be reported to the surgeon immediately.
Is a breast reduction right for me?
To determine whether or not a breast reduction is the right procedure for you, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. During your visit, your doctor will speak with you about the goals you have for your appearance, however if the procedure is covered by insurance a certain amount of tissue may need to be taken resulting in a smaller than desired breast. In addition to deciding on your treatment plan, your doctor will also ask you about your medical history. Bring a list of medications, supplements and vitamins you take, and have a list prepared of the questions or concerns you may have, as being open with our specialists is key to a safe and successful surgery.
Read more about breast reduction surgery from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.