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Breast Reduction

Breast reductions are usually performed in people that suffer physical symptoms caused by excessive weight of their large breasts. A breast reduction can alleviate these symptoms as well as improve the size and shape of your breasts. A breast reduction usually results in a more proportioned body.

Reasons to Have Breast Reduction Surgery

Physical symptoms as well as aesthetically pleasing appearances are reasons why someone might desire a breast reduction. Candidates of breast reduction surgery may suffer from any of the following:

  • breasts that are too large for their body frame
  • heavy breasts with nipples and areolas that point down
  • disproportional breasts
  • back, neck, or shoulder pain caused by the weight of large breasts
  • indentations made in their shoulders from tight bra straps
  • restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of their breasts
  • dissatisfaction or self-consciousness about the largeness of their breasts

Plastic surgeons suggest waiting for breast development to totally stop before considering a breast reduction.

Consultation With a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

A consultation for breast reduction will entail communicating to the plastic surgeon what your desired breast size is. You should also include any other improvements you hope to achieve. The plastic surgeon can then tell you what is possible and what is not possible with a breast reduction. The plastic surgeon will examine your breasts to determine what methods might be the best option for you. At this time you will also be expected to discuss your medical history, and it is important to fully disclose any information as it can affect your surgery.


The plastic surgeon will determine the specific breast reduction technique that can reduce your breast size. The most common method used involved three incisions; one incision around the areola, another incision that runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast, and an incision that follows the natural curve of the breast crease.

Breast reduction involves removing the excess breast tissue, fat and skin, and then the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. Large breasts usually stretches out the areola so they must be reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sometimes liposuction will be used to improve the contour under the arm. The nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue to preserve sensation. The ability to breast-feed is also preserved when using this method, though not guaranteed.

In instances when a breast reduction is being performed on extremely large breasts, the nipples and areolas may need to be completely removed. A loss of sensation and the possibility to breast-feed may have to be decided to achieve the desired breast sizes. Some instances of breast reduction can also avoid certain incisions, which can be determined by your plastic surgeon.


Breast reduction is performed either on an outpatient basis or an inpatient basis. Normally a general anesthetic is administered and small drain tubes are placed in your breasts to help avoid the accumulation of fluids. The next day you are encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time and after a few days you will be able to move about more comfortably. Surgical drains will be removed a day or two after the surgery and you will have to wear a support bra for a few weeks until the swelling and discoloration of your breasts diminish. A temporary loss of sensation may occur in the nipple and areola area.

Expected Results

The results of a breasts reduction will be smaller and firmer breasts that will no longer have excessive weight attached to them. Incisions will heal and fade over time, but incision lines are more permanent in some individuals than in others. An adjustment period to feel comfortable in your new body could take time. Breast reduction surgery has amongst the highest levels of satisfaction than any other plastic surgery procedure.

Potential Complications

Significant complications associated with breast reductions are infrequent. Still, a potential complication may include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • reactions to anesthesia

A patient may need a blood transfusion during the operation, though this is rare. Since this can be anticipated the plastic surgeon may suggest donating your own blood in preparation for surgery under certain circumstances. Following guidelines given to you by your plastic surgeon can reduce risks.