What is a breast reduction?

Medically termed reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction surgery can reduce the size of overly large breasts, as well as reshaping them.

What does a breast reduction improve?

Overly large breasts can cause strain to the neck, shoulders and back.

Breast reduction surgery can:

  • Reduce pain from the strain of large breasts.
  • Create a size that is proportionate to the rest of the body.
  • Raise and reshape the breasts.

How is the procedure performed?

A breast reduction requires anesthesia, and is an outpatient procedure. Incisions are often made inconspicuously under the breast and around the nipple and areola. In many cases, a vertical incision from the nipple to the breast crease is required. Excess fat, glandular tissue and skin are then removed. Remaining breast tissue is reshaped. In some cases, the nipple and areola are removed and transplanted into a higher position, a procedure called a free nipple graft.

What are the risks?

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Infection
  • Bleeding/Blood clotting issues
  • Change in sensation
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Pain
  • Partial or total loss of areola
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac or pulmonary complications
  • Fat necrosis (when fatty tissue found deep in the skin dies)
  • Potential inability to breast feed
  • Potential damage to skin and underlying tissue
  • Unsatisfactory results

What can be expected after the surgery?

Will I have bandages/drainage tubes?
Dressings and bandages are applied to incisions, and an elastic bandage or support bra may be required to reduce swelling during the healing process. Also, a drainage tube may be used to drain excess fluid.

How soon until I can return to work?
Every patient is different. Heed the surgeon's advice about when to return to work and resume your typical activities following surgery.

How soon until I see results?
It could take weeks to reach final results, after the swelling subsides. Incision scarring could take several months or longer to fade.

Is a breast reduction covered by insurance?

Breast reduction surgery is sometimes covered by insurance companies, depending on each company's policy and the reasons for the surgery.