Breast Reduction

If you have disproportionately large breasts there are chances that it can lead to neck pain, back pain and other physical symptoms.  In that case breast reduction is a good option that one can reflect upon.  Majority of the women who undergo breast reduction surgery express satisfaction post procedure.  Through breast reduction women can ease the discomfort of having a large breast and achieve a breast size proportionate to their body.  Having said that it should be understood that breast reduction is not confined to females alone, men with conditions such as gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts) may also undergo surgical breast reduction. 

Breast reduction surgery is also known as reduction mammoplasty and in this procedure excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts are removed.  A breast reduction surgery may enhance your self-image and your ability to participate in physical activities,

If you are considering breast reduction surgery, consult a plastic surgeon.  As it is a major surgery, you are supposed to know what the surgery entails, potential complications and what is involved in recovery.  Above all, one should have realistic expectations regarding surgery.

Why it’s done?

Apart from large breasts, breast reduction surgery is meant for people who want to resolve issues such as:

  • Chronic back, neck and shoulder pain that requires pain medications
  • Chronic rash or skin irritation under the breasts
  • Nerve pain
  • Restricted activity
  • Poor self-image related to large breasts
  • Difficulty fitting into bras and clothing

You are not a candidate for breast reduction surgery if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have certain conditions such as diabetes or heart problems
  • Are very obese
  • Want to avoid scars on your breasts

Consulting a plastic surgeon

During your consultation with the surgeon, you will talk about your past medical history, especially if any lump removed from breast or if you suffer from any condition that affects your breasts.  Make sure you are fully open with the surgeon about your medical history and the reasons for seeking breast reduction.  Surgeon is likely to take photographs of your breasts, measure them and talk with you as to how much breast tissue needs to be taken off to achieve your goal.  Surgeon will also give you a clear idea as to the preparation and planning for the procedure.  You may get a mammogram and a thorough breast exam before the procedure.

Preparation for the procedure

As is the case of any other surgery, you need to be in the pink of health to ensure optimum recovery, so follow the instructions of the surgeon carefully before and after the surgery.  Getting your home ready before you leave for the hospital to have the surgery is a good idea.  Keep these things handy:

  • Plenty of ice
  • Gauze and clean washcloths and towels
  • Loose, comfortable T-shirts and blouses
  • Special ointments or creams as recommended by your surgeon for the incision sites

In the run up to the procedure, you will be sent for a complete lab tests.  Moreover, surgeon may request you to stop smoking for a stipulated period of time before and after the surgery.  You may also be asked to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs to control bleeding during surgery.

How it is done?

During the surgery, you will be put under general anesthesia.  A normal breast reduction surgery may last anywhere between two to five hours, it may go longer if it is a complicated one.  Your surgeon will make a cut around your nipple then downward on the breast in the form of a keyhole. The operating team will remove extra skin, tissue, and fat from your breasts and reposition your nipple. Your surgeon may use drainage tubes and then stitch up your breasts and wrap them in a special gauze. You may also need to wear a surgical bra.

Recovery period

Post surgery your breast will be tender, sensitive, swollen and bruised.  You may be given an elastic compression bra to protect the breasts.  Minimum one week off from school or work is required post surgery.  Some may need two weeks.  You should not engage in any strenuous physical activity one month post surgery.  It is normal to feel fatigue and pain after the surgery.

You will have to make visits to the surgeon as per schedule to get bandages and stitches removed.  Scarring will fade over time.


As you make progress in your rehabilitation after surgery, you can expect lessened pain in your upper back, neck and shoulders.  You will feel less tiresome to engage in physical activities.  There will be an overall improvement in your self-image.

You can feel visible difference in your breast post surgery, but it will take months for the swelling to completely subside.  Rest assured, the final result is permanent, though breast size and shape can change due to factors such as age, weight gain or loss.

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