Do you have disproportionately large breasts that cause you not only a decrease self-esteem, but physical pain as well? Do you have indentations in your shoulders from the weight of your bra straps? Frequent headaches or rashes underneath your breasts? If so, breast reduction surgery may be right for you. Weight caused by excessive breast tissue can lead to conditions that interfere with a woman’s ability to lead an active lifestyle or prevent her from fitting properly into clothing.
Breast reduction surgery removes excessive breast and glandular tissue, as well as the resulting extra skin in order to achieve a breast size that is more in proportion with your body frame. This generally alleviates back and neck pain associated with the weight of the breasts prior to surgery.
Good Candidates for Breast Reduction
- A non-smoker
- Generally healthy, with a stable weight
- Female (see the Gynecomastia page for information on Male Breast Reduction)
- At least 6 months post-partum
- Has disproportionately large breasts that cause physical pain
A Breast Reduction is a surgical procedure to decrease the size of the breasts, by removing excess tissue and skin and then tightening the remaining portion of the breast. The nerve and blood supply to the nipples are repositioned and most often kept in tact. Areolas may also be reduced at this time.
Breast reduction is an outpatient surgery that takes place in a hospital setting under general anesthesia and takes about 3 hours. The incision line is circular around the areola, down the front of the breast, and sometimes horizontally across the base of the breast. Scars are easily covered by a bra or bathing suit.
Most patients take 1-2 weeks off of work. You will be prescribed narcotic pain medication to help ease your discomfort after surgery. Heavy lifting is limited, as are vigorous work-outs for the first several weeks.
Any external stitches are removed after about 7-10 days. A supportive type of snug sports bra will be worn for approximately 6 weeks following your surgery. You may resume all regular activities after that time. Incision lines generally fade over 8-12 months and become less noticeable during that time.
Breast reduction surgery is usually considered reconstructive in nature and may be covered by your health insurance provider if you meet certain medical criteria. Breast reduction surgery may interfere with the ability to breast feed, and changes that naturally happen during pregnancy can alter the outcome of the previous breast surgery.
Results of your breast reduction will continue to improve over several months, as the breast shape and position settle, however, substantial weight fluctuation will alter your otherwise lasting result.