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Is Breast Reduction Surgery Right For You?

If your breasts are too large for your frame and out of proportion with the rest of your body, you might want to look into breast reduction surgery. During breast reduction surgery, also called reduction mammoplasty, your plastic surgeon will remove excess breast fat, skin, and tissue to make your breasts smaller and a better […]

If your breasts are too large for your frame and out of proportion with the rest of your body, you might want to look into breast reduction surgery.

During breast reduction surgery, also called reduction mammoplasty, your plastic surgeon will remove excess breast fat, skin, and tissue to make your breasts smaller and a better fit for the size of your frame.

Are you a good candidate for breast reduction surgery?

Breasts that are too large for you can inhibit or limit your physical activity and your ability to enjoy exercise and sports. They can seem a burden and their weight can cause physical irritation, discomfort, and back pain. Some women have suffered from overly large breasts since their early teen years. Having those breasts reduced in size can be a huge relief.

When breast reduction surgery may be right for you

  • You are healthy enough to have surgery
  • You are bothered by the large size of your breasts
  • The size of your breasts limits your ability to engage in sports and exercise
  • Your breast size limits or gets in the way of normal physical activity
  • The weight of your breasts has caused shoulder, neck, or back pain
  • The shoulder straps of your bra leave indentations in the skin
  • You sometimes get a rash or irritation beneath the breast creases
  • The size of your breasts makes it difficult to buy clothes
  • Your breasts interfere with your getting a good night’s sleep

Deciding on breast reduction surgery and your breast reduction surgeon

When deciding on breast reduction, you must first and foremost take care in choosing your plastic surgeon. Board certification is a must. You must also like and get along with the doctor and trust in his/her technical skills and aesthetic sensibilities. Feel free to ask to see breast reduction before and after pictures the surgeon has performed and ask about his experience.

The discussion you have with your plastic surgeon about your breast reduction should be a two-way street. You will need to be prepared to discuss your general health and the reasons you’re exploring the option of a reduction mammoplasty. The plastic surgeon will tell you about the procedure and the results you can expect.

Some questions covered in your breast reduction consultation will likely be:

  • Your general health
  • Any medical conditions you have
  • Drug allergies and current medications you’re taking
  • Previous surgeries
  • Any nutritional supplements, herbs, hormones or vitamins you’re currently taking
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Family medical history, including breast cancer
  • Results of previous mammograms
  • Why you want the breast reduction surgery and how you imagine the outcome

Your plastic surgeon will also:

Evaluate your health, including any pre-existing health factors that could cause a risk

  • Examine and measure your breasts
  • Take photographs for your medical record
  • Discuss your treatment options, including risks and benefits of surgery
  • Discuss likely outcomes from your breast reduction procedure
  • Go over the anesthesia to be used during surgery

Breast reduction surgery procedure

As is the case with any plastic surgery, the first step in breast reduction is a thorough consultation with your surgeon. Here, all your questions will be answered and measurements taken. Together, you will decide on the ultimate size and shape that will be the right fit for your body.

On the day of the procedure, you will be prepped for surgery and your surgeon will measure and mark your breasts with a surgical pen. This may seem odd, but delineating the design plan this way acts as a guide for the surgeon when your breasts change shape depending on the position of your body during the procedure.

Your breast reduction surgery will more than likely be performed on an outpatient basis. After the initial preparation has been concluded, you will be placed under anesthesia.

The reduction mammoplasty takes about three to five hours. The surgeon makes an incision around the nipple and then down the breast, in the shape of a keyhole. The excess tissue, fat, and skin are cut away and your nipple is relocated for the best cosmetic positioning. As a nice benefit, a breast lift is usually a standard part of a breast reduction procedure. Your breasts will be smaller and perkier!

To help with your recovery, the surgeon may place small, thin, drainage tubes in the incision site before it is closed with sutures. The breasts are then wrapped in surgical gauze. Some patients will be instructed to wear a specially designed supportive bra after the procedure as an additional aid to the healing process.

You will need to have someone to drive you home after your post-surgical recovery at the center.

Recovering from breast reduction

You should plan to take a week off after your breast reduction surgery; more if your job or other activities are physically strenuous. Your plastic surgeon or a nurse from your surgical team will give you specific instructions regarding your breast reduction recovery. These will include:

  • General instructions on how to care for your breasts following surgery
  • Medications to apply to the breast or take orally to aid healing and reduce the chance of infection
  • Special signs to watch out for at the site of the surgery and in your general health

When to follow up with your plastic surgeon

You will also be told what to expect during the healing process and when you should plan to return to your normal activities.

Your follow-up appointments are an important part of your recovery. Your plastic surgeon will check on how you’re doing, make sure healing is going according to plan and remove any drains, bandages, and sutures. The surgeon will also give you any additional instructions about your after-care and recovery and will advise you on when you can resume physical activities.

Women who have suffered from the ill-effects of overly-large breasts, feel lighter, happier, and more comfortable after their breast reduction procedure. Their breasts look shapelier and better as they are now in better proportion to the rest of the body.

Breast reduction surgery – costs and insurance coverage

The cost of breast reduction surgery varies widely among geographical locations, surgeons, and practices. In certain circumstances, a reduction mammoplasty may be covered by insurance and some practices offer financing plans.

A breast reduction procedure involves many different specialists and other technical equipment and specialties including:

  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Anesthesiologist Fees
  • Various post-surgery garments to aid in healing
  • Prescription medications
  • The plastic surgeon’s fee

If your health insurance plan covers breast reduction surgery, your plastic surgeon’s office will need to obtain authorization before scheduling the surgery. This may involve submitting photographs and other medical details.

If you have been bothered by breasts that seem too large and are causing you discomfort or getting in the way of your enjoyment of life, give us a call. We’d love to discuss how a breast reduction might work for you.


This information is for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Any change in your medical care should be first discussed with your physician.