Breast Reduction

Having overly large breasts can be both physically and emotionally painful. Many women with large breasts suffer from chronic pain in their neck, shoulders and back, and struggle to participate in physical activities. Many also battle feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, shame and self-consciousness due to the unwanted attention their body receives. Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve smaller, lighter breasts that are a more proportionate size for your body.

Who can benefit from breast reduction surgery?

You may be ready to consider breast reduction surgery if:

  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too large
  • You experience back, neck or shoulder pain related to the weight of your breasts
  • You suffer from skin irritation under your breasts or indentations from your bra straps
  • Your breasts limit your physical activity
  • Your nipples sit below the breast crease
  • Your breast skin is stretched and your areolas are enlarged
  • You struggle to find clothing that fits
  • You have been teased or objectified due to your breast size
  • Your breast size causes emotional anguish or low self-esteem
  • You’re ready for an aesthetic change

What happens during breast reduction surgery?

Surgeons perform breast reduction surgery using a variety of different techniques. The optimal method for your procedure will be determined by your breast composition, the amount of reduction desired, your personal preferences and your surgeon’s professional advice. In most cases, incisions will be made on your breasts to allow for surgical removal of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin. The remaining breast tissue will be lifted and shaped. The nipple will be repositioned and, if necessary, the areola will be reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Liposuction is sometimes combined with surgical excision to remove additional fat. If the size of your breasts is primarily due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a factor, liposuction alone may be effective for breast reduction.

What can I expect during recovery?

The results of reduction mammaplasty are immediately visible. Dressings or bandages will be applied to protect the incisions, and a special surgical garment may be worn to reduce swelling and support the breasts as they heal. Expect to experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising after surgery, which can be alleviated with medication. Over time, postoperative swelling will subside and incision lines will fade. Most breast reduction patients resume their daily routines within one to two weeks after surgery. Additional rest time should be allowed before returning to more strenuous activities and exercise.

What results can breast reduction surgery achieve?

The cosmetic results of a breast reduction procedure are immediately visible after surgery. Relief from the physical symptoms of large breasts is also nearly immediate. Breast reduction is known for having a high rate of patient satisfaction thanks to its numerous aesthetic and lifestyle benefits, including:

  • Reducing or eliminating back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Restoring the breasts to a more lifted, youthful position
  • Alleviating skin irritation and shoulder indentations
  • Resizing the breasts to be in better proportion with your body frame
  • Reducing the size of enlarged areolas
  • Restoring the ability to exercise and perform physical activities comfortably
  • Gaining the ability to wear a wider range of clothing
  • Improving confidence and self-esteem

What risks are associated with breast reduction surgery?

Pregnancy after breast reduction can disrupt the results of the surgery, as can substantial weight fluctuations. If you intend to lose weight or have a child, it may be best to postpone breast reduction until a later date.

Many women can breastfeed after breast reduction, but it is not guaranteed. It’s not uncommon for some milk glands or ducts to be removed during the surgery. This can affect your body’s ability to produce and express milk. It’s important to discuss your future breastfeeding plans with your surgeon prior to the procedure.

Some reduction mammaplasty patients experience an increase or decrease in sensitivity. Changed sensations may return to normal over the weeks or months after surgery, but some degree of change may be permanent. If breast sensitivity is especially significant to you, tell your surgeon.

What procedures complement breast reduction surgery?

Some women find that breast reduction alone is not able to achieve their desired outcome. When breast size and breast sagging are both concerns, a treatment plan that combines a breast reduction with a breast lift may yield the best results. Breast reduction is also regularly performed as part of a mommy makeover for women who want to restore their figure after childbearing.

Will insurance cover breast reduction surgery?

Insurance companies typically cover procedures deemed “medically necessary” and do not cover procedures performed purely for cosmetic reasons. If you are seeking breast reduction to relieve back pain, skin irritation or other medical issues, your insurance provider may partially or completely cover the costs of the procedure. Document your symptoms as well as the attempts — such as physical therapy or chiropractic treatment — you’ve made to remedy the problems before undergoing surgery. You must build a compelling case that large breasts are diminishing your quality of life. Breast reduction performed solely to improve the appearance of the breasts will likely not be covered by insurance.

Is breast reduction surgery right for me?

If you are tired of the physical and emotional burden of excessively large breasts, breast reduction surgery can be a rewarding experience. You may be a candidate for reduction mammaplasty if your breasts are fully developed, you do not smoke, you are physically healthy and you have realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. Contact the Celestial Institute of Plastic Surgery at 734-844-5700 to schedule a consultation and learn more about breast reduction. We look forward to discussing options that can help you achieve a better, more comfortable life.