Large breasts can negatively impact a woman both physically and emotionally, causing symptoms such as chronic back pain, rashes, poor posture, low self-esteem and restricted activity. Many women seek treatment to reduce the painful effects of their large breasts, while also improving their self-confidence and overall quality of life. Also known as reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery reduces the size of large, disproportionate breasts by removing excess fat, tissue and skin for a more desirable appearance and relief of physical and emotional symptoms.
During the breast reduction procedure, the surgeon makes either two circular incisions around the nipple or an anchor incision that circles the nipple and extends down the breast and along the breast crease. Fat and glandular tissue is then removed, while excess skin is tightened to produce a smaller, natural-looking breast. In some cases, the nipple and areola may need to be removed and then repositioned higher on the breast.
The results of a breast reduction are visible right away and will continue to improve as swelling and bruising subside. Scars will continue to fade over time, becoming less and less noticeable.
Breast Reduction FAQ
Am I a candidate for breast reduction surgery?
Women with large, disproportionate breasts who experience pain, discomfort, and embarrassment due to their breast size may be good candidates for breast reduction surgery. Ideal candidates for breast reduction are women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Although the procedure is generally recommended for mature women with fully developed breasts, breast reduction surgery can be performed on younger women if their breasts are causing serious pain and physical discomfort.
When can I expect to return to work and resume my normal daily activities?
After breast reduction surgery, it is often possible to return to work within just a couple of weeks, depending on your job. Many patients can resume most of their normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, within a few weeks as well. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but these feelings are normal.
How long will the results of breast reduction surgery last?
After breast reduction surgery, breasts will remain smaller than they would be if the procedure had never been performed. Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your breast size should remain fairly constant. However, the effects of aging and gravity may cause breasts to sag over time. If, after a period of years, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a breast lift procedure to restore their more youthful contour.
Will there be scarring?
The various techniques for breast reduction produce different types of possible scarring. Traditional breast reduction surgery will produce anchor-like scars that extend around the nipple, down the middle of the breast, and under the breast. Vertical incision breast reduction surgery creates shorter scars which also circle the nipple and extend vertically down the breast, but do not continue under the breast. Scarless breast reduction surgery typically only leaves minor, inconspicuous scars that are usually under the breast crease.
Avoiding breast reduction surgery because of possible scarring is ill-advised, since the benefits of a breast reduction usually outweigh the appearance of scars. Scars from breast reduction also tend to fade over time and can usually be hidden under bras, bathing suits, or a low cut top.
Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction?
There is a chance that breastfeeding may not be possible after breast reduction. The level of risk depends on the surgical technique used for the procedure.
- Traditional breast reduction surgery has the highest risk of affecting the ability to breastfeed. During this type of breast reduction, many of the milk ducts are removed, making it more difficult to breastfeed in the future.
- Vertical incision breast reduction surgery has a lower risk than traditional incisions since a portion of the nipple will remain connected to the milk ducts.
- Scarless breast reduction surgery has practically no risk of affecting breastfeeding because this breast reduction technique leaves the glandular and connective tissue largely untouched.
What are the major risks and complications of breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction surgery may have potential complications that are possible for all surgeries, including bleeding, infection, hematoma, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and scarring. Potential risks that are specific to breast reduction surgery include asymmetrical breasts, altered or loss of nipple and areola sensitivity, and the inability to breastfeed.