What is breast reduction?

Breast reduction (known as reduction mammoplasty) is a surgical procedure performed to remove excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue of the breasts, while at the same time reshaping and lifting the breasts and repositioning the nipples. This achieves an improved appearance of the breasts proportional to the rest of the body and helps to alleviate discomfort and other medical problems related to excessively large breasts (also known as macromastia).

What are the benefits of breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery can provide medical as well as aesthetic and psychological benefits to women who suffer with excessively large breasts.

By reducing the burden of excess breast weight and lessening the constant skin on skin contact at the breast folds, breast reduction surgery can improve the following medical problems:

  • Poor posture and related skeletal deformities over time (from forward pulling weight of breasts).
  • Neck, shoulder, and/or back pain
  • Skin rashes or irritations within the breast folds
  • Deep, tender grooves over the shoulders due to pressure from bra straps.
  • Difficulty performing physical activities and sports due to discomfort.

Having smaller and lighter breasts may also facilitate improved ability to exercise for some women and help with overall health.

Many women and teenage girls may also be self-conscious due to unusually large and/or sagging breasts. It may also be difficult for them to find proper fitting clothes due to the disproportionate breast size. Therefore, many women find significant emotional benefits and improved self-esteem with reduction and reshaping of the breasts.

Am I a good candidate for breast reduction?

Breast reduction can be performed on women of any age (including teenagers in some cases) who have excessively large breasts.

Good candidates for this surgery generally have one or more of the following problems they want to address:

  • Longstanding neck, back, and/or shoulder pain related to heavy breasts
  • Poor posture related to forward pulling weight of large breasts
  • Frequent skin rashes or irritations at breast folds.
  • Limitations of physical activities or sports due to breast discomfort.
  • Difficulty fitting into clothing due to disproportionate breast size
  • Self-consciousness or social embarrassment due large breast size.

In addition, good candidates for breast reduction should be healthy enough to undergo surgery and anesthesia. They should not be smoking, or should be willing to quit smoking for several weeks before and after surgery. Also, as with good candidates for any surgery, they should have realistic expectations of the surgical result.

How is a breast reduction performed?

Breast reduction is typically an outpatient procedure performed in an operating room under general anesthesia. During the surgery, excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue of the breasts are removed. The remaining skin and tissue are carefully rearranged to improve the shape of the breasts, along with lifting of the breasts and optimal positioning of the nipples. Most of the tissue removed is from lower parts of the breast, preserving more of the upper breast tissues for optimal cleavage. Excessively widened areolas can also be reduced in size.

Different surgical techniques are used by our surgeons, such as the vertical or wise pattern approaches, depending on the amount of skin, fat, and breast tissue that needs to be reduced and amount of adjustment needed in the height of the nipples. Whenever possible, our surgeons use limited-incision techniques, such as the vertical approach, to minimize scarring. This method leaves a scar only around the areola and down the lower middle of the breast to the fold (sometimes called the “lollipop” incision). Some women who require more extensive reduction of breast tissue and skin may need the wise pattern approach to achieve the best results. With this method, there are incisions which are closed both vertically and also horizontally across the breast fold (sometimes called the “anchor” incision). Most, if not all, the stitches used to close the incisions are placed internally and dissolve on their own. The procedure generally takes two to three hours to complete, depending on the technique used.

Dressings and a surgical bra are placed to optimally support the breasts postoperatively. After surgery, patients arrive in the recovery room, where they rest for a couple of hours, as the anesthetic effects wear off. They are generally able to return home on the same day after surgery, accompanied by a family member or friend.

What is breast reduction recovery like?

Our patients are provided clear, simple instructions on daily dressing care to the surgical incisions. They are encouraged to wear a surgical bra postoperatively, which can usually be transitioned to a sports bra without underwire after a few weeks. As with any soft tissue surgery, some discomfort is normal during the first 1 to 2 weeks; medication may be prescribed to help with this. After the initial couple of days, our patients can expect to feel better each day. Some swelling and bruising is also normal after breast reduction, but this subsides over a couple of weeks. Most routine daily activities at home, school, and/or work can typically be resumed within 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Our patients are encouraged to avoid intense exercise or other strenuous activity until the surgical sites are more completely healed, typically 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. Our surgeons schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor recovery and to confirm good healing.

What will the scar look like?

A scar results from any surgical procedure in which an incision in made on the body. Depending on the breast reduction technique chosen, the scar line may be just around the areola and vertically down the breast to the fold (“lollilop” scar), or it may include this scar line combined with a horizontal scar line across the breast fold (“anchor” scar). Our plastic surgeons are highly committed to minimizing scar appearance. In planning before surgery, they consider limited-incision techniques whenever possible, and take careful measures to mark incisions in such a way as to hide them under a bra and other pieces of clothing. During surgery, they pay close attention to proper tension-free closure of the incisions, which leads to improved healing. And following surgery, our surgeons guide patients on optimal scar care products and methods to help achieve minimal visibility of the scar over time. The overall satisfaction of most women with the outcome of breast reduction is very high, regardless of the surgical technique chosen, and tends to significantly outweigh any concerns about scarring.

Will I still be able to breastfeed?

In general, the majority of women who are otherwise able to breast feed before breast reduction surgery are able to do so after the surgery. The potential impact of surgery on future breastfeeding ability depends to some degree on the techniques used. Surgical approaches which cause the least changes in the milk ducts and related tissues are most likely to preserve ability for lactation. During your consultation, we welcome you to discuss with any of our surgeons your specific goals in regards to breastfeeding, so that the surgical plan can be tailored to best meet these goals.

Will my breasts also be lifted during a reduction?

Most women who have excessively large breasts (macromastia) also tend to have some degree of breast sagging (ptosis). The surgery for breast reduction involves not only removal of the extra volume of breast tissue but also rearrangement of some of the remaining tissues, which allows improvement in breast shape and in most cases lifting of the breasts as well as upward movement of the nipples.

Will insurance cover by breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery may be covered by insurance for some women, depending on the clinical symptoms and signs related to the enlarged breasts and the anticipated volume of breast reduction. In other cases, in which the surgery is considered cosmetic, insurance does not cover. In such instances, our office offers a variety of payment and financing options to make access to this procedure easier for women.

Are there good nonsurgical options for breast reduction?

In some limited cases, a small reduction of breast size may be seen through diet and exercise, when enlarged breasts are mainly related to increased fatty tissue as opposed to glandular tissue. Occasionally, liposuction may be an option to reduce fat from the breasts. However, for the vast majority of women, surgery remains the most effective approach for reduction of breast size as well as for achieving improved overall breast shape and nipple position.

Click Here to view Breast Reduction Before and After Photos

Why should I have my breast reduction performed at Samra Plastic Surgery?

Our highly skilled and caring plastic surgeons have many years of extensive experience in performing breast reduction surgery and are attuned to the specific needs and wishes of women seeking this procedure. Our staff is also dedicated to providing you with a welcoming and comfortable experience before and after surgery.

Contact us to set up a personal or virtual consultation today

If you are interested in more information or seek evaluation for breast reduction surgery, please contact us today at (732) 739-2100 to schedule a personal or virtual consultation with one of our expert plastic surgeons.


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