Breast Reduction Surgery

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Breast reduction surgery (reduction mammoplasty) is a common procedure minimizing the size of large breasts, which are not in proportion to the woman’s body. The oversized breast condition (breast hypertrophy) typically occurs in both breasts at puberty, or soon afterward. Sometimes, pregnancy-related breast enlargement persists indefinitely. Although rare, sudden onset of breast enlargement may also occur. No medical therapy exists for breast reduction. Specially designed bras can help relieve some of the discomfort, but they may also cause irritation to the shoulder area.


1. Who is considered a good candidate for breast reduction surgery?

This procedure is appropriate for women with large and disproportionate breasts who feel that these are already becoming painful and uncomfortable. Ideal candidates are women who are generally healthy and without any pre-existing diseases or disorders (e.g. clotting disorders). It is for women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Breast reduction surgery can also be done on mature males who have enlarged breast size due to a condition called gynecomastia.

2. Will a mammogram be necessary?

The need for a mammogram will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, most surgeons require a mammogram before surgery if the woman is found to have a family history of breast cancer.

3. How is breast reduction surgery performed?

Breast reduction surgery comes in two approaches. The liposuction technique and the manual removal. These can either be performed alone or in conjunction with the other for optimum results.

For the liposuction technique, the surgeon creates a small incision along the natural fold beneath the breast. This is usually situated on the outer side of each breast for a better aesthetic outcome once it heals. In some cases, the surgeon uses tumescent liposuction which uses lidocaine, saline, and epinephrine injected into the treatment area. This allows better removal of the fat tissues, while epinephrine prevents bleeding during the procedure.

In a manual removal, the surgeon will remove breast tissues. This will be more invasive and more likely to result in scars due to the incisions needed. However, it also allows the surgeon to be able to extensively remove breast tissue and properly reposition or shape the area.

The incisions will be closed with sutures, and in some cases, the surgeon may place temporary drains to prevent fluid build-up inside which could prolong the healing time.

4. What are the benefits of breast reduction surgery?

One of the primary reasons why women resort to breast reduction surgery is the discomfort they feel with large breasts. Having their breast size reduced can relieve back pain, neck pain, difficulty breathing, and skeletal problems. Reducing breast size also allows these women to be more active and fit better in their clothes.

5. Can this procedure correct breast asymmetry?

Yes, this procedure can make the size and shape of your breast more symmetrical. However, this will be decided during the consultation. In some cases, the placement of breast implants may already suffice to achieve breast symmetry.

6. What is recovery like after breast reduction surgery?

It is common to feel sore even days after surgery. Most women say that they found the pain to have lesser intensity than what they expected. The reason behind this is that the procedure only involves the soft tissue compared to the stretching of skin and muscles associated with breast augmentation. The recovery period for breast reduction surgery is also much faster than when you have implants put in. What is important is that you have to strictly wear compression garments so that your skin will follow your new form.

Scars are always a big possibility when there are incisions involved. However, there are techniques to ensure that you will have it less visible with his excellent skills and techniques. There are approaches to suit the specific needs of each patient to create an aesthetically pleasing result that has very minimal scarring.

7. Will I lose nipple sensation after surgery?

The loss of nipple sensation will depend on the extent of work done during reduction.  Some women may experience a change in nipple sensation, while others may notice numbness in the area. In women who have large and pendulous breasts, the procedure may require the removal of the entire nipple before the breast is repositioned. This will affect nipple sensation, and will even prevent a woman from breastfeeding ever again.

8. How long does the recovery time usually last?

Complete recovery will usually take around 4-6 weeks, but you can already return to your usual activities after a week or two. However, this will largely depend on how you follow post-operative instructions and follow-up appointments.

9. What are the possible complications?

Breast reduction surgery can leave you with pain and numbness at the site of surgery. Bruising is also a common side effect but this will resolve after a week or two. The build-up of fluid in the surgical area may also occur, but this can be avoided with the use of drains and compression garments. Itching on the site of the incision can also be bothersome, but it is normal especially as the wound heals.

This procedure may also leave you with uneven breast size or unevenly positioned nipples. These events are rare and highly avoidable most especially if you take the time to choose a good surgeon. A permanent loss of sensation on the nipples can also be a common complication due to the loss of blood supply after surgery. Infection is also a possibility but this can be easily avoided through proper surgical or aseptic technique and aftercare.

10. Are the results of breast reduction permanent?

Yes, breast reduction should provide permanent results. However, you should also be aware that the remaining fat cells could enlarge if you gain excess weight. Other factors can increase breast size even after surgery such as pregnancy or hormones (natural or synthetic). It is advised that you discuss these concerns with your surgeon so that potential adverse effects could be prevented.

11. When will I see the final results?

You will notice a change in breast volume after the procedure and this will even improve after a week. If you have experienced any physical pain associated with having large breasts, you may notice some relief once the swelling abates.

12. How much does breast reduction surgery cost?

The cost will depend on the extent of the surgery and the method used. This can only be decided on after a consultation is made because the surgeon would have to first assess your needs and goals, and then create a plan of action that is required to achieve this.

13. Is breast reduction covered by insurance?

As an elective procedure, breast reduction surgery is often not covered by insurance. However, some companies will consider it, especially if they find a good reason why it is medically necessary.

You will have to talk this through with your surgeon along with a thorough assessment of your case so that he can send a recommendation to your insurance company.