Breast Reduction Surgery: What you need to know

Although society’s perceived image of female beauty is often associated with larger breasts, in many cases, bigger is not always better. Beauty is defined by shape and proportion. Regardless of aesthetic considerations, the physical and emotional cost of large, heavy breasts can be substantial.

Women with large breasts may experience:

  • Severe back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Painful indentations (from bras)
  • Skin irritation
  • Posture problems
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Self-consciousness

In terms of aesthetic considerations, breast reductions address:

  • Breasts that are too large for the body frame
  • Breasts that sag
  • Different sizes between breasts
  • Nipples and areolas that point downward

At The Plastic Surgery Center, our expertise is unique. Our award-winning, board-certified surgeons are distinguished by their outstanding training and world-renowned reputation. Among them, our team has more than 70 years of combined experience performing cosmetic surgery procedures, including breast reduction.

Our rates of surgical successes exceed those of national standards and are attributed to the experience and skill of our team of plastic surgeons.

Breast reduction surgery benefits from having the highest satisfaction rate of any cosmetic surgery procedure. It is estimated that 80 to 95 percent of patients are happy with their results. Those who are good candidates for this surgery are in generally good physical and mental health, and realistic expectations for the outcome.

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

The technical diagnosis of overly large breasts is called breast hypertrophy. Other terms for this condition, used interchangeably, are macromastia and gigantomastia.

Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, removes excess fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts to achieve a more proportionate breast size and to alleviate the physical and emotional problems associated with overly large breasts.

The surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes between two and five hours. Before surgery, the surgeon marks the incision locations. The size and exact locations of those incisions depend on breast size, how much sagging there is and the position of the nipple-areola.

During the surgery, excess breast skin and fat will be removed; the amount depends on the desired breast size. For asymmetrical (or uneven) breasts, the surgeon will compensate by removing more tissue from the larger breast.

The breasts will then be reshaped using the remaining fat and skin, and the nipple-areola will be moved to a higher position. As in some other cosmetic procedures, drains are placed in the breasts to remove excess fluids. Breast incisions are then closed with sutures, a process done for the various layers of tissue. The drains and stitches from the surgery are removed at the first follow-up appointment, (usually about a week to ten days after surgery).

Breast Reduction with Lift

With the exception of a liposuction-only procedure, breast reduction surgery is always done in conjunction with a breast lift (mastopexy). A breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. Breast lifts are an extremely popular procedure, showing the greatest increase (up 89 percent) in all lift surgeries performed in 2016, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

What to Expect Post Surgery

Immediately following the surgery, patients may feel some pain or discomfort, but this can be addressed with medication. As with any surgery, there may be swelling. After the initial swelling goes down, the breast swelling can remain for some weeks or even months. This can be remedied by drinking plenty of water, limiting sodium intake and engaging in movement and activity, such as walking. Also common are itching near incision sites, sensitivity and sometimes bruising—all of which also subside over time.

Initially, sponge baths are prescribed for bathing, and sleeping should be supplemented by pillows placed strategically to keep the upper body elevated, and thus to avoid pressure on the surgical areas.

Keeping activity level light is recommended to prevent swelling and blood clots. However, exercising or strenuous activity should be avoided for up to a month. Range of motion, such as raising the arms over the head, takes time, with full mobility expected between six to ten weeks. Within six months, a full return to normal activities should be possible. It should be emphasized, however, that each person has her own healing timeframe. It is important to allow sufficient healing time and to realize the benefits of this surgery when the body completely recovers.

Many women are concerned about scarring after having breast reduction. Scars are a fact of surgery, even cosmetic surgery, regardless of the skill of your surgeon. Making an incision, which typically requires cutting through all of the layers of the skin, can result in scarring, regardless of where on the body surgery is performed.

While scarring can be controlled to a degree by the expertise of the surgeon, and placement of scars is done with consideration of how they are concealed in natural breast contours, some scars are on the breast surface.

The length of those scars depends on the amount of skin reduced, and the work done on the nipple-areola area. In addition, each individual has her own pattern of scar healing and visibility. In most cases, breast reduction scars fade over time and continue to fade even years following the surgery.

Be assured, however, that an experienced plastic surgeon utilizes the best possible techniques to hide and minimize scars, and can also advise patients on self-care for scars to promote healing.

Cost of Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery costs can vary widely, depending on the type of procedure and the geographic location of where the surgery is done. At The Plastic Surgery Center, we offer a free cosmetic consultation to review the procedure and assess the cost. Our expert staff also has information regarding financing plans.

The true measure of this or any surgery is the impact it can have on the lives of those who undergo it. At The Plastic Surgery Center, we are proud and gratified by the response of our patients. Read just a few examples of our patient testimonials below:

Words can’t express how I feel about my surgery, both physically and mentally. I was a 38 DDD before my surgery, and now after, I can say I’m a 36 C, which is perfect for me. I would recommend Dr. Patel to anyone out there because he is a highly experienced knowledgeable and very straightforward surgeon.

Patient of Tushar Patel, MD, FACS

I have had shoulder problems for years. Dr. Kaufman performed a breast reduction and did an excellent job. He also did work on my face and neck. I look about ten years younger. I highly recommend him.

Patient of Matthew Kaufman, MD, FACS

I couldn’t have chosen a better surgeon.

After having three bilateral Phyllodes Tumors removed from my breasts, I experienced a random growth spurt over the course of a year. No physician could diagnose the cause as I had grown to be a G cup. I was self-conscious and uncomfortable, to say the least.

Dr. Kaufman had been highly recommended to me and after speaking with him and his staff, I knew I was in great hands. Dr. Kaufman performed a breast reduction and a lift; the results are amazing!

Dr. Kaufman is an incredible surgeon and I have and will continue to, highly recommend him to everyone.
Jodi Franklin

Patient of Matthew Kaufman, MD, FACS

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