Women who suffer from very large breasts often feel self-conscious and experience back, neck and shoulder problems, skin irritations, difficulty breathing, discomfort while exercising, and may even have bra indentations in their shoulders. Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is a good option for women whose breasts consistently cause them pain, produce skin irritations, or put them at risk for developing skeletal deformities.

In circumstances where the size of a woman's breasts cause significant pain or affect her health, breast reduction surgery might be covered by insurance.

If this describes your situation, breast reduction surgery may just be the answer for you. With one surgery, you can end years of discomfort, irritation and back and neck pain. Breast reduction surgery will not only eliminate some of your symptoms, but also give you more confidence in your appearance.

Breast reduction surgery reduces the size of large breasts by removing excess fat, breast tissue and skin, making them smaller, lighter and firmer. The breasts are also lifted and contoured to improve shape and symmetry; resulting in attractive breasts that fit your frame, and look natural. In some cases, the nipple and areola (dark skin around the nipple) will be repositioned, and the size of the areola will be reduced.

A breast reduction is generally considered to be a reconstructive procedure performed for physical relief rather than cosmetic improvement and is often covered by insurance; however, women may also seek breast reduction if they are self-conscious about the size of their breasts, or to correct breast symmetry (uneven size and shape). Breast reduction surgery is customized to meet the individual goals of each patient.

It is important to wait until your breasts are fully developed before undergoing breast reduction surgery.

Breast reduction procedure

Breast reduction surgery is an outpatient procedure with general anesthesia (you will be asleep during the procedure), and typically lasts between two to three hours depending on the extent of correction needed.

Incisions are generally made following the natural contour of the breast. Excess fat, breast tissue, and skin are removed from the sides and central portion of the breast, and if needed, the nipple and areola are repositioned. The size of the areola may also be reduced to better fit the size of the new breasts.

After incisions are stitched, covered with light dressings and a circumferential wrap, a shaping bra is fitted. The shaping bra holds the breasts symmetrically.


After breast reduction surgery, patients recover in the comfort of their own home. Bed rest is strongly suggested for the first day after surgery and limited activity recommended for the following two days. Patients will experience pain, bruising, swelling and tenderness for several days following the procedure, but this can be controlled with medication.

Within the week following a breast reduction, the light dressing is replaced with a soft bra, which should be worn for several weeks.

Patients are usually back to work or normal activity after a week, resume low-impact exercise after three weeks, and resume normal unrestricted activity after six weeks.

Scars will be noticeable around the areola, and extending vertically from the areola to the crease below the breast. Scarring usually becomes less noticeable over time.

Additional procedures

In many cases, patients undergoing breast reduction surgery will also benefit from liposuction to remove excess fat around the breast and underarm. This will enhance the overall contour of the new breasts. Talk to your plastic surgeon to learn more about this option.

Patients can expect to return to basic work activities in as little as seven to 10 days.

When thinking about breast reduction, consider Intermountain's plastic surgeons for their artistry, safety, and decades of experience.