Women who suffer from very large breasts may feel uncomfortable or 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.

When is breast reduction beneficial?

Breast reduction surgery is ideal for women whose breasts cause significant pain or affect her health. Breast reduction surgery reduces the size of large breasts by removing excess fat, breast tissue, and skin. In turn, this makes breasts smaller, lighter, and firmer. 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 uncomfortable with the size of their breasts, or to correct breast asymmetry (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.

How is a breast reduction performed?

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.

What results can I expect?

Breast reduction surgery results are normally long-lasting, helping relieve you from the pain and physical limitations experienced prior to the procedure. However, over time your breasts can change due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal factors, and gravity.

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 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, extending vertically from the areola to the crease below the breast. Scarring usually becomes less noticeable over time.

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. Intermountain Medical Group plastic surgeons can help patients better understand their breast reduction surgery options.

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.