Guide to breast reduction surgery

Overview about breast reduction surgery
Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed to reduce the size of the breasts, and make them proportionate to the body. Here, excess skin and tissue are removed surgically from the breasts, and they are reshaped to give them a smaller appearance. Breast reduction can give an individual proportionate breasts that boost body image, increase self confidence and reduce the discomfort that women with large breasts typically encounter.

Eligibility for Breast Reduction Surgery
To be eligible for reduction mammaplasty, you should be in good physical condition. If you find that you experience frequent pain in the back, neck and shoulders, have indentations in your skin from your bra straps, or suffer from consistent skin irritation under your breasts, you may benefit from smaller breasts through a breast reduction surgery.

Your surgeon will enquire about your reasons for surgery as well as your expectations. He will look into your health history, including any previous surgeries, medications, alcohol intake, tobacco use and use of vitamins and other supplements. He will also inquire if you have a history of breast cancer in your family. He will ask to see the results of mammograms if you have had any. He will examine your breasts, and take measurements and photographs. Finally, he will evaluate your existing health conditions, and look into any risk factors or possible complications.

Preparing for Surgery
Before surgery, you will be asked to stop smoking, as well as avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications that increase the risk of bleeding. You will also be recommended for a mammogram before surgery. You will be asked to have lab tests done, and your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored.  Because breast reductions are done under general anesthesia, you will be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 6 hours prior to surgery.

Breast reduction surgery takes between 2 to 4 hours under general anesthesia. Incisions are made, and these can be in a circle around the areola, in a keyhole pattern that runs down to the crease or in an inverted T shape. Once the incision is made, the surgeon will reposition the nipple. He will then remove some breast tissue, and reshape it. Finally, the incisions are closed.

Post Surgery Care
You can expect bandages to be placed on the breast for support. These will be removed after a couple of days, but you will have to wear a surgical bra for at least 2 more weeks. Swelling and bruising are common, and last for at least 3 weeks. Sutures will dissolve in about 7 to 10 days, while non-dissolvable ones are removed 7 days post surgery. Scars may fade or lighten after many months. You will be prescribed painkillers to relieve the pain. If you suffer from high fever, or severe pain, seek emergency medical care immediately.


  • There may be excessive scaring.
  • The risk of infection is always present.
  • There may be complications from anesthesia.
  • Bleeding or blood clots may be seen.
  • There may be discoloration of the skin, and these may be permanent.
  • There may be asymmetry in the breast.
  • There may be alterations in breast or nipple sensation.
  • There may be even total or complete loss of the areola and the nipple.
  • There can be severe and persistent pain.
  • There can be accumulation of fluid in the wound.
  • There may be irregularities in the contours of the breast.
  • There may be cardiac and pulmonary complications.
  • Ability to breastfeed may be limited.
  • There can also be limitations in the kind of diagnostic procedures that can be performed after breast reduction surgery.

The results of reduction mammaplasty can last for long, although weight loss and gain, the natural ageing process, as well as gravity can affect the shape and size of your breast over time. If performed by a skilled surgeon, a breast reduction surgery can alleviate the pain and discomfort that you feel for a long period of time.