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Breast reduction surgery, also known as “reduction mammaplasty,” is a procedure designed to relieve the stress of excess breast weight for females by reducing the size of the breasts. Many women with excessively large and heavy breasts experience pain in their necks and backs, difficulty performing routine activities or exercise, and frustration with fitting into certain styles of clothing.

Although breast reduction is most often performed after development has completed, adolescents with special circumstances may be considered candidates for a breast reduction. For patients who are losing weight, it is recommended that they are at a healthy weight and near their goal weight before having the surgery.

Breast reduction surgery typically takes several hours to complete. Most often, Dr. Lickstein will make an incision around the nipple and areola that extends down the front of the breast vertically and into the fold under the breast, similar to an anchor or upside down letter T. In most cases, the nipple remains intact and affixed to the underlying tissue, preserving the normal sensitivity. After excess tissue is excised, the breast and nipple are lifted and reshaped. The areola is typically reduced in size. Breast feeding may be possible after breast reduction.

The Benefits of Breast Reduction

Clothing Fits Better

Many styles of clothing do not cater to a larger bust line. A breast reduction will create a more balanced hourglass shape that will boost a woman’s confidence both in and out of the fitting room.

Reduces Back Pain

Heavy breasts can cause back pain and indentations in the shoulders from bra straps. This procedure will reduce the weight of overly large breasts and eliminate the associated discomfort and pain.

Improves Physical Ability

Large, heavy breasts often impede performance in athletics as well as routine physical activities. A breast reduction can increase mobility and comfort to improve the overall quality of life for patients.

Eliminates Skin Irritation

Skin irritation can occur beneath the breasts when they are excessively large. Breast reduction reduces the weight and lifts the breasts so they no longer irritate the skin.

Common Breast Reduction Concerns

Pain

Pain after breast reduction is minimal and can be managed with prescribed pain medication. You may be instructed to wear a compression bra, which will also help decrease pain and swelling.

Recovery

Swelling and bruising will be apparent for at least the first two weeks, after which time most patients feel comfortable returning to work. After six weeks, patients can resume exercise and regular physical activities.

Scars

Scars with breast reduction are minimal and fade over time. Typically, there will be a scar around the areola, a vertical scar from the areola to the breast crease, and a scar along the breast crease.

Duration of Results

The results of breast reduction will last a lifetime, and the breasts will continue to age naturally. Patients will experience lighter, more youthful breasts and increased comfort and confidence as a result of this procedure.

Breast Reduction FAQ

Q. Who are the best candidates for breast reduction surgery?

A. Typical candidates for breast reduction desire to reduce the size of their breasts either for aesthetic reasons or to relieve pain and discomfort. The best candidates are in good physical health and do not smoke.

Q. Is breast reduction covered by insurance?

A. Some health insurance providers will cover the cost of breast reduction if the patient experiences pain and severe discomfort because of the size or weight of her breasts.

Q. What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?

A. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with breast reduction. Although rare, bleeding, infection, changes in skin sensation, asymmetry, or poor wound healing can occur. Follow-up visits with your surgeon will help to monitor and correct any complications.

Q. Will breast reduction affect my ability to breastfeed?

A. It is best for patients to be finished having children prior to breast reduction surgery if they plan to breastfeed. While breast reduction will not completely alter the ability to breastfeed, there is a chance it may limit it to some extent.

Q. When will final results be apparent?

A. Once swelling and bruising dissipate, final results are apparent. Swelling can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months after surgery. Scars will continue to fade over time, and protecting your scars from the sun will help prevent them from darkening.