Considering Breast Reduction Surgery? Here‘s What You Should Know

Breast reduction surgery is exactly what it sounds like: a procedure that reduces the size of breasts by removing fat, breast tissue, and skin from the breasts. In this article, we review some breast reduction surgery basics to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Why Do People Get Breast Reduction Surgery?

The goal of breast reduction surgery is to have breasts that are proportionate to your body and to relieve any discomfort caused by large breasts, such as back, neck, and shoulder pain, shoulder grooves from bra straps, rash or skin irritation under breasts, nerve pain, poor self-image, not being able to partake in certain physical activities, and trouble fitting into bras and other articles of clothing.

While breast reduction surgery can be done at any age, be mindful that if your initial breast reduction surgery is during your teen years, you may need a second surgery because the breasts haven’t fully grown yet. Having children or losing weight are other reasons a person may press pause on getting the surgery.

Risk vs. Reward

Like any major surgery, there are risks and rewards associated with breast reductions.


  1. Temporary bruising
  2. Scarring
  3. Difficulty or inability to breastfeed
  4. Differences in size, shape, and look of breasts
  5. Not loving the results
  6. While rare, there is a small risk of losing nipples, skin around the nipples, or the feeling in them.


  • Improved confidence
  • No more back, shoulder, and neck pain
  • Proportionate breast size
  • Improved exercise
  • Reduced skin irritation

Preparing for Breast Reduction Surgery

Your plastic surgeon will first look at your medical history and overall health. From here, you will discuss what size you want your breasts and how you want them to look after surgery. Next, your doctor will go over all of the details of the surgery as well as the pros and cons. Lastly, they will examine and measure your breasts, take photos for your medical record, and explain the medicine used to put you to sleep during the procedure.

The Procedure

Breast reduction surgery is usually done under general anesthesia at a hospital or outpatient surgical center. This procedure allows patients to return home shortly after, but they will have someone drive them.

The surgery begins with your plastic surgeon making an incision around the nipple and areola and down each breast. They then remove excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to reduce the size of each breast. Lastly, breasts are reshaped, and nipples and areolae are reset. Plastic surgeons do their best to make breasts look alike, but size and shape may vary slightly. Incision scars will fade over time but never disappear entirely.

After the Procedure

Immediately following the procedure, the breasts will be bandaged, and a surgical bra will be worn to hold them in place. It’s also not uncommon for a tube to be placed under each arm to drain blood or fluid.

For the first few days or weeks after the procedure, breasts may be tender, swollen, and bruised. Physical activity will have to be limited for roughly 4-6 weeks. During this time, a surgical bra will continue to be worn for proper support. After six weeks, you should be able to resume normal activities.

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