What is Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction, also known as Reduction Mammaplasty, is a procedure to remove excess breast tissue and skin to achieve a breast size in proportion with the individual’s body and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.

When to Consider Breast Reduction

Excessive breast size can interfere with normal daily activities or exercise, and may be the cause of feeling self-conscious. This can lead to decreased self-confidence.

Breast Reduction surgery is ideal for women whose breasts are too large for their body frame and cause back, neck and shoulder pain, poor posture, bra strap indentations, chafing under the breasts, etc. This surgical option also works well for women who have heavy breasts with nipples and areolas (pigmented skin surrounding the nipples) that point downward, or who have one breast much larger than the other.

When considering Breast Reduction surgery options, rest assured in knowing that the goal is to help each patient achieve beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make the surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible.

How is a Breast Reduction Procedure Performed?

Breast Reduction surgery, which usually takes about three hours to perform, is done under general anesthesia. It is performed on an outpatient basis.

Incisions are made around the pigmented area (the nipple-areolar complex) and extend vertically below the nipple and in the fold under the breast. Each patient’s incision pattern will depend on the size of breasts, how much breast droopiness and where the nipple-areola complex is positioned. With each technique, the nipples are raised and the areolae are made smaller if they are too large.

The size and shape of the breasts and how much reduction is desired are factors that will help in determining the best technique per patient. In some cases it will be possible to avoid the horizontal incision underneath the breast. Liposuction is often combined with the procedure to help contour the sides of the breasts.

Recuperation Following Breast Reduction Surgery:

  • Incisions are covered with tapes and a bra dressing is used.
  • The change in breast size will be noticed immediately, but there will be swelling which, in most cases, will remain for weeks or even months.
  • Initial discomfort can be controlled with oral medication.
  • Scars take 6-12 months to fade and mature.

Common Concerns with Breast Reduction

What will my Breast Reduction incisions and scars be like?

These vary according to incision location and are most determined by how each individual forms scars. Although incision lines are permanent, in most cases they will fade and significantly improve over time. Our San Diego plastic surgeons make every effort to hide and minimize scars, with the goal of achieving the desired results with the best possible scar.

How long will the results last?

Unless there is a significant amount of weight gain or loss, or the patient becomes pregnant, the breasts will remain a consistent size. However, gravity and the effects of aging can eventually cause breasts to droop over time.

Other options Besides Breast Reduction:
  • Liposuction of the axillary area is an additional procedure that enhances results to reduce excess fat deposits.
  • Liposuction alone can sometimes be used to treat asymmetry up to one cup size.
  • Breast liposuction alone can be considered if the patient has fatty breasts, needs a minor-to-moderate reduction, and does not need to correct sagging. Some considerations include:
    • Results may be acceptable for women who need significant reduction but do not want the scars and are willing to accept some sagging.
    • Patients with fibrous tissue and minimal fat in their breasts are not good candidates.
    • Ptosis (sagging), poor skin condition with little tissue elasticity, and low nipple position are also contraindications.
    • Following liposuction of the breast, the elastic qualities of the skin allow it to contract, and subsequent uplifting of the breast contour can occur to a small degree.