What is breast reduction?
Breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess breast fat, tissue and skin.
If you have breasts that are too big for your frame, you might experience physical issues like back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as difficulty with common activities like running and other aerobic exercise. Extremely large breasts can make it hard to find clothing that fits, and can lead to mental health issues.
Excess breast tissue in men is called gynecomastia, and can occur in one or both breasts because of hormonal changes, heredity, obesity or the use of certain medications. Gynecomastia can cause emotional discomfort and impair self-confidence.
Breast reduction can bring your breasts into better proportion with your body, eliminate physical discomfort and improve emotional health.
How breast reduction works
In some cases, breast reduction can be performed with liposuction alone. In others, excess fat, tissue and skin are surgically removed. The technique your surgeon uses and the placement of your incisions are determined by the composition of your breasts, your goals for reduction, your preferences and the surgeon’s expertise.
If your breast reduction involves surgical removal, your surgeon will make incisions based on the size and shape of your breasts, reposition the nipples, and remove and shape the underlying breast tissue. When needed, deep sutures in the tissue are placed to support the reshaped breasts; the incisions are closed with sutures, skin adhesives or surgical tape. Your surgeon may place small, temporary drainage tubes to drain excess fluid that your body produces as you heal.
How long does it take to recover from breast reduction?
If you have liposuction alone, you may be able to return to work and driving after about one week; surgical reduction can take several weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Reduction
A. You have a number of options, including replacing your older implants with new, state-of-the-art implants or removing the implants and having a reconstruction that uses a tissue flap from your own body (this is known as autologous reconstruction). Your surgeon will talk with you about which approach would work best for your goals.
A. If your surgeon recommends another tissue-based reconstructive procedure, this time you may need to use a different donor site, such as your buttocks.
A. Nipple and areola reconstruction are options starting three to four months after your initial surgery. Your surgeon might use the surrounding skin or a skin graft from elsewhere on your body to form a new nipple; after the site has healed completely, you might choose to get a medical tattoo (also called micropigmentation) to add color that creates a new areola.