Breast Reduction

Whether you’re a woman or man, an OMC plastic surgeon can reduce your breasts to a size you feel is more appropriate for your body.

View a short animated video describing breast reduction procedures.

For Women

Breast reduction surgery for women can:

  • Ease back, neck or shoulder pain
  • Allow you to more fully participate in athletic activities
  • Relieve skin irritation beneath the breasts

You may qualify for this procedure at any age after your breasts have fully developed, including before childbirth. But tell your plastic surgeon if you intend to get pregnant and breastfeed.

Preparing For Your Procedure

Share your medical history during your consultation, including any breast biopsies or previous procedures, any plans for future weight loss, as well as discussing any current medications.

During the Procedure

During treatment, the surgeon removes excess fat and skin, but almost always leaves the nipple and areola attached to the underlying tissue. This helps to preserve sensation and the ability to breast feed, though that cannot be guaranteed. Your doctor closes incisions using fine stitches that fade with time.

Some may be hidden by skin pigment and the curve of the breast itself. Liposuction may be used to remove some of the fat leading to the arm, so the contours are consistent. All individuals are different and may require alternate techniques. In some cases, the vertical or horizontal incision might be unnecessary.

Considerations

In rare cases, if breasts and areolas are unusually large, the nipple area may have to be removed completely and moved. In those cases, the woman would have decided to agree to the loss of sensation and breast feeding. As with any surgery, there is the risk of excessive bleeding, infection, and complication. In some cases adjustments may need to be made in a later procedure. Candidates should fully discuss any concerns and understand the risks as well as the benefits before undergoing breast reduction.

For Men with Gynecomastia

You might be a candidate for breast reduction surgery if you have gynecomastia—male breast overdevelopment. This procedure may be your best treatment option if:

  • You’re of relatively normal weight
  • Other treatments haven’t helped or aren’t appropriate for you
  • Your breast development has stabilized

Preparing For Your Procedure

Your surgeon will usually order an x-ray to check the status of your breast and chest area, check for any other problems, and help in determining techniques to be used. Smokers will be asked to refrain from smoking for at least six weeks before and sometime afterward to aid in healing. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia, but for extreme cases is done under general anesthesia in the hospital.

During the Procedure

In most cases, the surgeon makes a small incision near the edge of the areola or in the underarm area and removes glandular tissue with a scalpel if that’s the cause of the problem. This is sometimes done by or in conjunction with liposuction. If larger amounts of tissue and skin need to be removed, more conspicuous scars may result. If the main cause is fat, then it is removed through liposuction. A tube attached to a vacuum pump is inserted in the incision and the fat is suctioned out. If large amounts of fat or tissue are removed, some skin may also be removed to adjust the contour of the breast. The incisions are closed with stitches, but a small drain may be inserted to eliminate excess fluids. The chest is wrapped with bandages to keep the skin in place.

After Surgery

After surgery, expect swelling and discomfort. Medication will help with pain and an elastic pressure garment may be used to help reduce swelling. It may be three or more months before the results of the procedure are apparent. Non-physical work can be resumed in about two days, but sexual activity should be avoided for a week, and any physical activity that could impact the chest should be avoided for six weeks.

Considerations

Along with the risks of all surgery, breast reduction may leave noticeable scars or permanent pigmentation change. Sometimes breasts will not be symmetrical and a second procedure will be required to make them more balanced or remove more tissue. Some numbness or loss of sensation may be experienced for up to a year.

Weight Loss & Breast Reduction

Breast reduction surgery doesn’t substitute for weight loss. After losing weight, you’ll want to wait at least a year before considering surgery to make sure your body’s breast size isn’t changing.

After Breast Reduction Surgery

In some cases, you may benefit from a follow-up procedure to make your breasts more symmetrical or to remove more tissue. Expect some numbness for up to a year. Throughout your plastic surgery journey, lean on your care team for support and answers to your questions.