breast reduction mammaplasty

breast reduction

Who considers a breast reduction?

Women with large, heavy breasts experience a variety of medical problems from the excess weight and droopy nature of the breasts. Symptoms include back and neck pain, skin moisture or irritation, skeletal deformities, and breathing problems. Bra straps may leave indentations. Young women can feel very self-conscious and many women relate problems with exercise and activity.

What is a breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery removes fat, breast tissue, and skin from the breasts. This  makes the breast smaller, lighter, and firmer. Breast reduction surgery also repositions the breast tissue and nipple at a more attractive and youthful position on the chest. It also reduces the size of the areola, which is the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goals are to give smaller, better-shaped breasts which are in better proportion with the rest of a woman’s body and to relieve medical symptoms.




How is the procedure performed?

  • Incisions are placed around the areola and vertically to the lower breast crease. An incision curved under the breast may be needed depending on individual shape and size.
  • Excess fat, breast tissue and skin are removed. The remaining tissues are re-shaped in a more youthful contour and position.
  • In almost all cases the nipple is left attached to its blood and nerve supply throughout the procedure (to better allow normal healing and sensation following surgery).
  • Surgery can be performed in a hospital setting or office surgical suite. General anesthesia is used and patients return home the day of surgery or the following morning.

What is a normal recovery?

Most patients experience moderate discomfort for the first 1 to 2 days which is relieved with prescription medications. Most women are back to most activities within 7 to 10 days with only “achy” discomfort. Most return to work in about 2 weeks, depending on their job requirements. Most women are back to full, unrestricted activity within 4 to 6 weeks.

What are the expected results?

Smaller, better shaped breasts in proportion to the rest of the body are the usual outcome. Most women experience a dramatic and immediate reduction in physical symptoms, an improved ability to exercise and participate in physical activity, and an improvement in self-confidence and self-esteem.

Are there potential complications?

All surgery carries some risk. Breast reduction surgery is very common and very safe, but no surgery is without potential problems. These are generally minor such as scarring, a minor mismatch in breast size or contour or a temporary change in sensation. There can be a permanent loss of feeling in the nipples, breasts, or difficulty with future breast feeding. Rarely, more significant problems can occur and these can be reviewed on the ASPS link below.


Copy adapted from the joint ASPS and PSEF website.

3395 Lake Ridge Drive address divider icon Dubuque, IA 52003

563-589-9119 (24 hours)

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
© 2022 Plastic Surgery Aesthetics - Erin Kennedy. All rights reserved.