Breast Reduction

While many people might be surprised to hear that some women are burdened by overly large breasts, the reality is that for many women, the downsides of having a very large cup size far outweigh the benefits.

Back and neck pain, poor posture, difficulty exercising, irritation, difficulty finding clothing that fits, and self-consciousness are all potential reasons a woman might consider breast reduction surgery.

Breast reduction surgery (reduction mammoplasty) is used to remove excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breast to reduce overall cup size. The results of breast reduction can be quite dramatic. Patients typically feel better as the sense of heaviness subsides, and shoulder, back, and neck pain are reduced. Not only do patients feel better, but the breasts becomes more uplifted, shapely, and bras and clothing fit better.

Patients who exhibit certain symptoms and who need a certain amount of breast tissue removed may qualify for insurance coverage.

There are often strict requirements that must be met in order to have the procedure reimbursed, therefore it is important to discuss these with your insurance company. It is common for smaller reductions to be done purely for cosmetic purposes and therefore are not covered by insurance.

Breast Reduction Consultation

During your consultation, you will discuss many different aspects of the breast reduction procedure with one of our skilled plastic surgeons at our Emory Aesthetic Center in Atlanta, GA. The first step in the process will be to discuss your goals for the surgery and determine how much breast tissue should be removed for your comfort and self-esteem. If you have been referred to a plastic surgeon by your doctor, our surgeon will discuss your doctor’s thoughts on your breast reduction plans.

Your consultation is a valuable opportunity to communicate your goals and concerns, ask specific questions about your case, and get to know our highly qualified surgeons. You will also have your candidacy assessed to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Any additional procedures you may want to combine with a breast reduction will also be discussed at this time.

Breast Reduction Candidates

While a breast reduction is appropriate for many women with large breasts, it is not a suitable surgery for everyone. Good candidates for the procedure are women with very large, heavy breasts relative to their frame, causing problems like back and neck pain, poor posture, or extreme self-consciousness. Patients should be in good health, with no disqualifying health issues, or unsafe habits like smoking, which can compromise the effectiveness of the procedure. In addition, patients should have realistic expectations for the outcome of the surgery and be aware of the limitations of the procedure. Patients who exhibit certain symptoms and who need a certain amount of tissue removed may qualify for insurance coverage of the procedure; however, it is common for smaller reductions to be done purely for cosmetic purposes and therefore are not covered by insurance.

Breast Reduction Procedure

Because breast reduction is a major surgical procedure, patients will be put under general anesthesia for comfort and safety. Breast reduction is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and takes two to three hours to complete on average.

Incisions are made around the areola (area surrounding the nipple) and extended down in a straight line to the bottom of the breast. For breast reductions involving a large amount of volume or extremely saggy breasts, an additional incision in the crease of the breast will also be made. Once these incisions are made, excess fat, skin, and breast gland tissue are removed, and the breast is tightened, lifted, and contoured.

Breast Reduction Recovery

Following breast reduction surgery, patients will need to take it easy for the first several days, and often patients may feel able to return to work after 7-10 days. In most instances, absorbable sutures are used in the procedure so suture removal is typically not necessary. During the initial recovery period and for several weeks after, strenuous activities, especially involving the upper body, must be avoided or restricted, although light exercise is encouraged as tolerated. Patients will need to wear a special bra to help support the breasts throughout the healing process. Swelling will subside gradually over a period of months, but patients can see preliminary results in a month or two following surgery, and relief of some symptoms is often nearly immediate.

Breast Reduction FAQs

Breast Reduction Information at Emory Aesthetic Center