4 questions about breast reduction

4 questions about breast reduction

05th Nov 2019



Breast reduction surgery is the optimal treatment plan for women confronted with overly large breasts who have issues performing simple, day-to-day activities because of the large size of their breasts and are also struggling with health conditions. There is a series of physical and emotional discomforts associated with an excessive volume of the breasts. Among them are an abnormal body posture and spine deformations that can become permanent if the volume of the breasts is not corrected. Breast reduction surgery can be in some cases supported by health insurance if it is determined that the quality of life of the patient is reduced because of this condition. 

This procedure is rather complex and at the same time delicate as it is performed on the breasts, one of the most important symbols of femininity. In this article, we will discuss four common questions about breast reduction surgery and their correct answers. 


  1.   What is the purpose of breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is mostly performed with a functional purpose in mind. The procedure aims to deliver relief from the daily discomforts associated with having overly large breasts. The dermatological issues that can occur on the breasts for patients with breasts that are too large for their anatomy often disappears without additional treatment after the procedure. 

When breast reduction surgery is performed, the plastic surgeon will wait until the patient is under the effects of the general anesthesia and make incisions on the breasts. Usually, the incisions required for breast reduction surgery are positioned around the areola’s edge, vertically from the areola’s edge to the inframammary fold, and in the inframammary fold. The length of the incisions is dependent on the amount of tissue to be removed. There are patients who are left with a bigger part of the mammary gland than the one removed while for others, the bigger amount of glandular tissue will be eliminated and only a smaller part of the gland left behind. After the excess of glandular tissue is eliminated, the plastic surgeon will elevate the mammary gland on a normal position on the chest wall as overly large breasts are often confronted with a moderate or severe level of breast ptosis as well. When the plastic surgeon is satisfied with the shape and volume of the breasts, the incisions are sutured and the procedure is completed. The patient is moved to the recovery room where she will spend the next few hours until making a complete recovery from the effects of the general anesthesia. 

As you can see from the description of the surgical plan above, the main purpose of the procedure is to eliminate the surplus of the mammary gland and to get breasts that are more in line with the rest of the patient’s anatomy. After the procedure, the patient should have breasts that are according to her body type and shape. Generally speaking, most patients will choose to have breasts that are a C cup after breast reduction. It is important to understand that if the patient is confronted with a severe case of mammary hypertrophy, breast asymmetries can occur after the procedure. The asymmetries can be in terms of the volume of the breasts, the position of the nipple and areola complex and even due to the different cicatrization process on each breast. It is not uncommon for patients suffering from gigantomastia to have to undergo an additional procedure a few months after the results of breast reduction surgery become final to refine these results. 


  1.   Is breastfeeding possible after breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery can technically be performed on patients of different ages. The rule of thumb is for the patient to have completed the development of the mammary gland prior to undergoing this procedure, but in severe cases, the surgeon might decide to do the procedure even if this condition is not fulfilled. Generally speaking, the procedure becomes mandatory in cases when the overly large size of the breasts can affect the life of the patient in negative ways in more than one area. This means that we can have patients as young as 14 years old undergoing the procedure, so patients who want to know what to expect in the future when they get pregnant. 

A responsible plastic surgeon will always discuss the issue of an ulterior pregnancy after any type of breast surgery. The recommendation is to avoid pregnancy and considerable weight fluctuations after having breast procedures. Any hormonal and weight changes can alter the results. Because a part of the mammary gland is removed when breast reduction surgery is performed, this means that the milk duct network is sectioned and a part of the network is eliminated with the surplus of glandular tissue. As a result, breastfeeding might become impossible or very difficult. The impossibility to breastfeed is mentioned as a long term effect of breast reduction surgery, and patients should prepare for this. However, in some cases, breastfeeding might still be possible if enough time passes between the time when the surgery was performed and the pregnancy occurs. 


  1.   At what age should I have breast reduction surgery?

Age is not necessarily an issue when it comes to breast reduction surgery. The plastic surgeon will be more interested in assessing if the development of the mammary gland is completed and how severe the breast hypertrophy is. If a young patient is suffering from gigantomastia, this can lead to deformations of the spine even from an early age that will be difficult or impossible to correct later on in life. 

Aside from the level of breast hypertrophy, there are other things that the plastic surgeon will evaluate during the pre-operative consultation. One of these is the mental and emotional development and stability of the patient. Even if the breast development is completed, the plastic surgeon might decide to postpone the procedure if the patient is not mature enough to understand the risks and complications associated with it. The ideal age to undergo a breast reduction is when you understand the potential complications that are associated with this procedure and preferably when the patient doesn’t plan an ulterior pregnancy and the weight has been stable for a minimum of six months. 

The recommendation is not to wait for too long, especially if the quality of life has to suffer or the patient is struggling with performing day-to-day activities. However, if the breast hypertrophy is not overly severe, it would be better for the patient to wait until her family is complete before undergoing breast reduction surgery. 


  1.   Can breast reduction surgery lead to cancer?

When thinking about plastic surgery procedures performed on the breasts, many patients are concerned about how this will affect the risks of developing breast cancer. It is important to understand that breast reduction surgery actually reduces the risk of developing breast cancer due to the fact that the plastic surgeon will eliminate a part of the mammary gland, which is the tissue where breast cancer occurs. 

Breast cancer is not associated in any way with the occurrence or development of breast cancer. Moreover, we can consider that chances are the risks are reduced after undergoing a breast reduction. The procedure is associated with risks and complications such as excessive bleeding, abnormal scarring, delayed wound healing, seromas, and hematomas, but not breast cancer. 

At the same time, it is important to understand that if you have a breast reduction surgery, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never develop breast cancer; only that the chances are reduced as there is less tissue in the breasts for the breast cancer to develop. 



Patients interested in undergoing breast reduction surgery have different questions about what the procedure might entail. There are also multiple myths associated with breast surgery, and patients have concerns about how the procedure can affect the quality of their lives and what are the long-term consequences. Among the questions that we often hear during the pre-operative consultation are the ones about the ideal age to undergo the procedure, whether breast reduction surgery can lead to breast cancer, and if it is possible to breastfeed after having the volume of the breasts reduced. A consultation with the plastic surgeon of your choice will give you the opportunity to address all the concerns you have about the procedure and what it entails, along with finding out what can be expected in terms of the results.


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