Breast reduction: Cosmetic surgery or not?

Breast reduction: Cosmetic surgery or not?

27th Jan 2021


Women who are confronted with multiple discomforts due to the excessive size of their breasts can now resort to plastic surgery to improve their condition. Breast reduction surgery is performed in countries all around the world with a high success rate. The procedure aims to reduce the volume of the mammary gland to help patients get a more harmonious appearance and increased mobility.

When it comes to having overly large breasts, it can be quite difficult for a woman to perform even simple activities such as running and even jogging. Any type of physical exercise can trigger pain or severe discomfort, and this is the reason why most women with large breasts will avoid getting engaged in physical activities.

There is a lot of debate around the topic on whether breast reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure or not, and this is what we will discuss in this article today.

Big breasts and the issues they cause

Big breasts can cause women both health problems and emotional problems. Physical pain, discomfort, and other serious problems in the spine can be avoided by undergoing breast reduction, also known in the medical world as reduction mammoplasty. The overdevelopment of the breast tissue may affect the ability to have an active life and can prevent women from engaging in different activities and sports.

Most people consider big breasts to be a joy for the eyes, but for women confronted with this issue, it is rarely a pleasure. Mammary hypertrophy causes a number of problems and inconveniences for women, starting with daily and persistent back, neck and shoulder pain and up to permanent deformations that can occur on the spine as a result of the pressure that the breasts put on it. It is very important to remember that too much weight of the breasts can deform the spine or cause pain when breathing. There may also be changes in body posture, irritation, and even bacterial or fungal infections of the skin on the inframammary fold.  

The mammary gland develops abnormally due to several causes. It can happen when the patient is just a teenager and the mammary gland is not even fully developed, after pregnancy, and even later on in life when the patient is dealing with hormonal imbalances. 

Breast reduction should be done without delay so that the patient can avoid permanent damage of the spine or other conditions that are associated with an excessive volume of the breasts. 

Better quality of life after breast reduction

Physical and emotional discomfort are often associated with excessively large breasts and a matter of pressure for women. Breast reduction can take up to two hours or more, and the plastic surgeon will make incisions in different areas of the breasts, depending on the surgical plan to be followed. The number, shape, and dimensions of the incisions are dependent on the severity of breast hypertrophy. If the plastic surgeon needs to eliminate a considerable part of the glandular tissue, the scars might be more significant, but this is just a small price to pay to regain mobility and have a more proportionate body.

After the incisions are made, the surgeon will detach the skin envelope from the breasts and he will remove the excess glandular tissue. The quantity of tissue to be removed will be discussed with the patient during the pre-operative consultation. In some cases we are talking about a few hundred grams from each breast, while in other cases it could be much more, even kilograms. After the glandular tissue in excess is removed, the plastic surgeon will re-center the mammary gland and lift it on the chest wall to create the perky appearance of the breasts. 

Big breasts are usually affected by breast ptosis, even early on in the patient’s life. This means that during breast reduction surgery, the plastic surgeon also needs to perform optimal surgical techniques to lift the breasts to a correct anatomical position. After the mammary gland has been elevated, the plastic surgeon will re-drape the skin over the breast tissue and also eliminate the excess skin to create the right amount of tension that will make the breasts perky, firm, and smooth. 

The main purpose of breast reduction is to reduce the volume and weight of the breasts. To achieve this, excess skin, fat and glandular tissue are eliminated. The procedure also involves raising the breast and reducing the size of the areola if the patient has an enlarged areola. In some cases, excess fat can also be removed by liposuction, but excessively large breasts consist mostly of glandular tissue and not fat tissue, as some might think. 

Is breast reduction a cosmetic surgery or not? 

Surgery for breast reduction is a very individualized procedure. Breast reduction is the optimal plan for you if: 

•    You are physically healthy 

•    It bothers you that your breasts are too big 

•    Your breasts limit your physical activity 

•    You experience back, neck, and shoulder pain due to breast weight 

•    Your skin is irritated under the breasts 

•    You have breast ptosis

Any severe or chronic diseases of the lungs, heart, and blood can deem you as ineligible to undergo breast reduction surgery. This is why it is important to discuss all issues with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation to know exactly whether you are a good candidate or not. 

Because breast reduction surgery is performed to help patients get relief from a series of pains and discomforts, the procedure can be performed and supported by your health insurance. This happens in some cases, and you will need to discuss with the plastic surgeon to see if you can benefit from this or not. 

Breast reduction is considered plastic surgery, but it is usually performed to help patients get increased mobility and improvement in their health condition. The impossibility to do physical exercises or any sports can lead to an accumulation of fat which could lead to obesity and cause an even more considerable increase in breast tissue. Moreover, the abnormal body posture that can be caused by an excessively large size of the breasts might be very difficult to correct later on in life. 

In other words, breast reduction surgery is often performed for anything but cosmetic purposes. The result will be improved aesthetics of the body and the chest area, but most patients value the ability to move freely, the lack of dermatological conditions on the inframammary fold, and an increased quality of life in general.

What to do before scheduling a breast reduction

It is important to understand that breast reduction is a complex procedure that requires preparation, especially when it comes to younger patients. Patients who want to undergo breast reduction must be fully aware of the long-term consequences associated with this procedure, such as scarring and the potential impossibility to breastfeed later on in life. 

Before scheduling a breast reduction surgery, you should think about whether you want to have more children in the future and if your weight is stable. An ulterior pregnancy can alter the results, and your breasts might become bigger or saggy once again. Also, patients are advised to avoid weight fluctuations after undergoing breast reduction surgery to avoid breast ptosis from occurring again.

Keep in mind that smoking is contraindicated before and after the procedure, as well as birth control pills and certain anti-inflammatory medication. 


Breast reduction can be performed for aesthetic purposes or more to help the patient increase mobility. In a vast majority of cases, the procedure is preferred and recommended for women who are struggling with daily discomforts and even pain. However, the procedure will also deliver a considerable improvement in the overall appearance of the body, with the breasts being more proportionate to the rest of the patient’s anatomy. This means that the patient’s general outlook might change. Another main benefit of undergoing the breast reduction surgery is that the patient will be more able to engage in physical activities and hence can become fitter and even lose weight.

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