Frequently asked questions about breast reduction

Frequently asked questions about breast reduction

29th Jun 2019



If your breasts are huge and heavy and the condition is creating self-esteem issues and physical pain for you, then breast reduction surgery can help you. Breast reduction is a popular procedure that is helping tens of thousands of women in the US every year to reduce the size and weight of overly large breasts. After the procedure, your breasts will become ideally sized, and the physical and emotional discomforts will be alleviated or removed.

Many women who want to undergo breast reduction are unaware of specific relevant facts about the procedure. As such, they have many questions in their mind when they come in for consultation. The consultation session is the opportunity for you to discuss your questions and concerns with the plastic surgeon. In this article, I will answer frequently asked questions about breast reduction.


When should I consider undergoing breast reduction?

Breast reduction is meant to decrease the size of breasts that have overgrown and created physical and emotional pain for you. Most women with huge breasts experience pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, which can be unbearable at times. If your breasts are huge and you are having pain in these localized areas of your body, you may consult with a plastic surgeon to determine whether heavy breasts cause it. 


Am I a good candidate for breast reduction?

To be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria. You must be in an excellent physical and mental health and not be suffering from serious diseases. Your goals and expectations must be realistic, reasonable, and achievable. If you are a smoker, you must be ready to stop smoking. Also, breast reduction is a highly invasive procedure, so you must be prepared and motivated to undergo the procedure and go through a complete recovery process. The plastic surgeon will also discuss the risks with you, and you should only get the surgery when the benefits are higher than the risks. 


What type of anesthesia is used during the surgery?

Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia because the procedure is highly invasive and traumatic. It involves tissue, fat, and skin removal from the breasts, which can lead to intense pain and discomforts. While under general anesthesia, you will not remember the surgery nor experience any pain or discomforts. You will be completely asleep throughout the operation and not be able to make any movements. However, the effects of the general anesthesia may create nausea, sickness, and exhaustion for some time after you wake up. 


What types of incisions are made on the breasts?

Breast reduction can be adapted to the needs of the patient and the specific aesthetic problems that exist in the breasts. Usually, the incisions are placed around the nipple and downward from the inferior region of the breast. Another option is to make the incisions around the nipple, downward from the breasts and running in the breast create in the shape of an anchor. 


How will the resulting scars appear?

Given the fact that breast reduction is invasive and involves incisions, you will get scars on the breasts. The scars develop as a natural reaction of your body against the incisions. It indicates that your body is working to heal the incisions. The scars form as a result of the collagen produced by your body to seal the incisions. Breast reduction scars usually appear prominent in the start, but as time passes, they will fade and become less visible. In rare cases, abnormal scars may develop that can appear unwelcoming. If your plastic surgeon is highly qualified and experienced, he will use incision techniques that will camouflage the resulting scars. The scars are permanent. 


Can breast reduction treat asymmetrical breasts?

Breast reduction’s primary goal is to reduce the size of overly large breasts. However, if one of your breasts is considerably larger than the other, then you must discuss it with the surgeon. The surgeon can make sure more tissue and fat is removed from the larger breast so that both breasts become equal in size and appear proportional. 


What risks are associated with breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction involves incisions, which means there are risks. The risks are higher for women who have health complications. The common risks include infection, excessive bleeding, blood clotting, breast asymmetry, loss or change of breast sensitivity, abnormal scarring, and breastfeeding complications.


How long will recovery take?

The time it takes for recovery after breast reduction differs from one patient to another. On average, it takes two weeks for the primary recovery and six weeks for complete recovery. You may resume work two weeks after the procedure; however, do not do strenuous activities for six weeks.


What should I expect during the recovery period?

During the recovery period, your breasts will be swollen and you may experience some discomforts in your breasts for a few days. You may also feel sick and exhausted for some days after the surgery. Patients are advised to be careful for two weeks and avoid physical activities. Doing so will prevent wound dehiscence and bleeding. 


Does health insurance cover breast reduction surgery?

There is no doubt that in many cases, breast reduction is a medical necessity. Some insurance companies do cover breast reduction. Before the procedure, you should consult with your insurance provider and ask whether they can cover the procedure. 


Is there any age limit for breast reduction?

There isn’t a definite age limit for breast reduction, but you must wait for your breasts to stabilize before seeking the procedure. Most patients who undergo surgery are aged above 30 years. The procedure cannot be performed on patients aged below 18 years. 


How is breast reduction performed?

Breast reduction can be performed in many ways, depending on the severity of problems in your breasts and your goals. The most common techniques include removal of the excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin from the breasts and liposuction of the breasts. Depending on the cause of overdevelopment of your breasts, the surgeon will recommend you one of these two surgical techniques. Under the first option, the surgeon will make incisions on the breasts and remove the excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin. He will then suture and close the incisions. If the leading cause of the growth of your huge breasts is excess fat, then liposuction alone can help reduce your breast size and weight. 


When the stitches are removed, will it hurt?

Most plastic surgeons use absorbable sutures, whereas others use stitches that must be removed some days or weeks after the surgery. Typically, the stitches are taken out 10-14 days following the operation. When the stitches are removed, you may feel mild discomfort for a few seconds or minutes, but it won’t hurt much. 


How will the scars appear and how do I manage them?

The scars are a normal reaction of your body against the incisions and surgical trauma. It indicates that your body is healing. Usually, the incisions take the shape of normal scars following the operation. Initially, the scars will be more visible and prominent, but as time passes, they will fade and become less noticeable. The scars will stay with you forever. In rare cases, abnormal scars may develop that will look more prominent and aesthetically unpleasant. 


Can I wear bras after the surgery?

You will be required to wear surgical compression bras for many weeks after breast reduction surgery. You must avoid wearing your regular bras during this period. The surgical bras will reduce the swelling and help your breasts heal quickly. After six weeks, you may start to wear your regular bras. Your required bra size will change after breast reduction surgery because your breast size has been reduced. You must choose your new bras carefully. Your plastic surgeon can help determine the new bra cup size suitable for your newly contoured breasts. 



Breast reduction is a useful but highly invasive procedure that is used to decrease the size and weight of overly grown breasts. When the breasts grow to the extent that they look disproportionate in contrast to your other body features, it means you need breast reduction. Many women are unaware of the details of the procedure. In this article, I have discussed and answered the frequently asked questions about breast reduction. You must also discuss the procedure with your plastic surgeon and ask questions to address your concerns about the procedure. Doing so will help you make a good decision as to whether you should go under the knife or not. 


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