When is it recommended to get a breast reduction and what are the risks?

When is it recommended to get a breast reduction and what are the risks?

04th Dec 2017

There are women who want to undergo a breast reduction surgery because of the numerous factors that can influence the development and health of their breasts. This includes the natural skin aging process, pregnancy, or breastfeeding, which causes the woman’s breasts change making them want to seek surgery. Whereas for some women, their breasts are just naturally overdeveloped.

For most of these cases, breast reduction is the only feasible solution, since there are no non-surgical treatments or physical exercises that can have a significant impact on the size and shape of the breasts.

What is reduction mammoplasty and when it is recommended?

The breast reduction procedure is the surgical intervention that is performed with the purpose of reducing the dimensions of the breasts. It can be associated with breast lifting surgery, which can also be performed separately from the breast reduction procedure. The intervention involves the removal of the excess fat, skin and glandular issue, and in most cases, it involves the remodeling of the areola-nipple complex too.

The reduction mammoplasty is performed when women have reached maturity in their breast development and have no intentions of having more children or to breastfeed again. The reason for this is because pregnancy and breastfeeding can influence the size of the breasts as a result of the hormonal changes that are produced in the body, so your breasts are likely to change again after that phase of your life passes. It is also important to mention that a breast reduction can influence your ability to breastfeed since the procedure involves removing a part of the mammary gland, along with fat tissue and excess skin.

The plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting at least six to ten months after you stopped breastfeeding before undergoing the breast reduction surgery in order to allow the breasts to get back to their size and shape. In exceptional cases, the intervention can be performed on very young women who are confronted with complex health issues due to the size of the breasts or have trouble pursuing their calling because of the volume of the breasts. It is not uncommon for a professional athlete or someone planning to become a professional athlete to undergo this surgery, even at a very young age.

Women who plan to go under the knife for the breast reduction procedure need to thoroughly follow the doctor’s instructions. The surgeon will be able to tell you what needs to be avoided before the surgery in order to ensure a fast recovery time and avoid unnecessary complications and risks. For patients who smoke, they must quit smoking at least a few weeks before and after the surgery. Birth control pills should also be stopped at least a month before the intervention is scheduled. It is recommended to avoid using anti-inflammatory medication for at least two weeks before the surgery. Any medical issue that you might have, as well as all medication and natural supplements you might be taking needs to be thoroughly discussed with your plastic surgeon.

Mammary echography and mammography (depending on the patient’s age) are mandatory investigations before the breast reduction surgery in order to be able to make sure that there are no other issues at the level of the breasts and to exclude the possibility of mammary cancer.

Why do women want to get a breast reduction?

The breast reduction surgery is recommended for women who are confronted with certain issues regarding the impressive weight of their breasts.

Having large breasts may cause the following issues:

  • Modifications in the shape, volume and aspect of the breasts
  • Physical discomfort due to back, neck, shoulder pain, or even difficulty in breathing
  • Skin rashes and depigmentation in the area of the sub-mammary line may also appear
  • Decrease in self-esteem because women have trouble finding proper clothing and have difficulties in taking up a sport

In general, having large breasts causes several impediments that affect their daily lives. What happens is that the volume of the breasts puts a pressure on the spine, shoulders and neck, which makes sports difficult to perform, as well as other activities such as running. Women with big breasts know how difficult it is to find clothing that will be suitable, especially when it comes to supportive bras.

What are the risks of the breast reduction surgery?

The health issues that can occur after the reduction mammoplasty are related to the body’s healing ability and the body’s weight. Shortly after the intervention, it is possible to notice a skin dehydration, nipple numbness and itchiness at the incision site, as well as the swelling and bruising of the breasts or an increased sensitivity of the nipples. These are all common side effects of the breast reduction procedure and most of them will disappear on their own, without the need for a treatment or any type of intervention from the patient or the plastic surgeon.

There are still other more severe medical issues that can occur after the breast reduction procedure, such as infections in the chest area, blood circulation issues (i.e. bleeding and hematoma), fat tissue necrosis and even wound opening (with a higher incidence in obese patients). This is why it is extremely important to keep the patient under observation for a period of a few months after the surgery and to closely examine the post-operative evolution of the mammary tissue.

Complications due to the risk of anesthesia are rare nowadays. However, it is still worth mentioning because the breast reduction procedure is performed under a general anesthetic.

The results of the breast reduction procedure

In almost all cases, the results after a mammary reduction intervention are highly satisfactory for the patients. Most patients describe it as if a burden has been lifted off their shoulders and now they can breathe easier, do things that were impossible to do before, or at least impossible without great discomfort.

On the other hand, it is important to understand that the breast reduction procedure can significantly change the aspect of your body. You will wake up from the anesthesia to find your breasts smaller, which will change your body image altogether. For some patients, it takes a while to get accustomed to their new body shape and size of the breasts, especially if they had huge breasts before the surgery. If you have spent all your life suffering from the issues caused by big breasts, you will find it easier to adjust to a new, more active lifestyle without back, neck and shoulder pains.

While the reduction is performed in just a few hours and you will immediately feel the weight and volume disappear overnight, the results of the breast reduction surgery can only be properly evaluated after six months to a year post-op. This is because appearance of the scars is an important factor that can determine the success or the lack of it after a surgical intervention, and scars are only considered completely healed a year after the surgery.

Fortunately for you, the swelling and bruising will subside within a few weeks and you will already be able to admire your new breasts and enjoy their smaller size and volume. Still, take into consideration that complications like delayed wound healing and bad scarring can still occur, which is why you should respect the post-operative instructions from the plastic surgeon.

Avoiding sun exposure on the incisions and smoking will ensure you have nice looking scars that, in most cases, will be masked by the natural folds of the body.


The breast reduction has become more and more requested over the years as women discover that the surgical risks are worth taking in exchange for getting rid of the drawbacks of having large breasts. Living with pain and discomfort every day of your life is not something that most women usually accept lightly.

Consequently, the breast reduction procedure is recommended for women who have suffered their whole life from body pains due to the increased volume of their breasts. While it is not recommended for very young women, they can still choose to have this surgery performed if they are planning to become sports professionals. The breast reduction procedure offers an alternative for all those women who want to have a more active lifestyle and who are keen to get rid of the health issues associated with large volumes of the breasts.

While the procedure involves risk, just like any other surgical intervention, breast augmentation patients feel that the risks are relatively minimal. However, one important risk that the patient should be aware of is the possibility of not being able to breastfeed after the surgery. So mothers or future mothers, keep this in mind when you schedule your breast reduction surgery.

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