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Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction (Reduction mammoplasty)

Breast Reduction OhioExcessively large breasts often cause chronic neck and back pain, and grooves in the shoulders from bra straps. Breast reduction surgery offers comfort to patients who suffer from such by reducing the overall volume and weight of breasts.

Breast Reduction Techniques

Traditional (Anchor)

As the standard type of breast reduction, incisions for this type start around the nipple, vertically towards the lower part of the breast, and horizontally along the breast crease to create an anchor-like shape.

Vertical Incision

This type imitates a lollipop scar – around the nipple and downwards to the breast crease. Involving a lesser number of scars compared to the traditional type, a vertical incision is not suited for patients with large breasts.


This type uses very small incisions that are hidden in the breast crease and the armpit to remove breast fat through liposuction. This type is not recommended for women with large, pendulous breasts.

Breast Reduction Scarring

The scars for breast reduction are similar to those which result from breast lift surgery and vary based on the extent of tissue that needs to be removed and the distance that the nipple needs to be lifted.

  • For smaller reductions, a limited scar in a circular pattern around the nipple and areola combined with a vertical scar that extends from the lower edge of the areola down to the lower breast crease (sometimes called a “lollipop” pattern) can be used.
  • For larger reductions, or in cases where more skin needs to be removed, a similar scar pattern with an added horizontal scar along the lower breast crease (sometimes called an “anchor” pattern) may be necessary.

In all cases, the scars only extend to the upper edge of the areola – making them easy to conceal with a bra or bikini.


Breast Reduction Recovery

Four weeks is the average time for full recovery after breast reduction. Most patients can return to their normal activities and jobs (that do not require significant physical exertion) after 1-2 weeks. Be fully aware of postoperative instructions provided by our board-certified plastic surgeons to speed up recovery. We recommend the use of a surgical bra to support the incisions while they heal.

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Breast Reduction Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Breast lift and Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction surgery is similar to breast lift surgery in two ways: Both involve repositioning the nipple to a more favorable location and tightening the breast skin. It is the removal of breast tissue during breast reduction surgery sets the two apart.

Am I a good candidate for breast reduction?

Women experiencing the following are ideal candidates for the procedure:

  • Skin irritation under the breast creases
  • Disproportionate breast size-to-body surface area ratio
  • Rashes or infection in the skin area trapped underneath the breast
  • Back, chest, and neck pain
  • Poor back posture due to heavy breasts
  • Inability to join physically-demanding or athletic activities because of breast size

The best candidates are those who are not planning to have children or have already completed breastfeeding as such activities can bring significant changes to the breasts. They should also be healthy, and not suffer from serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Smoking and the use of other nicotine products should cease completely several months before breast reduction or breast lift surgery are considered.

What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?

While breast reduction surgery is generally well tolerated by the body and effective in improving some of the symptoms associated with excessively large breasts, like any other surgery, it does come with its own share of risks.

Aside from scarring, there may be an increase or decrease in nipple sensation which is usually temporary and improves with time. Though rare, a number of patients have reported a permanent change in or loss of sensation in the breasts following breast reduction surgery.

If the nipple and areola do not receive adequate blood flow after being moved, there can be partial or total nipple loss. For this reason, the pattern of skin to be removed and the method of preserving blood supply to the nipple should be carefully evaluated and planned by a qualified plastic surgeon in each case.

How to prepare for a breast reduction surgery?

Since nicotine is known to reduce the blood flow to the skin and prevent normal healing, we instruct our breast reduction patients to stop smoking at least 2 months prior to surgery. Aspirin, along with other specific NSAIDs, is to be avoided before the surgery takes place because it can cause excessive bleeding. Maintain a healthy diet to strengthen the immune system in the weeks leading to the surgery.

How long does a breast reduction usually take?

It takes about 2 hours. It is performed under general anesthesia for the patient’s comfort and is generally an outpatient procedure.

Is breast reduction permanent?

In most cases, yes. Under normal circumstances, results of a breast reduction surgery are considered permanent. However, we ask patients to maintain a stable weight because remaining fat cells in the breast may swell and enlarge when weight gain occurs.

Additionally, hormones – whether natural or synthetic – can cause the breasts to become larger. For this reason, younger patients seeking breast reduction are encouraged to hold off until maturation of the breast is complete.

How long does it take for breast reduction swelling to go down?

Significant swelling (70-80% of the area) will subside within 6-12 weeks after surgery. The area is usually seen completely free from any degree of swelling 6 to 8 months into recovery.

Do I have to wear a surgical bra? If so, how long?

Compression garments are recommended because they bring comfort to patients while simultaneously easing post-operative swelling. Breast reduction patients are advised to wear these for 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.

When can I exercise after breast reduction?

Patients can perform exercises like lifting and participate in sports only after 4-6 weeks. It is best to allow the body to recover and heal properly so that potential complications do not arise.

Is it normal that my nipples feel numb and hypersensitive?

Yes. Loss of nipple sensation is an extremely rare case among breast reduction patients. Even when it does occur, the nipple usually returns to its natural state a month or two following surgery.

Can I breastfeed after breast reduction?

Breast reduction patients can breastfeed. Some of the techniques make it possible for surgeons to perform the procedure with minimal disruption of the milk-producing tissues found in the breasts.

Generally, the longer it has been since the breast reduction procedure, the more milk the breasts are likely to produce.

When can I travel?

At Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery, we advise our patients to wait 2-3 weeks after breast reduction before taking any flights. Prolonged sitting on airplanes, even car rides, can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis or blood clotting – which can be life-threatening.

When am I allowed to take a bath or go swimming?

Swimming or taking tub baths are not allowed for breast reduction patients until their wounds have gone past primary healing. It is best to wait 4-5 weeks before completely submerging the breasts in water to avoid the risk of bacteria from entering the wounds.

What happens to the breast tissue that is removed?

The tissue that is removed during breast reduction is sent off for evaluation by a Pathologist. The tissue is sampled and then microscopically examined to confirm that no hidden abnormalities were present in the breast tissue. The pathology results are reviewed at the first follow-up appointment.

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Will I need a mammogram before my breast reduction?

Mammography is only recommended if the patient meets criteria for screening mammography based on age and/or personal/family history of breast cancer. For patients who meet criteria for screening mammography, we generally recommend imaging be done within 6 months of breast reduction surgery and no sooner than 6 months afterward.

Will insurance cover breast reduction?

The coverage of breast reduction surgery by insurance plans is quite difficult to predict. If an insurance plan and policy provides breast reduction as a benefit, qualifying for coverage usually, requires authorization before surgery. The authorization process is unique to each insurance, but in most cases, the determination is based on several factors including the amount breast tissue that is expected to be removed from each breast compared to the body surface area. Members of the MBAS team are experienced in this process have even published work relating to this topic in the medical literature. Click here to see a summary of this work.

Can I have another breast reduction if I have had one previously and I am currently unhappy with my results?

Redo, or revision, breast reduction is possible in most cases. The most common reasons to redo a breast reduction is (1) for additional reduction of breast size or (2) to improve symmetry between the two breasts due to differences in shape, volume, or both. Revision cases require extremely careful planning and knowledge of the techniques that were used for the initial operation. With aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast as our primary area of work, the surgeons at Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery are well equipped to address almost any case.

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Copyright 2014 Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery. Dr. Ergun Kocak*, Dr. Pankaj Tiwari*, Dr. Ayaz Shaikh*, Dr. Shunsuke Yoshida. All Rights Reserved. | Disclaimer
*All doctors are certified by the ASPS, ABPS & ASRM.
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