Learn About Breast Reduction Surgery

Table of Contents

What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of breasts. This surgery is usually performed on people with large breasts, as the size of their breasts can cause health problems (such as back pain, neck pain, and skin irritation) and psychological problems (such as low self-esteem and depression). The goal of breast reduction is to remove excess breast tissue, skin, and fat, and to reshape the breast so that it’s smaller, lighter, and more proportionate to the rest of the body. There are a few different techniques that can be used for breast surgery, but the most common is the vertical scar technique, which leaves a scar that runs vertically from the base of the breast to the nipple.

Who is a good candidate for breast reduction?

There are some general things to consider when deciding if breast reduction is right for you. Here are the qualities of an ideal candidate for breast reduction:

  • Non-smoker
  • Physically healthy
  • Experiences back, neck, or shoulder pain due to the weight of the breasts
  • Has shoulder indentations from bra straps
  • Gets skin irritation or rashes due to the size of the breasts
  • Feels discomfort due to the size of the breasts
  • Experiences difficulties with physical activity due to the weight or size of the breasts

Sometimes, overly large breasts can cause physical issues in addition to issues with self-image. If you’re experiencing pain, discomfort, or self-consciousness, then you may be a good candidate for surgery. Check with our reliable network of surgeons to find out whether this procedure is ideal for you.

Breast Reduction Weight Requirements

Woman Checking Her Weight
Woman Checking Her Weight

While there is no precise weight requirement for breast reduction surgery, a person’s weight and overall health will be considered before they are recommended for surgery. Generally, the individual must be of healthy weight before undergoing surgery. This is because the surgery is a major procedure that involves anesthesia. And as with any surgery, there are risks associated with it. Being overweight or underweight can cause complications during surgery with is why breast reduction weight requirements exist to begin with. It is highly recommended for patients to be at an ideal weight range or within a healthy body mass index (BMI) range. Typically, a BMI of lower than 30 is the upper limit to qualify for surgery.

What are the benefits of breast reduction surgery?

Woman Measuring Breast Size
Woman Measuring Breast Size

There are many benefits to choosing to undertake this type of breast surgery. Some people may choose to undergo the surgery to improve their quality of life, and others may do so for health reasons. Having overly large breasts can cause both emotional and physical issues. This surgery is considered to be a reconstructive surgery rather than just purely cosmetic. 

A few of the key benefits of breast reduction include improved posture, relief from back and neck pain, improved breathing, improved skin irritations, and better self-esteem and body image. A breast reduction can be an incredibly liberating experience for people who feel self-conscious or uncomfortable with their large breasts.

What are the risks of breast reduction?

Choosing to have your breasts reduced is a personal decision. If you’re considering this procedure, then you’ll need to understand the risks and potential complications. One of the biggest risks is the potential for developing an infection. In addition, there are risks of anesthesia complications, blood clots, and other medical problems. You may have scars that are visible and noticeable. Patients should discuss the risks of breast reduction with their doctor prior to breast reduction surgery to ensure they understand what could happen. Below, you’ll find a few other risks associated with this procedure:

  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Damage to nerves, muscles, lungs, or blood cells
  • Changes in breast firmness
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Infections
  • Breast pain
  • Inability to breastfeed
  • Loss of skin or breast tissue
  • Potential for a partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Pigmentation
  • Scarring and bruising

Most of the time, good results are to be expected. It’s best to seek out an experienced surgeon who can perform the surgery well and inform you of any risks during your consultation.

Breast Reduction Surgery Cost

The cost of breast reduction can vary depending on the surgeon’s rates, geographic location, and extent of the surgery. Generally, however, the cost ranges from about $4,000 to $10,000. The average cost of a breast reduction is around $6,000. This surgical procedure includes fees for anesthesia, facility fees, post-surgery garments, medical tests, prescription medication, and fees for the surgeon. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon is your best option to ensure optimal results.

There are some health insurance plans that cover this procedure. In order to proceed, your surgeon may need authorization from your insurance provider, and you’ll be responsible for any copays or deductibles. If your insurance policy doesn’t cover this procedure, then you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket.

Breast Reduction Recovery

Doctor Drawing Lines For Breast Reduction Surgery
Doctor Drawing Lines For Breast Reduction Surgery

Patients should plan to take time off work. Immediately following surgery, patients can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort. While many patients report feeling well enough to return to work within a week, it’s vital to listen to your body and take it easy as needed. Most importantly, be sure to follow all post-operative instructions from your surgeon to ensure proper healing.

Breast Reduction Recovery Time

In the first few weeks, you’ll want to avoid any strenuous activity. By four to six weeks post-surgery, most of the pain and bruising will have subsided and you should be able to resume most activities. However, you’ll still need to avoid any strenuous activity or anything that involves heavy lifting. It will likely take several more weeks before you’re fully healed. Remember to be patient and follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

Breast Reduction Scars

Breast reduction surgery scars are something that many patients are worried about before their surgery. Will they be noticeable? How bad will they be? Will they stretch and become bigger over time? The good news is that most incisions are relatively small, and marks will fade over time. 

In fact, most patients find that they’re barely noticeable after a few months. Remember though that every woman’s body is different, and some scars may be larger or more noticeable than others. If you’re concerned about the healing process, be sure to talk to your doctor about what to expect. Wearing the compression garment will likely help reduce swelling. This helps support the breasts and the healing process.

Breast Reduction Before and After

Breast Reduction Surgery Before And After
Breast Reduction Surgery Before And After


The breast reduction pre-surgery process begins with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. At the consultation, the surgeon will evaluate the patient’s breasts, discuss the desired results of the surgery, and outline the surgical procedure. Patients should expect to provide their medical history, including any previous surgeries and current medications. The surgeon will also take measurements and photographs of the breasts. 

If the patient is a candidate for breast reduction surgery, the surgeon will provide a detailed surgical plan. This plan will include the surgical procedure, the expected recovery time, and the cost of the surgery. The surgery will usually be performed as an outpatient procedure. The breast reduction will take approximately two to three hours to complete. The patient will be given general anesthesia to ensure that they’re comfortable. The surgical procedure will involve the surgeon making a number of incisions around the areola and down the length of the breasts. The surgeon will then remove excess breast tissue, fat, and skin. Next, the surgeon will reshape the breasts and nipples. Finally, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures.


Most people feel a sense of relief and happiness following their surgery. But there will likely be some pain and swelling in the weeks following the procedure. You’ll be given pain medication to help manage any discomfort you experience. You’ll also be given a compression bra to wear in the days and weeks following surgery. This bra will help support your breasts. It’s critical to wear the bra as instructed by your doctor in order to ensure proper healing. It’s also important to keep your incisions clean and dry. You’ll be given instructions on how to care for your incisions following surgery. You’ll likely feel tired and weak in the days and weeks following your surgery. 

You’ll need to take it easy and allow your body to heal. It’s essential that you avoid strenuous activities, including exercise. And you’ll also need to avoid lifting anything heavier than five pounds. This lifting restriction is to prevent undue stress on your breasts and surgical incisions. The pain in your breasts will gradually subside in the months following surgery. You’ll likely start to feel more like yourself in the weeks and months following the procedure. But it’s necessary to keep in mind that your breasts will change throughout months or even years following surgery as they continue to heal.

If you’ve been considering breast reduction surgery, reach out to a board-certified surgeon by using our recommendations and decide whether it’s right for you.

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