Breast Reduction Surgery: Everything You Need to Know


Reduction mammoplasty, better known as breast reduction surgery, is a medical procedure that reduces the overall size of an individual’s breasts. This common cosmetic procedure can be offered to both women and men, and we will explain the uses for breast reduction surgery, what is to be expected when you undergo this procedure and the general amount of breast reduction surgery cost.

Uses for Breast Reduction Surgery

People can benefit from breast reduction surgery if they have large breasts that are causing them to have neck, shoulder, or back pain. Activities such as exercise and running can be difficult with large breasts, and if they cause people to feel self-conscious, they can bring about negative psychological effects. Breast reduction surgery may also be 

recommended for males who have gynecomastia, which is a medical condition that causes the breast tissue to swell due to high levels of estrogen.

Before jumping into a breast reduction surgery, first, make an appointment with a doctor to determine whether you are eligible to be a candidate for the surgery with an evaluation that can include a routine breast examination, a mammogram, as well as a review of medical history. 

Breast reduction typically takes place under general anesthesia, and most people are able to go home right after it has been completed.


Before the surgery takes place, stop taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, because these can increase the chance of bleeding. Doctors encourage people who smoke to quit several weeks before the procedure because a smoking habit can increase the risk of complications such as nipple or areola damage and tissue necrosis. It is essential to discuss any tobacco product use or any vaping with a doctor.

The plastic surgeon that is handling the procedure will use a marker to draw guidelines for the incisions, with the pattern of the incision being determined by the position of the nipples, the size of the breasts, and the person’s preferences.

The anchor pattern is the most common skin removal technique for breast reduction surgery that consists of a surgeon making an incision around the areola and continuing the incision beneath the breast, and then removing the extra skin from the sides of the breast. Once the 

incisions have been completed, the surgeon will remove excess breast tissue, reshape the tissue that remains, and reposition the nipple and areola. The remaining skin gets sealed with sutures and surgical tape.

If the breasts happen to be rather large, the nipples and areolas may have to be temporarily removed from the body and then placed back on the breasts with a procedure referred to as a free nipple graft. The nipples will then regrow into the new position, but they will usually be permanently numb afterward. Once the procedure has been completed, the nurse or the surgeon will place the breasts in gauze bandages. The insertion of small tubes into the breasts can sometimes be needed in order to drain excess fluid and reduce swelling. Avoid showering until a nurse removes the drainage tubes.


The recovery period for most breast reduction surgery patients can include going home a few hours after the surgery if they haven’t experienced any complications. Before leaving the health facility, patients receive specific postoperative instructions that explain what types of oral and topical medications reduce pain and scarring and prevent infections. While the breasts are healing, patients will need plenty of rest while avoiding any movements that might stretch the chest muscles.

Having difficulty lifting arms during the first couple of weeks is normal, so help from family members may be needed. Stay away from heavy lifting until a doctor removes the sutures that have been applied.

Consider the Risks

When breast reduction surgery takes place, patients may experience minor complications such as:

  • Breast tissue with excess fluid
  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia or other medications
  • Asymmetric appearance of the breasts or nipples
  • Can affect a person’s ability to breastfeed
  • Infection of the connective tissue
  • Loss of sensation in the breasts or nipples
  • Open wounds or slow healing of the incisions
  • Prominent or thickened scars

Be aware that smoking can increase the risk of surgery complications and delay the healing process, and people dealing with obesity could have a higher risk of postoperative complications. Most breasts are not exactly the same shape or size or shape in the first place, and with that said, breast reduction surgeons do try to remove more tissue from the larger side. But, after the procedure and also months after the healing process has concluded, there could be small differences between the breasts.

Cost of Surgery 

Finally, what do the average breast reduction procedures cost? The fee associated with the procedure is approximately $5,475. In addition to that core fee, you will also be responsible for paying for consultations and follow-up appointments. There are some insurance companies that may partially or totally cover the cost of breast reduction surgery if it is needed to relieve chronic pain or medical problems.


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