Breast Reduction

Free yourself from pain and discomfort

What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, removes excess skin and tissue from the breasts to reduce their size and achieve a more proportionate shape. It can also correct uneven breasts.

The procedure involves using general anesthesia and typically takes three to five hours. While it's usually done on an outpatient basis, overnight stays may be necessary in certain cases.

The surgeon will remove some tissue and skin from your breasts to reshape and reduce the size. The area of dark skin surrounding the nipple (areola) is usually made significantly smaller during the procedure.

Right after surgery, gauze is placed over the incisions. The breasts are wrapped in an elastic bandage or supported with a special surgical bra. There may be a small tube in each breast to help drain blood and fluid for the first several days.

Who is a candidate for breast reduction surgery?

Women with excessively large breasts in proportion to their body size are often candidates for breast reduction surgery. This condition can cause back and neck pain as well as shoulder irritation from bra straps. Additionally, sleep and participation in certain activities may be affected, and the likelihood of rashes and infections in the folds underneath the breasts increases.

Good candidates for breast reduction surgery:

  • are physically healthy and have no major medical conditions
  • are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • have realistic expectations about the results of surgery
  • are willing to follow the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery
  • can take time off from work and other activities to recover from surgery
  • Nicotine free

Your surgeon may recommend breast reduction surgery if you have:

  • back, neck or shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
  • difficulty sleeping or participating in activities due to the size of your breasts
  • rashes or infections in the folds underneath your breasts
  • large breasts that are out of proportion to your body size
  • uneven breasts
  • drooping breasts

Your surgeon may not recommend breast reduction surgery if you have:

  • a history of heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • a bleeding disorder
  • an active infection
  • cancer
  • become pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Talk to your doctor about whether breast reduction surgery is right for you.

What to expect

Before your breast reduction procedure, you'll have to:

  • have a physical examination, including lab work
  • obtain breast imaging studies, depending on your personal or family history or age
  • take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • stop smoking, vaping, or the use of any nicotine products
  • avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs, as they can increase bleeding
  • arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night following surgery

During your breast reduction procedure:

  • The procedure usually involves general anesthesia and typically takes three to five hours.
  • While it's typically done on an outpatient basis, overnight stays may be necessary in certain cases.

After your breast reduction procedure:

  • After surgery, an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast. 
  • A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. A pain pump may also be used to reduce the need for narcotics.
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection may be prescribed by the surgeon.
    • Week 1:
      • Monitor pain, swelling and bruising (medication may be required)
      • Significantly limit your activity
      • If your doctor closed your incisions with non-dissolvable stitches, the stitches will be removed in seven to 14 days.
    • Week 2-3:
      • You’ll feel much better
      • Return to work (depending on your job)
      • Limit exercise and activities
    • Week 4-5:
      • Continue to wear a support bra
      • Increase activity
      • Continue to be gentle with your breasts
    • Week 6+
      • Continue to perform breast self-examination 
      • Schedule routine mammograms
      • Discuss scar optimization and resumption of normal activity with your surgeon

Benefits of breast reduction surgery

Breast reduction surgery can alleviate symptoms and enhance daily living in a number of ways:

  • Relief from pain. Breast reduction surgery can significantly alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by excessively large breasts. This can improve posture, mobility and overall quality of life.
  • Enhanced confidence and self-esteem. Breast reduction surgery can help patients feel more confident and comfortable in their own bodies. This can lead to improved self-esteem, lowered anxiety and a more positive outlook on life.
  • Increased participation in activities. Post-surgery, patients may find it easier to participate in physical activities and hobbies that were previously difficult or uncomfortable due to the size of their breasts. This can lead to a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
  • More balanced figure. While breast reduction is reconstructive in nature, and the goal of this procedure is to alleviate symptoms, an improved appearance is often a benefit.

Why choose WellSpan for breast reduction surgery?

At WellSpan, we understand that choosing a healthcare provider for breast reduction is an important decision. You want a partner whom you can trust and who will make you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Our experienced team of plastic surgeons is here to provide you with the care and support you need. We will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your individual needs and goals.

We encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons to find out whether you are a good candidate, see before and after photos of our patients and learn more about the procedure specific to your body.