Breast Reduction

If you are a woman with overly large breasts, breast reduction surgery can be a tremendously life-enhancing option. Having the procedure will give you far more than just smaller, firmer breasts. You’ll also get significant relief from many physical and emotional discomforts, a new sense of freedom in your exercise and physical activity, and the ability to wear a greater variety of clothing styles. In fact, of all the procedures that a plastic surgeon perform, breast reduction ranks among the highest in patient satisfaction.

Breast reduction, also called reduction mammaplasty, is procedure that removes excess breast tissue and skin, making your breasts more proportional to the rest of your body. The areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) may be reduced and repositioned as well.
You’ll find the basic information about breast reduction surgery in the following pages. However, the best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your individual needs is to have a personal consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Is Breast Reduction right for me?
Breast reduction can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Childbirth and breast feeding may affect the size and shape of your breasts. If you plan to breast-feed in the future, you should discuss this with your surgeon.
You may be a good candidate for breast reduction if you have any of the following conditions:

  • back, neck or shoulder pain caused by the weight or your breasts
  • heavy, sagging breasts with very low nipples and areolas
  • breasts that are too large in proportion to your body frame
  • skin irritation beneath the breasts
  • indention’s in your shoulders caused by tight bra straps
  • restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of your breasts
  • feelings of self-consciousness about the large size of your breasts
  • one breast that is much larger than the other.
Heavy breasts can cause back, neck or shoulder pain, shoulder indention’s due to tight bra straps, and extreme self- consciousness.
The most common method uses a three part incision: incisions ar made around the areolas, vertically to the crease undeneath the breast following the natural crease. Excess tissue, fat and skin are removed, then the nipple. 
Skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sutures close the incisions, giving the breast its new contour.
Scars are permanent, but will fade with time

The specific method chosen for your breast reduction will be determined by your anatomy, your surgeon’s preferences and your desired results. The most common method uses a three-part incision. One part of the incision is made around the areola (nipple area). Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third part is a horizontal incision beneath the breast, which follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
After the surgeon has removed the excess breast tissue, fat and skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which is usually larger than ideal, is reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Liposuction may be used to improve the contour, especially on the sides of the breasts.

The nipples and areolas usually remain attached to their underlying tissue as they are moved the their higher position-much like a button being moved to a higher buttonhole–and this may allow for pre-preservation of sensation. This method may also preserve the ability to breast-feed, although it is not guaranteed.

The type of incision used for your breast reduction may vary, depending on the size and shape of your breasts and desired amount of reduction. Women who seek a smaller reduction in size may be able to avoid the horizontal incision that runs underneath the breast. Other incisional techniques may be used in some instances. Women whose breasts contain a significant amount of fatty tissue may find that Liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size with only minimal scars.

All of this information and pictures have been provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.