Women who are unhappy with their large breasts and want to treat symptoms such as back pain and poor posture may benefit from reduction mammoplasty (breast reduction), during which we remove fat, glandular tissue, and excess skin from the breasts. The resultant smaller breasts increase patient comfort and look more in proportion to the rest of the body. Ideal candidates for breast reduction are women with oversized breasts that are causing medical problems and/or physical or social discomfort.
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Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on the technique used and the individual patient, the procedure takes from two to five hours. One of the following incisions is often used:
We sometimes use liposuction to reduce breast size. One advantage is that it leaves little to no scarring. However, because liposuction removes only fatty tissue, patients must have more fatty than glandular tissue in their breasts. We also use liposuction on men whose breasts are enlarged (gynecomastia).
After breast reduction surgery, patients typically experience soreness, swelling, and bruising for several days. Bandages are removed after two days and replaced with a surgical bra. Physical activity should be limited for one to two weeks, while exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for at least four weeks. Most patients return to work with a week or two. The results of a breast reduction are noticeable immediately after surgery. As swelling and bruising subside, the breasts’ appearance improves. Scars fade with time and usually cannot be seen when a patient wears a bathing suit or low-cut top.